The UK’s post-Brexit immigration System – further details published
16th July 2020
From 1 January 2021 we will have a new system which applies to the recruitment of both EU and non-EU nationals. The Government has had all us waiting patiently to read the further details on the proposal to amend the UK's Points Based Immigration System.
However, disappointingly (yet unsurprisingly), the 130-page Further Details Statement published on Monday this week adds little to what we understood six months ago about the new immigration system from 1 January 2021, as set out in Roisin Patton‘s article here.
What does the Further Details Statement say beyond what we already knew?
The key points of clarification in the Further Details Statement are:
|Working in the UK|
|For most work routes, employers will still need a sponsor licence (ground breakingly re-branded to a "Skilled Worker" or "Intra Company Transfer" licence) to recruit EU and non-EU citizens.||Sponsors will now need to demonstrate in the application for a licence that:
• they are both genuine and solvent
• roles are credible and (where applicable) meet salary and skills requirement
• key personnel have undergone criminality and "other security checks" (with no detail of the latter being)
|Skilled Worker Route|
|There are very few points of clarification in the Further Details Statement for this route beyond the February Policy Statement however it has been confirmed that the RLMT (Resident Labour Market Test) will be removed.|
Eligibility for PhD points will require the applicant (via their Sponsor) to explain why the PhD is "relevant to the job".
|Demonstrating the English language requirement has been simplified, and the list of majority English speaking countries has been extended to include Ireland (so applicants who are neither British nor Irish citizens and who have studied at Irish universities can rely on their qualifications to show they have met the English language requirement) and Malta.|
|Health and Care Visa|
|The new fast track "Health and Care Visa" announced on 14 July 2020, which held so much promise for a critical, skilled and under resourced pool of national talent, sadly, excludes care workers and home carers.||Applicants will be exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.|
|Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) and ICT Graduates|
|It appears that the "cooling off period" (which meant that skilled sponsored workers have had to wait for 12 months before being able to return to the UK as skilled sponsored workers) is going to be removed in its current form.|
|Global Talent, Start-up and Innovator|
|The Government's commitment to these routes is set to continue and they will be expanded to EU nationals.|
|Highly skilled workers|
|The Government has committed to a capped unsponsored route within the Points Based System to run alongside the employer-led system which will allow a smaller number of the most highly skilled workers to come to the UK without a job offer. This route will not open on 1 January 2021 and details are being explored.|
|Students coming to study|
|Students will be able to come to the UK 6 months (instead of the current 3 months) before they are due to start their studies.|
Time limits on study will be removed as long as progress in their course can be demonstrated.
|Students need to be awarded 70 points (50 for study, 10 for financial and 10 for English language)
New rules in respect of sponsors monitoring students' engagement are still to be published
|The Graduate visa route will be launched in Summer 2021 for students who have completed a degree at a UK higher education provider. This will allow them to remain in the UK for two years during which they can take a job at any skill level.|
|There is reference to the Government's deep concern about China's imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong and there will be a new immigration route for British National (Overseas) and their immediate family dependents which will allow them to live and work in the UK which could lead to citizenship – details, again, are awaited.|
|Greater use of online services|
|EU and non-EU citizens wishing to come to work and live in the UK from 1 January 2021 for longer than they are currently permitted to live as visitors will need to have written confirmation of their immigration status, which EU citizens will be able to access via a secure online service.||EU and non-EU citizens coming under the new system will be able to demonstrate their right to work via an online system.|
|A "Greener" approach to the process|
|Initially most EU citizens won’t need to attend a Visa Application Centre to provide their biometrics and will only need to provide a facial image electronically. |
A compliant right to work check can, at least for now, be conducted remotely (although, apparently, not by education providers in respect of migrant students)
|Switching rules will be relaxed to enable most migrants to apply to switch from one immigration route to another without having to leave the UK.|
A word of caution
The Policy Statement and Further Details Statement, whilst useful indicators of what we should expect, are not law. The finer detail will be in the new Immigration Rules, when we eventually receive them, together with the updated guidance documents for sponsors and education providers.
The devil will therefore be in the detail and we do not yet know when that detail will be available.
All visa and sponsorship applications take time so if you envisage that you will need to make an application towards the end of the year we recommend that you do this sooner rather than later to avoid the last minute rush.
How can Ward Hadaway help?
Our specialist immigration team are available to help with your immigration queries. They can be contacted here.
Free visa guidelines resource
We have recently launched a dedicated visa guidelines hub which is full of clear, useful guidance to help those wishing to live, work and recruit into the UK navigate the complex legal territory that is immigration law. You can visit the site by clicking here.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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