As a result, increasing numbers of employers are looking to recruit staff from overseas in order to fill these gaps in their workforce. It is now nearly a year since the UK’s immigration system was overhauled to apply to both EU and non-EU workers.
In this webinar our immigration experts discussed:
The NHS has one of the most internationally diverse workforces in the UK and with the introduction of a new immigration system on 1 January 2021 the next few months will see many staff dealing with their immigration status, in particular EU nationals who intend to stay here indefinitely. Applications by EU workers under the EU Settlement Scheme must be made by 30 June 2021.
In order to help NHS employers and organisations with staff that are EU Nationals to meet these challenges, we recorded this immigration update, to take you through the key changes and the new procedures you need to be aware of.
We covered a wide range of subjects, including:
Most (but not all) staff will be aware of these changes, and some may already have started addressing it. In the current situation, staff may find it difficult to find sufficient time to deal with these applications and issues by themselves, and many employers will be doing all they can to support and reassure them to minimize the disruption in the coming months. We explain what employers and employees need to look out for, and what they can do to ensure their application is successful.
The session was hosted by Stuart Craig and immigration experts Natalie Payne and Gillian Burns.Read more about this
Free movement with the European Union (EU) ended on 31 December 2020 and a new points based immigration system was introduced to apply to EEA and non EEA nationals. The visa routes include those for high value and highly talented migrants, skilled workers, temporary workers, entrepreneurs, students and graduates. Outside of the points based system there are visa routes for family members too.
Before 1 January 2021, EU and EEA nationals could travel freely to the UK to live and work without a visa. There was a separate system for migrants from outside the EEA – a four tier points based system.
In order to be eligible for a visa in any of the four tiers the individual must have passed a points-based assessment. These visas covered most work, study and investment opportunities in the UK:
Tier 1 – High-value migrants
Tier 2 – Skilled workers
Tier 3 – Low skilled workers (never introduced)
Tier 4 – Students
Tier 5 – Temporary workers
There were also other visa types for non-EEA nationals which fell outside of the points based system and were primarily for visitors, family and limited business categories.
Between 31 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 there was a transition period during which free movement of European nationals continued. This came to an end on 1 January 2021 and from this date:
There are some visa types which UKVI didn’t allow individuals to switch from and to and this meant that they couldn’t apply for the new visa from within the UK and instead had to leave the UK and apply from overseas.
Whilst there are still some restrictions, these have been relaxed under the new system which makes the process quicker and easier.
Previously, Tier 2 ICT visa holders could not switch to a Tier 2 General visa, instead they had to leave the UK for a 12 month ‘cooling off period’ and apply once this period had expired. Under the new system they are able to switch from an ICT to a Skilled Worker visa which also means that they will subsequently be able to apply for ILR after holding the Skilled Worker visa for 5 years.
In addition, Dependant visa holders are also able to switch from within the UK to the Skilled Worker visa which they couldn’t before and so will Tier 5 visa holders which again, wasn’t permitted under the old system.
This is helpful to employers whose employees previously had to spend weeks or months outside the UK waiting for their new visa, whereas now they will not need to travel and can continue to work in the meantime so long as they are eligible to switch visa types from within the UK and submit their application before their current visa expires.
Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information 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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