The UK’s new points-based immigration is now live to help businesses as they prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
The new system outlines who can work in the UK once the free movement agreement with the EU ends on 1 January 2021.
There are several new Immigration categories under the new system, which include routes for international students and graduates, skilled workers with job offers and highly skilled experts without job offers.
The new system applies to all individuals who intend to work in the UK, whether an EU citizen or other foreign national. Applications for skilled worker visas will be judged based on a points system, which is similar to existing systems that operate in countries like Australia.
Under the skilled worker route, points are awarded for various factors, such as having a job offer at the appropriate skill level in an eligible occupation, knowledge of English and a salary threshold, which will typically be at least £25,600.
Where the applicant’s salary is below £25,600 but above £20,480, they may be able to rely on an exception to make an application.
The cost of applying for a visa will be between £610 to £1,408 and applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient means to support themselves.
Employers looking to recruit under the new system will need to obtain a sponsor licence to be able to employ individuals from outside the UK.
At the same time, applications have also opened for the Global Talent, Innovator and Start-Up visas designed to attract people with exceptional talent and expertise, particularly in the fields of arts and culture, engineering, science, technology and culture. New rules for international students also came into force from October 2020.
The new visa system does not apply to EU citizens already living in the UK by 31 December. Instead, they should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to acquire either settled or pre-settled status.
EU citizens that are successfully accepted into the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to continue living and working in the UK.
The new rules do not apply to Irish citizens, who do not need to apply to the scheme or apply for a visa come to the UK, as the UK and Ireland are both a part of the Common Travel Area.
Full details of the new visa and immigration system, including the application process, can be found by clicking here.