New skills-based UK immigration system reaffirmed

The UK Government has earlier this month, reaffirmed its decision to introduce a single, skills-based immigration system. It will, however, only be introduced from 2021.

The new skills-based immigration system will mark the end of free movement for EU workers to the UK. The immigration system will not favour any specific nationality, and all nationalities will have to compete to apply for UK jobs and visas.

The introduction of such a skills-based immigration system will be good news for non-EU citizens, looking to work in the UK. The end of free movement, will in all probability lead to more job opportunities in the UK. This higher demand for labour, coupled with a skills-based immigration system, will result in more opportunities for non-EU citizens to live and work in the UK.

The UK Government has summarised why the new skills-based immigration system will support UK business and protects jobs.

  1. The single, skills-based immigration system will allow businesses to hire talent from anywhere in the world.
  2. There will not be a quota on the number of skilled workers that can come to the UK. A UK employer will be able to hire the number of overseas workers needed.
  3. The skills threshold will be widened so that anyone with the equivalent of A-Levels will be eligible to work in the UK.
  4. The Resident Labour Market Test will fall away for highly skilled workers.
  5. The Government will introduce a digital sponsorship system to relieve the administrative burden on UK employers.
  6. There will be a temporary work route for low-risk countries. Workers will be able to work in the UK at any skill level for one year.
  7. Overseas students can stay for longer after completion of their studies to look for graduate job positions.
  8. The salary threshold will be lowered for positions where workers are in short supply.
  9. There will be greater flexibility for overseas students to move into the UK labour force.
  10. EU and visitors from low-risk countries will be able to use e-gates at UK ports of entry.

Breytenbachs is optimistic that such a new proposed skills-based immigration system should streamline the current process. Please note however that these proposals if they go ahead, will only be implemented from 2021 onwards. For more information, please feel free to contact us.