New UK Immigration System announced

New UK Immigration System

The UK immigration system will change over the coming months, and the UK Government has several changes planned. Breytenbachs has compiled below some of the changes to the immigration landscape that our clients can expect.

Some of the changes one has to expect and plan for are;

  • From 1 January 2021, all EU nationals not registered under the EU Settlement Scheme will be treated the same as any other non-EU citizen. They will have to apply for UK visas to live and work in the UK, in the same way that non-EU citizens do.
  • The UK Government plans to shift the focus of the new UK immigration system on attracting skilled migrants to the UK economy. They also hope to attract more migrants with a STEM background.
  • There will be no new low skilled or temporary work routes in the new UK immigration system. The UK Government expects British businesses to adapt to the new landscape after Brexit. The Government also says that there are already 3,2 million EU citizens who made use of the EU Settlement Scheme. These EU citizens should be able to fill lower-skilled positions in the UK economy.
  • From the British Autumn of 2020, the UK Government will start introducing routes that will come into effect from January 2021. These new routes will enable applicants to apply ahead.

Highly Skilled Routes in the New Immigration System

The UK Government said that the only new visa they will introduce to come into effect before the end of the Brexit transition would be the Global Talent visa. Applicants can apply for this new highly skilled visa since 20 February 2020. The cost of application for this visa is £608.

Persons who have a background in STEM subjects, and who get an endorsement by a relevant and competent UK body, will be able to apply for this visa. Probably the biggest advantage of this visa is that you do not need to have a job offer in the UK. 

Skilled Worker Routes in the New Immigration System

Skilled workers who are looking to live and work in the UK will benefit from some nice changes in the pipeline. The UK Government is looking to introduce several changes to the Skilled Worker route;

  • The Resident Labour Market Test will be removed. This test applies to positions not on the Shortage Occupation List. The UK employer, in such a case, will first have to advertise the position to ensure that a British worker cannot fill it.
  • The Skills threshold will be lowered from RQF6 to RQF3.
  • Remove the cap on the number of persons who can come to the UK on this route.
  • The general minimum salary threshold will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600.
  • Dependants will still be able to accompany the skilled worker.

One of the most surprising amendments to the route will be that applicants will be able to trade some characteristics. However, they still have to reach the required 70 points to qualify to apply.

Some characteristics will not be tradeable;

  • A job offer by a licensed UK Sponsor, 
  • The job at the appropriate skills level and;
  • The ability to speak English at the required level.

Some of the characteristics that will be tradeable include;

  • Salary ranges, as long as it meets the minimum salary range. A higher salary would thus earn more points.
  • Jobs in shortage occupations will earn more points.
  • Ph.D. in a subject relevant to the job and Ph.D. in a STEM subject relevant to the job will also earn points that are tradeable.

Applicants will thus, in effect, be able to trade certain characteristics such as the specific job offer and qualifications, against lower salaries, etc.

The UK Government said they do not want to make the new immigration system too complex for the skilled route, but will refine the route with time.

Lower skilled Routes in the New Immigration System

The UK Government has made it very clear that they are not planning to introduce any low skilled or temporary work routes. They are adamant that British business has to adapt.

The Government also said that it believes that the 3,2 million EU nationals currently in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme, should be able to fill the lower-skilled positions in the UK market.

They also believe that the Seasonal Worker Scheme for Agriculture and the Youth Mobility Scheme that are open for certain countries will fill further gaps in the lower-skilled market.

Students, Innovators, and other Specialist Occupations

A points-based system will still cover overseas students. As long as a student can prove that they have an offer at an approved educational institution, can speak English at the required level, and can support themselves, they will be able to apply.

The range of other immigration routes available to specialist occupations, such as the Innovators, Ministers of Religion, Sportspeople, and Artists, will open for EU citizens at the end of the transition period.

Family Routes

The existing family routes, such as the Ancestral route, fall outside of the Points-based system, and it seems that these routes will stay in place.

Breytenbachs can assist

We recommend that you contact us if you have any doubts about your immigration status. Please feel free to contact us.