By the end of this year, the UK plans on leaving the European Union. This means a new points-based system for immigration will be announced to replace the current system for all European and Non-European Nationals in 2021.

There will be changes to be implemented for certain categories thus affecting mainly students, employers and employees.

The New Skilled Worker visais the current Tier 2 General route which is simply being re-named to the ‘Skilled worker route’. The requirements for this are that the worker must have:

  • A job offer skilled to A-Level standard or equivalent from a company that is a licensed sponsor. 
  • The worker must be able to speak English to the required level.
  • The worker must then be able to secure further points based on their education, remuneration and or shortage occupation roles.

Note: Workers currently on the Tier 2 visa will need to extend or transfer their visas to the new skilled worker route. 

As of 1st January 2021, these are some of the major changes to be aware of: 

  • The Resident labour market test will be removed for the entire ‘skilled worker’. This means employers will no longer need to show that the job role they are seeking to fill has been advertised prior to sponsoring the skilled worker. Despite this, the sponsor must still show that it is a genuine vacancy and meet the skills and salary threshold for the skilled worker. 
  • All tier 2 sponsor licence holder will automatically be converted to skilled worker Licences. 
  • Removal of the Tier 2 General Restricted Cap. This means that the limit on how many skilled workers can come to be UK will be removed. 
  • In country switching between visa routes will be made more flexible, so where a migrant is able to meet the criteria of the new routes, they will be allowed to switch from one immigration route to another category from within the country.  This is a positive change for both employers and visa applicants, it will allow for a smooth switch minimizing disruption for both parties. However, visitors will not be able to switch.
  • A ‘cooling off period’ will be removed for all skilled workers including employers and employees. Skilled workers will no longer have to return to their home country for 12 months before re-entering the UK, they can do so immediately. 

Tier 2 Inter Company Transfer visas route will  remain the same with no substantial changes. 

Businesses can continue transferring existing skilled employed to the UK. Skilled workers on Tier 2 ICT will continue to be skilled at degree level and minimum salary of £41,500 or SOC Code level (if higher).  The applicant will still not be required to have English speaking skills and the route will not lead to permanent residence. 

The two important changes to note:

  • The applicant requires 12 months of prior service with the business immediately before applying,
  • Cooling off period will still apply however will be relaxed and more flexible. 

All European Nationals who arrive in the UK before 31/12/2020 need to register under the EUSS for them to be able to reside in the UK. The application must be made at the latest before 30/06/2021 and is always recommended to be submitted ASAP. 

From 01 January 2021 all EEA Nationals will need to apply for a visa under the new Points based system to come and work in the UK. 

Other Changes 

The guidance omits certain routes including Tier 1 investor and Sole representative Visa. Chances are these routes will not be affected by the new PBS System. 

A new highly skilled worker route will be introduced and opened for a small number of highly skilled worker without a job offer. 

The Graduate route will allow international students to remain in the UK to work after graduating, like post study work visas form the past. No sponsorship will be required. 

The immigration health surcharge will be increased from 01 October 2020 from £400 to £623 per visa year per person. Anyone under the age of 18, NHS worker, Care worker and wider health workers will be exempt. 

Please note, these rules are guidance at the moment and further detailed information will be released later this year to confirm the implementation.  

Our recommendation to you is to seek advice from a professional immigration expert to guide you on your immigration matter.

Contact our Immigration Solicitors in Ruislip, Middlesex

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