Everything you need to know about Points-based immigration and Visa Policy
The unprecedented pandemic has undoubtedly dominated the headlines, however, one must not forget that we have crossed the halfway point of the transition period. The transition period expires on 1 January 2021, which implies the impending transition from the freedom of movement to the points-based system. According to the new rules, residents of the EU will be treated equally to arrivals from the rest of the world. However, EU citizens who will start living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply to settle in the UK under the EU Settlement scheme until June 30, 2021.
The Points Based System will provide streamlined arrangements for highly skilled workers, workers for health and care, students, and a range of other immigration routes. Points will be assigned based on skills, qualifications, salaries, and shortage occupations. Henceforth, visas will be awarded to those who would gain enough points.
Coming to Work
- Skilled Worker
The Points-based system will include an appropriate route for skilled workers who will have a job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor. Under this route, there will be no overall cap on the number of skilled workers who can apply . Moreover, employers will be exempted from conducting a resident labour market test.
Skilled workers will need to reach 70 points. The applicants must be in roles skilled to RQF3 (Regulated Qualifications Framework Level 3) and must satisfy the English language requirement. Meeting these mandatory criteria will give 50 points to the applicant. However, they will need to obtain 20 “tradable points” which will be assessed through a combination of salary, a job in shortage occupation (designated by the Migration Advisory Committee) and educational qualification (Ph.D. in a subject relevant to the job or Ph.D. in a STEM subject relevant to the job).
- Skilled Work: Health and Care Visa
The Government has started welcoming the vital contributions of doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals with “Health and Care Visa.” Under the new scheme, foreign medical workers benefit from fast-track entry, reduced visa fees, exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge, and dedicated support to come to the UK with family members. The new visa is an inclusion of the existing Tier 2 (General) immigration category, which entails a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer holding a Tier 2 Sponsor License. Applicants from all nationalities who fall under the exhaustive list of 18 eligible occupations can apply for this new scheme.
The applicants must satisfy the customary Tier 2 (General) criteria and requirements of the skilled worker route, which includes the relevant skills and salary threshold. The sponsoring employer must be with NHS Trust, NHS Commissioned Service providers, and other eligible occupations in the social care sector.
- Global Talent
Under the current system, the Global Talent Visa aims at attracting talented and promising individuals from non-EU nationals who work in a qualifying field and who wish to work/run a business in their field of expertise in the UK. The individuals must be endorsed as a recognized leader (exceptional talent), as an emerging leader (exceptional promise), or under the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) endorsed the funder option. However, from 1 January 2021, the immigration route will be opened for both EU and non-EU citizens.
- Startup and Innovator
Startup and Innovator routes are immigration routes launched in 2019. Under the current system, the start-up and innovator routes are primarily designed to attract promising entrepreneurial talent and innovative, scalable business ideas to the UK from non-EU nationals. Start-up is for those who intend to set up a business in the UK, whereas Innovator is for those individuals with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding. From January 1, 2020, these routes would be open to both EU and Non-EU citizens.
- Low Skilled Migrants
There will be no immigration route for individuals who do not satisfy the skills or salary thresholds.
Coming to Study
- Student Route
The new Points-Based immigration Student route will boost the current Tier 4 System. The doctrine of Tier 4 will remain the same; sponsorship at a licensed provider, financial ability of the student to support themselves in the UK, and demonstration of English Language Requirements. However, the immigration route will be more streamlined for sponsoring institutions and students. Students will need 70 non-tradable points. This includes a study (confirmation of acceptance for study requirements, course requirement, approved qualification requirement, level of study requirement, and place of study requirement), finance, and English requirement.
- Graduate Route
The UK Government introduced the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR), which is an immigration route for international students to enjoy an extended stay of 2 years after studies where they can undertake a job or start working at any skill level. However, the period is not extendable. This route will be launched in the summer of 2021. This new policy implies more employment opportunities for international students after graduation. The policy was introduced to recruit an increasing number of promising and knowledgeable graduates from the STEM field.
- Becoming an Approved Sponsor
The freedom of movement ends on 1 January 2021, which entails EU nationals can no longer travel to the UK to work or live without obtaining a visa. On that note, if employers plan to employ foreign nationals, including those who have not obtained “settled “ status under the EU Settlement Scheme, they will need a Sponsor Licence. Having sponsor License demands:
- Applying to the Home Office.
- Managing the company’s sponsor management system.
- Meeting obligations and record-keeping duties.
Difference between proposed PBS and current PBS
The proposed PBS has streamlined the point requirements and made it further easier for migrants to obtain UK Visas:
- The minimum salary threshold has been lowered from £30,000 to £25,000 per annum.
- The Regulated Qualification Framework level for jobs reduced from level 6 to level 3. This implies that the migrants can be sponsored for jobs such as IT operation technicians, medical technicians, and potential managers for different types of businesses.
- If an applicant earns less than the required minimum salary thresholds but no less than £20,480, he or she will still be eligible for the UK visa if and only if they can demonstrate that they are holding a job offer under specific shortage occupation.
The requirements of the following immigration routes will remain the same, which include Tier 5 (creative and sporting, which will be renamed as a creative route), Youth mobility scheme, Temporary and long-term sporting routes, Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange), and United Kingdom Ancestry Visa.
Are you concerned about the end of freedom of movement, the impact of the expansion of the points-based immigration system on your business, or the introduction of new visa categories? Look no further than A Y & J Solicitors that is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experience recommended by Legal 500 boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Our qualified immigration solicitors at A Y & J Solicitors will take a genuine interest not only in clearing up your doubts but offering guidance on how to begin preparations well-in-advance.
Get in touch with our experienced immigration lawyers if you are planning to move to the UK in 2021. For further information about our immigration service, please email us at [email protected] or Whatsapp us on +44 7448 5656 70.