UNITED KINGDOM: Update on post-Brexit immigration system

Sep 23, 2020 | Global

Summary: The Home Office has published further details on the new post-Brexit immigration system. Also, there was an update on international travelers arriving in the United Kingdom (UK).

Overview: The Home Office recently published further details on the proposed new immigration system. The new system will start on January 1, 2021, immediately after the end of the Brexit transition period.

The consequences of the proposed changes will be huge, but the new statement does not add a great deal to what the Home Office has said before. The new immigration system will apply to both European Union (EU) citizens and non-EU citizens. The visa application process will be simpler for EU citizens because they will not be required to attend a biometric appointment to get a visa, but otherwise the rules will be the same for everyone.

Below are highlights:

  • The main work visa will be the Skilled Worker visa, which is a revised version of the Tier 2 (General) visa.
  • The skills threshold for a Skilled Worker visa will be lower than for a Tier 2 (General) visa. The boundary between the types of jobs that will and won’t qualify for a Skilled Worker visa appears arbitrary. Bricklayers, chefs, PAs, and au pairs will all qualify for a Skilled Worker visa. Scaffolders, cooks, legal secretaries, and care workers will not.
  • The general salary threshold will be £25,600—down from £30,000 for a Tier 2 (General) visa. In most cases the employer will still have to pay the “going rate” for the job, which may be higher than the general salary threshold.
  • The resident labour market test will be abolished.
  • There will be no cap, so no need to apply for restricted certificates of sponsorship.
  • The English language requirement will stay.
  • There will be an intra-company transfer visa. The skills threshold and salary threshold for this visa will be the same as for the current Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) visa. The only people likely to use this type of visa are those who cannot pass an English language test.
  • Government fees will be high. In most cases, the fees for a 5-year skilled worker visa will be around £10,000. For a family of four, the fees will be well over £20,000. There are reductions for small sponsors and jobs on the shortage occupation list.

Employers that will be recruiting staff from the EU next year will need to spend a lot more in visa fees. Those that do not already have a sponsor license should apply for one now.

Also, related to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everyone now must provide their journey and contact details by filling in an online Public Health Passenger Locator Form before they travel to the UK. Most must quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days after they arrive.


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