News Update

UK points-based immigration system – further details announced

Home Secretary Priti Patel has today released a 130 page document, setting out further details of the new points-based immigration system to take effect from 1st January 2021.  The new system will mean changes to the way employers operate and recruit in the UK.

The key points for employers:

  • Once free movement ends the same visa rules will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens*.  Points will be awarded for key requirements such as English language ability, a job offer from an approved employer, meeting minimum salary thresholds and if the role is considered to be a shortage occupation.
  • EU applicants will not need to attend a visa appointment in person, ID checks can be done via a smartphone.  Non-EU applicants will continue to be required to attend a visa appointment to provide fingerprints and a digital photo.
  • If you wish to sponsor the visas of EU or Non-EU nationals after 1st January 2021 you will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence from the UK Home Office.  Please see our FAQ article on applying for a Sponsor Licence.
  • A health and care visa will provide a route for key health professionals to work in the UK, they will also benefit from reduced visa fees.
  • A new “post study” graduate route is to be launched in Summer 2021 and will permit international students to work in the UK for at least two years after completing their UK degree.
  • It will be easier to switch from a temporary intra-company transfer (ICT) visa into a long term visa route that leads to settlement.
  • Employers need to budget for the costs associated with visa applications and the lead in times for preparation and processing of a visa. The Government’s total visa fees can range from £3,000 – £5,000 and can take between 1-3 months to process.  Contrast this to when an employer simply took a photocopy of an EU passport on the first day of work to satisfy right to work checks!

*remember EU nationals arriving in the UK before 1st Jan 2021 can still apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Government will publish more details about the new system in the coming months and we will keep you up to date.  If you have any questions or do not already hold a Sponsor Licence please contact our Head of Immigration, Stephen Hall who can discuss and help you with the process or complete our online sponsor licence application form.

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Key Contact

Stephen Hall
Senior Associate, Head of Immigration
+44 20 7539 7310
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