Points-based immigration system has opened

Coronavirus news has dominated the headlines for the past few months, but Government plans are still underway to ensure that post-Brexit immigration laws are rolled out on time.

Applications for the new skilled worker visa opened on 1 December 2020. This, according to Home Secretary Priti Patel, means that the brightest and the best from around the world can now apply to work in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Under the new immigration system, points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, for knowledge of English, as well as being paid a minimum salary. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.

The Home Office believes that it will encourage employers to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce, driving productivity, and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by coronavirus.

After applications are received, a decision will usually be provided to an applicant outside the UK within three weeks. If successful, the visa will last for up to five years before it needs to be extended. Applicants will need to have enough money to pay the application fee (ranging from £610 to £1,408), the healthcare surcharge (usually £624 per year), and be able to support themselves financially (usually by having at least £1,270 available).

Other routes

Alongside the skilled worker visa, a number of other routes have now opened including the:

  • Global Talent visa – for people who can show that they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture
  • Innovator visa – for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea
  • Start-up visa for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time; and
  • Intra-company Transfer visa – which is for established workers who are being transferred by the business they work for to do a skilled role in the UK.

These new rules are likely to have an impact upon employers who have come to rely on low-skilled labour from the EU. In particular, there could be a knock-on effect in the hospitality and catering industries, alongside agricultural operations that make use of seasonal workers from overseas. Employers who may be faced with such issues must therefore find alternative solutions to their recruitment needs post Brexit – like re-training current staff, for example.

Employers will have a lot to think about in the new year with regards to their business’ future financial stability and the new post-Brexit immigration rules. However, whilst a lot of employers may not be thinking about recruiting anytime soon, it is still very important that they familiarise themselves with the new rules for the future of their business by keeping themselves informed.

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