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Points-Based Immigration System

A new points-based immigration system takes full effect from its launch on the 1st of January 2021. Thus, it will end free movement for non citizens who want to work in the United Kingdom. As a result of Brexit, visas will only be awarded to job applicants who meet the specific set of requirements (e.g. by scoring enough points).

How the New Immigration System Works

In simple terms, the system applies the same eligibility criteria for EU and non-EU citizens when applying for Skilled Worker visas.

The point based immigration system contains a set of requirements for noncitizens who will be entering the United Kingdom for work.

Hence, if you are planning on hiring people from overseas (excluding Irish citizens), you will need advanced permission to do so.

Note: The Home Office global points-based immigration method means post-Brexit visa applications for skilled jobs will need to secure enough points.

How Many Points are Required?

The Skilled Worker visa has already replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. Starting from the 1st of December 2020, you will gain points for your application if you already have:

  • An offer of a job from an approved sponsor.
  • Special skills (e.g. in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee).
  • An appropriate level of proficiency at speaking English.

The government wants to attract the brightest minds and the best workers to come and secure employment in the United Kingdom. Hence, the new immigration rules should help employers focus on training and investing in a productive workforce.

Important: Some free visa extensions apply for health workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United Kingdom.

Characteristics (some tradeable) and points:

  • Job offer by approved sponsor: 20
  • Job at appropriate skill level: 20
  • Speaks English at required level: 10
  • Salary between £20,480 (minimum) and £23,039: 0
  • Salary between £23,040 and £25,599: 10
  • Salary of £25,600 (and over): 20
  • Job in a shortage occupation (designated by the MAC): 20
  • Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job: 10
  • Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job: 20

Note: Job applicants from overseas countries (e.g. those without relevant citizenship) need a total of seventy (70) points to qualify for working in the United Kingdom.

Brexit: Ending Free Movement

The Home Secretary reiterated some of the aims of the EU referendum result in 2016 and Brexit that followed. It was to end free movement and to take back control of the borders. Thus, the introduction of a new points-based immigration system should achieve those results.

Having a simplified and flexible system should also help ensure that employers are able to:

Furthermore, easier routes will open up for workers with an exceptional talent or for those who show exceptional promise (e.g. in the fields of science, tech, culture, and engineering, science).

Because applicants will be applying online, it will be necessary to provide some proof of identity along with some relevant documentation.

It should take no more than three weeks to get a decision from the Home Office. A successful application means the visa will last for a period of up to five (5) years before it needs extending.

Important: After paying the application fee (from £610 to £1,408), you will also need to pay for the healthcare surcharge and have enough funds to support yourself.

Other Routes Opening in the United Kingdom

Starting in December 2020, the Home Office also announced the introduction of several other routes, including the:

  • Global Talent visa:
    • For people with exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the fields of science, medicine, humanities, arts, culture, engineering, or digital technology.
  • Innovator visa:
    • For people who are seeking to establish a UK-based business around innovative, viable, and scalable business ideas.
  • Intra-company Transfer visa:
    • For established workers transferred to the UK so that they can carry out a skilled role.
  • Start-up visa:
    • For people who are seeking to establish a first-time business in the United Kingdom.

Since the 5th of October 2020, eligible international students from around the world have been seeking positions through the Student route and Child Student route.

How Long Does it Take?

The date listed on your certificate of sponsorship will show the due date for you to start work. You can apply for your visa up to three (3) months before this date.

Note: Applicants who are using the UK point based immigration system to get a visa need to have a confirmed job offer before beginning the application process.

New Points-Based Immigration System in the United Kingdom