A Guide To The UK Immigration System In 2021

uk immigration system guide post-brexit united kingdom 2021

Brexit is set to bring about some of the biggest changes to UK immigration law in decades. Whether you’re a migrant looking to move to the UK or an employer seeking to understand how new laws might affect your workforce, there’s no doubt the issue is a complex one. 

The likelihood of pandemic-related travel restrictions remaining in place until sometime next year may only complicate the matter further. Will a form of health certification be required for example, and will those entering need to quarantine? 

While coronavirus concerns remain uncertain, the UK’s new points-based immigration system was finally defined by the government in July of this year. The government link covers the matter in more minute detail, but below is a summary of the key points that will come into force on January 1st, 2021. 

Skilled Workers 

The crux of the UK’s new regulatory landscape with regards to immigration is the skilled worker system. 

Points will be awarded to would-be migrants for skills, qualifications, salaries and shortage occupations, with only those who score high enough becoming eligible for visas. Occupations are to be assigned a skill level to determine how many points a migrant could earn for securing a job offer at a corresponding level. 

Bonus points are then available for those offered a job in a shortage area or within a certain salary threshold. Having particularly strong qualifications can also play a part. 

Some of the most highly skilled workers will be eligible to move to the UK without a job offer. All those who don’t meet the requirements set out by the new system however will not be able to live and work in the UK. 

Approved Sponsors 

With the end of free movement of people from the EU, changes in the way businesses will be able to recruit international workers are significant. All employers will need a Home Office sponsor licence – previously only required to hire non-EU nationals – to bring European talent to the UK. 

Businesses will first need to check their eligibility and then the type of licence they’ll need to acquire. There are different types for long-term and temporary recruitment, for example, with different costs associated with each tier. Contacting an immigration expert such as Withers can help ensure businesses are fully compliant. 

Application is done online and typically takes between three to eight weeks, though it can take longer if the required documentation isn’t in order. 

Brexit is likely to remain a controversial topic for years to come. Getting up to speed with the new legislation now will allow migrants and businesses to transition smoothly into the new era.

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