The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has announced that the UK Government will introduce a new ‘points based’ immigration system from the 1 January 2021 for EU citizens and on 1 December for non EU citizens.

Free movement of EU citizens ends on 31 December 2020 and under the new system both EU and non-EU citizens coming to the UK will be regarded equally.

New ‘points based’ system (PBS)

Under the new system, skilled migrants from outside the UK will have to earn 70 points to be able to work in the UK.

50 points will be awarded to prospective migrants with an offer of an appropriately skilled job from a licensed sponsor and who speak English. Migrants will be able to earn the remaining 20 points depending on their qualifications, their proposed salary and whether or not they work in a sector with a shortage of people.

Anybody looking to employ skilled migrants from outside the UK will need to apply to the Home Office to become a licensed sponsor.

Skilled workers

The general salary threshold for skilled workers wishing to live and work in the UK will decrease to £25,600 from the current level of £30,000, or the so called “ going rate” for the role . The threshold could be lowered even further for prospective workers in sectors experiencing shortages such as civil engineering; or those with PhDs pertinent to a specific job.

Under the plan, the classification of skilled workers will be extended to include those educated to A-level/Scottish Highers-equivalent standard, not just those at graduate level.

The overall cap on the number of skilled workers who could come into the UK will also be removed and employers will no longer have to conduct the Resident Labour Market Test.

The Home Office will “continue to refine the system” and may add other criteria for which migrants can earn points, such as age or time spent studying in the UK.

Chris Brazier, business immigration partner, B P Collins says:

“This marks a significant relaxation of the criteria required to obtain the current Tier 2 (General) work visa. In particular, abolishing the cap on the number of skilled workers, bringing the Resident Labour Market Test to an end and lowering the salary threshold should make it significantly easier for businesses to employ skilled migrant workers. The trade-off is that the new system will also apply to EU migrants, who would previously have benefitted from free movement rights.

“It is recommending that if you are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider applying for your sponsor licence now. This is something which businesses will need to do if they want access to European and other migrants not settled in the UK from January 2021. B P Collins can assist with this so please get in touch.”

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