The Immigration Bill, which will provide the legal basis for ending freedom of movement at 11:00pm on 31 December 2020, is currently working its way through Parliament. On Monday 13 July 2020, Secretary of State for the Home Department Priti Patel unveiled further details of the Government’s plans. Here are the key takeaways.
From 1 January 2021, anyone arriving into the UK for work, including all EU citizens, will have to demonstrate that they meet certain requirements for which they will score points. A minimum of 70 points will need to be earned to be eligible for a visa to come to the UK to work.
There are mandatory criteria which all entrants must meet to score 50 points:
Each applicant, having met the mandatory requirements, will then need to obtain at least a further 20 tradeable points. If the applicant is paid higher £25,600 per year or more, they will receive these extra 20 points. If the applicant is paid less than £25,600 but more than £20,480 per year, they may earn the additional points needed to enter if:
Remember, the minimum salary threshold for any applicant, regardless of their ability to achieve additional points, is £20,480 per year. If the role is to be paid less than this, then the applicant will not be able to earn enough points and will not be eligible for a visa. The minimum salary is significantly less than the current minimum salary of £30,000.
There are other routes to entry, including:
Points-based student route
Students will also require a total of 70 points to be granted leave and the point allocation are non-tradeable. The points are set out below:
Points-based graduate route
This route will be unsponsored and will offer successful applicants a one-time non-extendable leave period of two years if graduating at undergraduate or Masters’ level, or three years if graduating with a PhD. During this period, graduates will be able to work and look for work. Currently, students in the UK on a student visa who finish their studies are only permitted to stay in the UK until the end of their visa (usually a few months after their course has ended).
International students who have valid leave as a Tier 4 Student can apply, and those who have completed an undergraduate degree or above at a UK university.
There will be no English language requirements. However, applicants will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and will not have recourse to public funds.
Anyone can apply to visit the UK. In most cases, visitors can enter the UK for up to six months. During their visit, visitors are permitted to engage in a wide range of activities:
Visitors must either apply for a visa before arrival or seek leave to enter at the UK border.
Switching is used to describe an applicant’s ability to stay in the UK on a different immigration route without the need to leave the country and reapply from overseas. Under the new system, most applicants will be allowed to switch from one immigration route to another without needing to leave the country (whereas this is currently restricted to a limited number of categories).
Note that there will be no right to switch from a short-term route such as visitor visa’s or seasonal worker visas.
The Government has placed a great deal of emphasis on the country having more power to refuse those deemed unsuitable to enter or stay in the country. One of the ways in which the Government is seeking to do this is to impose greater powers to refuse entry or to remain where there is evidence of criminality. Under the new system, those seeking entry into the UK can be refused where:
Recourse to public funds
In all the immigration routes it proposed, the Government have stipulated that no one will have recourse to public funds if they are ‘subject to immigration control’.
This provision aims to allow for intra-company transfers by business personnel, enabling multi-national companies to move workers between subsidiary branches. This route will require applicants to be skilled at level RQF6 and not RQF3 as was originally touted.
For further information or clarity on the above, please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated and experienced business immigration team.