NEW POINTS-BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
The government has introduced a new points-based immigration system for people arriving in the UK on or after 1 January 2021. Under the Skilled Worker route, workers need to demonstrate that:
- They have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
- The job offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A-Level and equivalent) and
- They speak English to the required standard
In addition to the above mandatory characteristics, the job offer must meet the applicable minimum salary threshold, which is the higher of either:
- The general salary threshold set by the government on advice of the independent Migration Advisory Committee at £25,600, or
- The specific salary requirement for their occupation, known as the “going rate”
All applicants can trade characteristics, (for example, their qualifications), against a lower salary to get the required number of points. If the job offer is less than the minimum salary requirement but not less than £20,480, an applicant may still be eligible if they have:
- A job offer in a specific shortage occupation
- A PhD relevant to the job
- A PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job
The different characteristics hold different points, and a total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK.
This is a complex area, and we would advise seeking specialist immigration advice.
WHAT SHOULD BUSINESSES BE DOING?
Businesses are encouraged to provide information on the scheme to their affected employees to ensure they retain the right to work in the UK and to avoid business disruption.
Until 30 June 2021, employers can check job applicants’ right to work in the UK the same way as the current rules. Employers cannot require employees to show their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021.
EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show that they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to apply. If employers are considering sponsoring skilled migrants from 2021 and they are not currently an approved sponsor, they should consider applying for a sponsor licence, which can be completed on the government website. If a business is already a licensed Tier 2 (General) visa sponsor, it will be automatically granted a new Skilled Worker licence.