The Home Secretary has published further details on the UK point-based system on 13 July 2020.
From 31 December 2020 at 11:00 pm the free movement rights with the European Union will end and will mark the launch of the new UK Immigration Point Based System.
The new system will cater to the most highly skilled workers, skilled workers, students and a range of other specialist work routes including routes for global leaders in their field and innovators. The EU nationals will be covered by the transition period and need to apply to enter or stay in the UK before 30 June 2021 except Irish nationals who will be able to freely enter the UK as common travel area partners.
The new rules will apply equally to the EU and Non- EU nationals. Everyone will be required to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge, however, a new discounted fee will apply to applicants under the age of 18 years. However, workers on the health and care visa may be exempted from paying the immigration health surcharge. The Home Office will publish further details on this.
It is likely that the current cap on the number of migrants will be suspended; however, we will need to wait and see how long the suspension would continue and whether it will apply to certain job roles.
Existing Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) sponsors will automatically be granted a new Skilled Worker licence or Intra-Company Transfer licence, with an expiry date consistent with the current licence they hold, and receive an appropriate allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)
Resident Labour Market Test
The Home Office intends to abolish the resident labour market test under the new system. However, checks will be carried out to ascertain that the employers are filling a genuine vacancy and roles are not created to facilitate the immigration of a specific migrant to the UK.
Immigration Health Surcharge and Skills Charge
Employers must pay £1,000 per skilled worker for the first 12 months, with an additional £500 charge for each subsequent six-month period. Under the Points-Based System, we will apply the ISC to sponsoring employers in respect of both EU and non-EU migrant workers. Discounted rates of £364 per sponsored worker per year will apply as they do now to charities and Small and Medium Enterprises.
The level of English language ability required is set as appropriate for each relevant route based on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages. For example, students at degree level must demonstrate their ability at level B2 (A-Level or equivalent) and skilled workers B1 (AS-Level or equivalent).
Skilled workers who are sponsored as a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife can rely on the assessment of their professional body as proof of their English language ability.
Skilled workers and postgraduate students will continue to have the right to bring dependants. Dependants are spouses, partners2 and children (below the age of 18 at point of entry), and their application is linked to that of the main applicant. In general, dependants have near full access to the UK labour market and can work at any skill level. School-age children accompanying a migrant are entitled to state education. Dependants must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
The applicants will be allowed to switch from one immigration route to another without having to leave the UK. However, short term visitors, student or seasonal workers will not be allowed to switch within the UK.
The employers holding a skilled worker licence will be able to sponsor workers at or above RQF level 3 or equivalent. The new system will have tradeable and non-tradeable points as in the table below
Pro-rating salaries for part-time workers
The going rate ensures fair pay compared with resident workers and aims to prevent migrant workers from being used as a source of cheap labour. As under the existing system, going rates for individual occupations can be pro-rated depending on the applicant’s working pattern, as long as the total applicable general salary threshold (£25,600, £23,040 or £20,480) is met. The general threshold is a measure of the economic contribution an applicant will make to the UK. It applies regardless of the number of hours worked and will not be pro-rated
Points requirements in further applications by individuals
Those who enter the Skilled Worker route will need to make a new application if they
(a) Change employer;
(b) Change jobs (to another SOC code); or
(c) Need to extend their stay
Existing Tier 2 (General) migrants who need to do any of the above will also need to make such an application under the Skilled Worker route once the Tier 2 (General) route closes. The new points table will apply to these further applications.
If the migrant has changed their employer and/or their job, there will be a reassessment of whether their new post meets the required skill and salary level. PAYE records for all skilled workers will be regularly checked to confirm they are being paid the correct salary.
Applicants who scored points for the English language at the required level in an earlier application will score those points automatically in a subsequent application. They will not need to submit their qualification certificates again, but if their job has changed, we will assess whether their qualification is relevant to their new job.
Migrants will be defined as new entrants under the Points-Based System if they meet one of the following requirements:
- a) They are switching from the Student or Graduate route to the Skilled Worker route;
- b) They are under the age of 26 on the date of their application; or
- c) They are working towards recognised professional qualifications or moving directly into postdoctoral positions.
The minimum salary for the new entrant will need to be at least £20,480 or above. There will be a list for new entrant salary published by the Home Office.
Health and Care Visa
The Health and Care Visa is part of the Skilled Worker route. It will ensure individuals working in eligible health occupations with a job offer from the NHS, social care sector or employers and organisations which provide services to the NHS, who have good working English, are incentivised to come to the UK.
Those who are eligible to apply for the Health and Care Visa, and their dependents, will also be exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Frontline workers in the health and social care sector who are not eligible for the new Health and Care Visa will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge but will benefit from a reimbursement scheme. Further details will be published by the Home Office.
Applicants must be endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the Home Office. Individuals can apply to one of the following endorsing bodies who will verify their expertise before they can apply for a visa:
- The Royal Society, for science and medicine;
- The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering;
- The British Academy, for humanities;
- UK Research and Innovation, for science and research;
- Tech Nation, for digital technology;
- Arts Council England, for arts and culture
Start-up and Innovator
The Start-up and Innovator routes are designed to attract entrepreneurial talent and innovative, scalable business ideas to the UK. Launched in March 2019 under the current system for non-EU citizens, both routes are for individuals looking to set up an innovative UK business. Start-up is for those setting up an innovative business for the first time, whilst Innovator is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding. Individuals require support from an Endorsing Body, before applying, which must have assessed the business idea as being innovative, viable and scalable. The routes are not capped, and the UK Government has been actively promoting the routes to attract talented entrepreneurs.
The Start-up and Innovator routes enhance the UK’s visa offer to leading international business talent and maintain our position as a top destination for innovation and entrepreneurs. In the future, we will continue to expand coverage of the existing routes to more sectors and businesses.
Intra Company Transfer
The route will require applicants to be in roles skilled to RQF6, and subject to a different minimum salary threshold from the main Skilled Worker route. It will not be subject to English language requirements but will be subject to a requirement that the worker has been employed by the sending business for a minimum period before the transfer (12 months in the case of intra-company transfers or three months in the case of intra-company graduate trainees).
Youth Mobility Scheme
The UK currently operates eight YMS arrangements with Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. The UK remains open to concluding further YMS agreements with other countries and territories.
Individuals who are aged between 18 and 30 at the time of application, who have £1,890 in savings and who are citizens of countries or republics listed in Appendix G of the Immigration Rules or are a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas).
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