BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW SYSTEM
The UK government has released details on the new UK immigration system post Brexit and expected to come in to force from 01st January 2021. The new system is focused on skilled workers, and is applicable to both EU and non-EU migrants.
A reduction in the minimum salary and skills thresholds and the removal of the resident labour market test (RLMT) will make it easier for organisations to sponsor skilled workers both from EU & non-EU regions. At the same time the employers will be spending more and have to go through the sponsorship process (as they currently do to employ non-EU workers) in order to employ EU national workers.
Sponsorship of Skilled Migrant Workers
Organisations wishing to recruit skilled EU and non-EU national workers in the UK from 01st January 2021 will need a sponsorship licence from the Home Office to do so. There are several employers who currently hold a Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship licence to recruit skilled non-EU migrants. They can continue to use the sponsor licences that they currently hold, to recruit EU migrants from 01st January 2021 and the same shall apply to Tier 4 educational sponsors as well.
Sponsored workers will need a job offer in a role that is skilled to at least Regulations Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 which is equivalent to A-Level. This is a welcome reduction from the current requirement of RQF level 6 which is at degree or equivalent level and has been well supported by several employer organisations. This will allow them to employ migrants with lower skills and meet the demands of their businesses.
The minimum salary threshold has been reduced from £30,000 to £25,600. Applicants with a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the role or roles on the Shortage Occupation List can receive a slightly reduced salary. There will also be a reduced salary for new entrants who are entering in to the labour market.
Resident Labour Market Test and cap on skilled workers
The government will suspend the cap on the number of people who can enter the UK each year under the skilled worker route.
The Resident Labour Market Test is to be scrapped. However, employers must still be seeking to fill a ‘genuine vacancy’, which meets the skill and salary thresholds. Roles cannot be created solely to facilitate immigration of a specific migrant to the UK. HMRC PAYE records of the sponsors will be reviewed regularly to ensure migrant workers are being paid the correct salary and as stated in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)
The ICT category will remain, but in a significant change of policy, migrants will be able to switch to the Tier 2 Skilled Worker within UK which has been restricted at the moment. The cooling off period will also be amended to prevent an ICT migrant holding leave for more than 5 years in any 6 year period.
Immigration Skills Charge and Immigration Healthcare Surcharge
The Home Office will continue to levy the Immigration Skills Charge of up to £1,000 per year of leave granted to migrants.
The Immigration Health Surcharge will also increase from 1 October 2020 to £624.00 per year of the leave granted from the current level of £400.00 per year that is being charged currently. There are also exemptions from making these payments for those skilled workers in the healthcare sector.
Under the new UK Immigration System there will be no new route for lower-skilled workers. This will be of concern to employers who are already struggling to recruit and retain staff in lower skilled roles.
The current Global Talent route (formerly Tier 1 Exceptional Talent) will be available to EU national employees from 1 January 2021. This is aimed at attracting those who are endorsed as global leaders and the leaders of tomorrow in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. Among others, this will allow endorsed highly skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.
Highly Skilled Workers
The government has intentions to introduce a highly skilled work visa (without a need for UK sponsors) to allow a limited number of the mostly highly skilled workers to come to the UK without a job offer. The Government are exploring proposals and will be expected to publish those in the coming months.
International Students and Graduates
Student visas routes will be available to EU and non-EU nationals who have been offered a place to study. They must have sufficient English language skills and enough money to support themselves and pay for their course.
A new graduate immigration route will be introduced to international students who have completed their degree in the UK from summer 2021. Students will be able to work or find employment in the UK for up to 2 years which is similar to the old ‘Post Study Work’ route that was withdrawn few years ago.
Visiting the UK
EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens and other non-visa nations will continue to enter the UK for a maximum period of 6 months without a visa. They will need to enter the UK using their passport rather than their ID card.
What UK Employer should do?
- Existing Employees: EU citizens and qualifying family members resident before 31 December 2020 should register under the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible.
- New Hires: Consider bringing forward the UK start date of EU national new hires or secondments to a period prior to 01st January 2021, so that they can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme and avoid the time and costs of the new system.
- Apply for a Sponsorship Licence: Organisations that do not currently hold a sponsorship licence should apply for a licence as soon as possible so that they are ready and take advantage of the new system.
How MARSANS can help you?
- Assist with Sponsor licence applications to ensure that you as an employer is ready and able to take advantage of the new immigration system.
- Assist with the sponsored migrants applications for leave to enter or further leave in the UK.
- Carry out mock sponsor compliance audits to ensure that you meet the existing as well as the new sponsor guidance requirements.
- Assist you under the EU Settlement Scheme if you are a EU national.
- Provide advice and assistance in training people on the new UK Immigration System.
If you have any queries or need assistance in relation to any of the above requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We can be reached either by telephone on 020 7499 0620 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.