What employers need to know about the UK’s new points-based immigration scheme

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. What employers need to know about the UK’s new points-based immigration scheme

What employers need to know about the UK’s new points-based immigration scheme

UK’s new points-based immigration scheme

Last week the Government announced their new points-based immigration system that will replace free movement for EU citizens when it comes to an end on 31st December 2020. So, what is it and what does it mean for employers and those wishing to enter the UK to work?

The aim of the new points-based immigration system is for the UK to attract the very best talent from over the world. The first phase of changes will take effect on 1st January 2021 and there will no longer be any distinction between EU and non-EU citizens seeking to come to the UK to work.

So how will the points system work? An individual wishing to come to the UK to work will now need to demonstrate that they meet the basic criteria of having a job offer, that the job offer is at the required skill level and that they speak English, their salary is at least £25,600 other than in ‘shortage occupations’ and they must have 70 points minimum to qualify:

Proposed New Points Based Immigration System

Mandatory Requirements

Points

Offer of a job by an approved sponsor

20

Job at the appropriate skill level

20

Speaks English at the required level

10

Salary Requirements

Points

Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – 323,039

0

Salary of £23,040 – £25,599

10

Salary of £25,600 or above

20

Job or Qualification Specific Requirements

Points

Job in a shortage occupation

20

Ph.D. in the subject relevant to the job

10

Ph.D. in a STEM subject relevant to the job

20

This new points system raises a number of questions about how businesses will recruit talent from January 2021, how long it is likely to take from selecting their preferred candidate and making a job offer through to the candidate’s availability to start. It’s not yet clear how long approval through the new immigration system will take and how that may affect UK business although the government has suggested up to 8 weeks for a visa to be issued. What is clear is that anyone visiting the UK as a visitor will need to leave before making an application for a work visa.

The government is keen to attract exceptionally highly skilled workers and has started to develop an alternative points-based solution to attract the most highly skilled talent in the UK without a job offer. Watch this space for updates.

But what about the low skilled workers that UK businesses rely so heavily on? Well, there will be no route for low skilled workers and so free movement will cease. There is an expectation that businesses will look at alternative ways to bridge the gap. How that will work in practice is yet to be seen and will be of significant concern to those businesses relying on low skilled workers. But, already, industries such as farming who rely on low skilled and temporary workers have already raised concerns about how they will be affected by the changes. Whilst a pilot scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture will be expanded to 10,000 places, will this be enough?

How will the new points-based immigration system affect your business? We specialize in supporting small and medium-sized businesses to navigate their way through the challenges of employing people. Get in touch with us here.

Previous Post
The importance of checking your employees’ right to work
Menu