Any business that has depended on recruiting from overseas should make sure that they familiarise themselves with the governments new immigration points-based system.

The Home Secretary has announced that a new scheme will take effect from January 2021 that will assign points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions.  Visas will only be awarded for those who gain enough points. In the announcement the Home Secretary made clear the government’s intention to end the reliance on what she described as “cheap, low skilled labour coming in from overseas”.

The new single global system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. It will give top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, engineers and academics.

The global talent scheme will also be opened up to EU citizens which will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.

Minimum salary threshold

The points threshold will be carefully set to attract the talent the UK needs. Skilled workers will need to meet a number of relevant criteria, including specific skills and the ability to speak English, to be able to work in the UK. All applicants will be required to have a job offer and, in line with the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations, the minimum salary threshold will be set at £25,600.

Those looking to live and work in the UK will now need to be qualified up to A level or equivalent, rather than degree level under the current system.  There will be no specific route for low-skilled workers.  It is estimated 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which will help to bring overall numbers down in future.

Student visa routes will also be points-based and be opened up to EU citizens, ensuring talent from around the globe has access to the UK’s world-class universities.  Those wishing to study in the UK will need to demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, that they can support themselves financially and that they speak English.

In addition, the seasonal workers pilot will also be expanded in time for the 2020 harvest from 2,500 to 10,000 places, responding to the specific temporary requirements of the agricultural sector.

EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months.  However, the use of national identity cards will be phased out for travel to the UK and the Home Office will set out our plans in due course.  Those EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can still apply to settle in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.

If you would like to find out more about how the new points-based immigration scheme might affect your business and future recruitment needs, contract Tricia Hay at First Base on 01453 755330 or tricia.hay@first-base.co.uk.