This is to coincide with the end of the transition period with the EU while at the same time reducing the number of unskilled workers entering the UK.

Tijen Ahmet, our business immigration specialist, commented on the sudden decision and what it means for businesses that rely on EU workers:

“Broken promises and lack of detail yet again. Bringing forward the implementation of the new points-based system to the end of 2020 will come as a shock to many businesses.

“So far, we’ve only seen a commitment to revamp the current UK immigration system, which gives a specific number of points or zero points when compared to the ‘Australian-based’ system, which selects migrants for economic purposes with a true scoring points test. However, exactly what the changes will look like is lacking significant detail. With no proposal for low-skilled workers and no confirmation on salary thresholds, the dilemma of how to fill the talent gap remains.

“Businesses are desperate to stop their overseas talent pool drying up and while just over 30,000 businesses have a sponsor licence today, a two-year period may not be sufficient time for all businesses to acquire a licence and get to grips with the new system in operation. There is a wide expectation among business that this talent pool will continue to shrink meaning that uncertainty is still defining the economic and political landscape.

“Two key questions remain: will companies have the resources and budget in place to sponsor overseas workers; and, facing a surge of companies applying for licences, will the Home Office have enough resources to deal with demand? Only time will tell.”

For more information on business immigration contact Tijen Ahmet on 0207 264 4434 or another member of employment team.