What does the UK’s new immigration policy say?
After over three years of uncertainty the government has finally announced its new points-based immigration system, with proposals that seek to cut access to low skilled workers, self-employed and non-English speakers.
The new system aims to achieve a major manifesto pledge of ending freedom of movement, where EU nationals will be treated the same as non-EU nationals.
So, what are the key points of the government’s plans?
- There is no dedicated route for lower-skilled workers or self-employed;
- The general salary threshold will decrease from £30,000 to £25,600;
- Removal of the resident labour market test;
- Annual caps on visa numbers will be abolished;
- The skill levels will be reduced from degree level to A Level;
- of tradeable characteristics – specific job offer and qualification against lower salary;
- A new Global Talent route will replace the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route;
- Students will have to demonstrate they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and can financially support themselves.
With much yet to be decided in anticipation of the White Paper next month, employers must act swiftly and certainly within the next ten months to prepare for these changes that the government aim to introduce in 2021. Brexit, along with the new immigration policy, will now force UK businesses to re-evaluate how they recruit and secure talent.
What does this mean for UK businesses?
Businesses should begin to consider:
- encouraging their current EU employees to register under the EU Settlement Scheme;
- tracking the number of days UK employees are spending in the Schengen area to maintain;
- assessing their future recruitment needs;
- determining the local rules and process for registration for UK employees working in EU member states, to ensure employees are registering; and
- employers without a sponsor licence will need to apply for one if they think they will want to sponsor skilled migrants, irrespective of their country of nationality.
What happens next?
From 1 January 2021, free movement will end. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, free movement rights will continue until the end of the transition period. Thereafter, all employees will be treated the same if they wish to come and work in the UK and be subject to the new immigration rules.
EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to register their rights to continue to live and work under the EU settlement Scheme.
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