02 Dec The new immigration system is now open!
On 1 December 2020, the new points-based immigration system was finally launched branded as “simple, effective and flexible system”. From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to the UK, including EU nationals who cannot prove their prior residence in the UK under the EUSS, will need to apply for the relevant visa under the new immigration system. Please read the guidance below.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 should not apply through the points-based immigration system but opt instead for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The latter has several advantages over the skilled worker visa and EU nationals have until 30 June 2021 to make an application.
From 1 January 2021, EU citizens can continue to visit the UK for up to six months without applying for a visa and may participate in a wide range of activities. This includes tourism, visiting family and friends, short-term study and business-related activities, such as meetings, events and conferences. They can use their national ID card as a valid travel document to enter the UK until 1 October 2021. After this date, they will need to provide a valid passport to travel to the UK.
However, EU, EEA and Swiss migrants can continue to use their national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025 if:
- They have a settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
- They have a frontier worker permit;
- They are an S2 Healthcare Visitor;
- They are a Swiss Service Provider.
The new Skilled Worker scheme
The new Skilled Worker scheme has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa route. Organisations who previously held a sponsor licence in Tier 2 General and/or Tier 2 ICT, have had their licence’s details automatically updated to the Skilled Worker and/or the Intra-Company routes. In addition, the annual allocation of the Tier 2 General and/or ICT CoS will be automatically updated to a Skilled Worker and/or Intra-Company routes allocation and any unassigned CoS will be transferred over. The new allocations will have the same expiry date as the respective previous allocations.
In order to meet the requirements of the Skilled Worker visa application, migrants will need to demonstrate that:
- They have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
- The job offer must be at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent);
- They need to speak English to the required standard;
In addition, the job offer must meet the applicable minimum salary threshold. This is the higher of either:
- The general salary threshold of £25,600, or
- The specific salary requirement for their occupation, known as the “going rate”.
There are some other routes now open for applications include:
- The Intra-Company Transfer route, which is for established workers who are being transferred by the business they work for to do a skilled role in the UK;
- The Global Talent Visa, for individuals who can show they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture;
- The Innovator Visa, for individuals seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business ideas;
- The Start-up visa, for individuals seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time;
- The Short-term study route for individuals aged 16 and over who wants to study an English language course in the UK for between 6 and 11 months at an accredited institution;
- The Student route and Child Student route opened on 5 October 2020 to eligible international students from across the globe.
In addition, the new Hong Kong British Nationals Overseas (BNO) visa scheme will be launched in January 2021.
Contact Our Immigration Team
For expert advice regarding any aspect of the UK visa application, please contact our team on 0203 384 3075.