With Brexit now in full force, UK immigration rules have changed to reflect the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Before the withdrawal, EU citizens had an automatic right to work in the UK, reside there for work purposes, stay after employment had finished, and receive equal treatment with nationals, like social and tax advantages, as there was freedom of movement between EU countries.
However, following the EU referendum in 2016, where the majority of UK voters opted to leave, the rights that came with the freedom of movement came to an end and new immigration laws were established.
In the years since, rules for immigration have developed and tightened, with the most recent updates ready to come into force in Spring 2022.
Where those who were already settled in the UK prior to December 2020 were able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, those who wish to immigrate to the UK now must meet much stricter requirements.
The UK points-based immigration system was rolled out in 2021 off the back of the UK’s participation in freedom of movement, officially drawing to an end in December 2020.
The system was updated this month and focuses primarily on migration for work. Here is a rundown of the updated requirements that allow entry to reside in the UK.
What is the UK points-based immigration system?
The UK points-based immigration system requires anyone coming to the UK for work, with the exception of Irish citizens, to meet certain criteria for which they will score points.
You need 70 points to qualify, and certain requirements score higher than others, for example, the ability to speak English achieves 10 points and receiving a job offer from approved sponsor rakes in 20.
UK companies will need a sponsor licence to employ eligible employees from outside the UK.
Higher points can also be awarded for those with better qualifications, a minimum salary of £25,600, or having a job offer in an industry the UK has a shortage.
The points-based system is said to “provide access to people and talent from across the world”.
What about students?
A graduate route has been enforced, meaning international students who have achieved their degree can remain in the UK for up to two years until they find a job. They can then apply for a different visa, e.g. a skilled worker visa.
There is currently no limit to the number of students applying to study in the UK, but they must apply six months in advance of their course start date.
Can you enter the UK without a job offer?
Yes. You can enter the UK without a job offer, but only if applicants qualify for the “Global Talent” route. This enables highly skilled individuals – who achieve the required number of points – to enter the UK if they are endorsed by a recognised UK body, such as The Royal Society for Science and Medicine.
What are Scale-Up visas?
The Scale-Up visa route will open in Spring 2022. The objective of this route is to attract highly skilled people to the UK in industries expected to be amongst the most innovative.
Applicants for this route must be proficient in the English language with a high-skilled job offer.
The Global Business Mobility route
This is expected to be further outlined in Spring 2022, but it looks to follow the current Intra-company Transfer route, which allows employees to come to or stay in the UK at your employer’s UK branch.
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