This week the UK Government issued the following information in relation to proposed immigration post 1 January 2021. We would encourage all our members to familiarise themselves with the intentions and make appropriate plans to ensure they can manage any implications for their businesses.

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19 February 2020

 Introduction

  • Today we are spelling out the biggest shake-up of the UK’s immigration system in a generation, welcoming the most talented people from around the world and restoring public trust in our immigration system.
  • We will end free movement on 1 January 2021 and introduce a single global immigration system which prioritises the skills people have to offer and how they will contribute to the UK’s economy, not where they come from.

Attracting the brightest and the best

  • The new system will attract the brightest and best talent from across the world, including scientists, innovators and academics.
  • The system will require and award points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, the ability to speak English and meeting the appropriate salary threshold, which will be set at £25,600 as recommended by our independent migration experts.
  • We have already introduced special schemes to support more scientists, graduates, NHS workers and people in the agricultural sector to come to the UK more easily.
  • The points threshold will be set high to genuinely attract the brightest and the best, and 70% of EU workers currently here would not meet the new threshold.

Taking back control

  • We will deliver on the people’s priorities by cutting overall migration numbers.
  • The Government has listened to the clear message from the 2016 referendum and the 2019 General Election that the public wants a reduction in low-skilled immigration, so we will not introduce a general low-skilled or temporary work route.
  • Except in some limited circumstances, everyone coming to the UK for work or study will need a visa and to pay to access the NHS.
  • And we will crack down on illegal migration and criminal activity at the border. This includes phasing out the use of insecure EU ID cards for new migrants and toughening border checks to stop serious criminals entering the UK and to remove those who abuse our hospitality.

Industry will need to adjust

  • Employers will need to join our mission to level-up skills and economic-growth across the whole of the United Kingdom.
  • There are 8 million people economically inactive in the UK. It is time for employers to invest in the people already here and make jobs more attractive for UK workers.
  • These significant changes are vital if we are to deliver a high-skill, high-wage and highly productive economy, and by providing certainty on the new immigration system now, the economy will be given time to adjust.

Conclusion

  • Our new, fair and firm system will send a message to the whole world that Britain is open for business as we continue to attract the brightest and best from around the world, but with a system we have control over.
  • Our blueprint for taking back control will transform the way in which people come for work, study, visit or to join their family. It will also revolutionise the UK border, tightening security and keeping out criminals and terrorists who wish to do us harm.
  • We have already guaranteed the rights of EU citizens and their families living in the UK before the end of 2020. The EU Settlement Scheme – the biggest scheme of its kind in British history – has already received 3.2 million applications and is a success.
  • For the first time in decades, the UK will have full control over who comes to this country and how our immigration system operates.

SUMMARY POINTS FROM THE ANNOUNCEMENT


SKILLED

  • The PBS will provide simple, effective and flexible arrangements for skilled workers from around the world to come to the UK once freedom of movement has ended. It will be introduced from January 2021.
  • All applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor, that the job offer is at the required skill level and that they speak English.
  • We will reduce the general salary threshold from £30,000 to £25,600 (MAC recommended).
  • We will bring the skills thresholds down from RQF6 (degree level) to RQF3-5 (A Level and equivalent). (MAC recommended)
  • We will commission the MAC to produce a shortage occupation list covering all jobs encompassed by the skilled worker route and to keep the list under regular review. Extra points will be allocated for occupations that the MAC determines to be in national shortage. This will provide immediate temporary relief for shortage areas.
  • Students will also be covered by the PBS. They will need to demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.
  • The Home Office will publish further detail on the PBS in due course, including detailed guidance regarding the points tables, shortage occupations and qualifications.
  • To further facilitate the migration of skilled workers to support the NHS, we have announced that we will create a fast-track NHS Visa for certain medical professionals with NHS job offers. We have already established a dedicated team within the HO to assist migrants working in the NHS through the visa application process.
  • Introduction of the PBS will be in place for January 2021 with further phasing to follow.
  • All migrants will need to comply with the UK’s strict criminality rules.

HIGHLY SKILLED

  • We will open the reformed Global Talent route to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EU citizens.
  • The reformed Global Talent route will launch on 19 February and expands upon the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. As part of reforms, the route will be expanded – including a new fast-track scheme for world-leading scientists, top researchers and mathematicians to come to the UK. The reformed Global Talent route will be open to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EU citizens.
  • To further entice world-class scientists and researchers, on 20 February, we will launch new fast-track arrangements managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).  This will enable UK-based research projects that have received recognised prestigious grants and awards to recruit top global talent – supporting the inward migration of scientists and active researchers who make critical contributions to UK research.
  • We will look to develop the addition of an unsponsored element to the PBS. This would provide for the most highly skilled to enter the UK without a job offer under the PBS with the endorsement of a relevant competent body. This route would be capped and would be carefully monitored during the implementation phase. We will be exploring with stakeholders in the coming year.  (MAC recommended)

LOWER SKILLED

  • We will not implement a dedicated route for lower skilled workers.
  • UK businesses will need to adapt. Focus from businesses should be on investment in the skills of resident workers, investment in staff retention and wider investment in technology and automation.
  • Initiatives have already been introduced for those in the agricultural sector, which will provide businesses with additional flexibility in the shorter term. We have committed to expanding the pilot scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture which will be quadrupled in size to 10,000 places.
  • We want to continue to build on youth mobility arrangements by discussing the scheme with the European Union, or individual member states, as part of ongoing trade negotiations.
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