Brexit transition – changes to the immigration system

From 01 January 2021, the automatic right of people from EU countries to work, live or study in the UK ended. This means all non-British and non-Irish citizens who wish to relocate to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales will require a valid immigration status.

Visas will be granted using a new points-based method. This replaces the current Tier 1-5 system.

Points will be awarded for:

  • Having a valid job offer from an employer approved as a sponsor
  • The job being at the appropriate skills level
  • Being able to speak English at required level
  • Earning a minimum salary amount taking into account whether the role is in the shortage occupation list
  • Holding certain qualifications

For employers:

Amongst other factors, employers must note:

  • A sponsorship licence will be required to hire most workers from outside the UK
  • There is no longer the requirement to offer the job to resident labour market
  • Sponsoring foreign workers will require payment of an Immigration Skills Charge and an Immigration Health Surcharge

There are several routes to gaining a visa:

  • Skilled worker – to work in a skilled job you have been offered
  • Global talent – for the most highly-skilled to enter the UK without a job offer
  • Graduate – for international students who have completed a degree or PhD in the UK from summer 2021
  • Intra-company transfer (ICT) – allows organisations to move key personnel into the UK on a temporary basis
  • Start-up and innovator – for individuals or teams setting up an innovative business for the first time (start-up) or with industry experience and at least £50,000 in funding (innovator)
  • Health and care – similar to the skilled work route, but for those with a job offer from the NHS (or those that provide services to the NHS) or social care sector
  • Creative – for creative workers with short-term contracts or engagements up to 12-months in length
  • Sporting – for international sportspeople with a confirmed job offer and a suitable sponsor, plus endorsement from their relevant governing sports body
  • Seasonal workers – this pilot ran until the end of 2020 and is currently under review
  • Youth mobility scheme – for those aged 18-30 from one of eight named countries and territories who want to work in or travel the UK for up to two years

Other immigration routes:

  • Family reunion and asylum will continue outside the points-based system
  • Students will fall under the students points-based system, which mirrors the current Tier-4 route

What if you are a non-British/Irish citizen already living in the UK?

If you are an EU national and live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales before the end of 2020, you need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021.

There are also some minor changes to the rules for people wishing to visit the UK

Coronavirus permitting, people travelling to the UK who are European Economic Area (EEA), European Union (EU) and Swiss citizens will not see any changes to the rules for holiday and business travel until 01 October 2021. They will be able to continue to travel short-term using a valid passport or national ID card, but after 01 October 2021:

  • Those using a National ID card will need to get a passport unless:
    • They have 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

Need help?

The expert team at AGR Law are up to date with the latest rules and regulations and are happy to advise you with any enquiries relating to immigration and visas, whether you wish to work, study, live in the UK after Brexit, or bring a migrant worker to the UK.

Give us a call on 0116 340 0094 or email to find out more.