The COVID-19 pandemic, and the daily news coverage that’s come with it, seems to have pushed Brexit-related issues to the back of many people’s minds. However, a new immigration system will apply to people arriving in the UK after 11pm on 31 December 2020 when the EU withdrawal transition period comes to an end.
From 1 January 2021 both EU and non-EU citizens moving to the UK to work from that date will need to obtain a visa in advance. Those applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply.
Citation is not permitted to offer immigration advice to clients. However, we can advise on the appropriate right to work checks. We understand that many business owners will be concerned about how their checking processes will change when freedom of movement comes to an end.
There are three key things to bear in mind on this (which are explained in further detail below):
Although freedom of movement with the EU is ending with effect from 1 January 2021, EU nationals already in the UK at this time have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This will allow them to continue to live and work in the UK. This applies to citizens of the following countries or economic areas:
If an individual needs to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to establish a continuing right to live and work in the UK, and fails to do so, they will lose their right to remain in the UK after 30 June 2021. Although government guidance on what employers need to do in respect of their existing EU employees is expected next year, it seems likely that employers will be required to undertake some form of check at that point to see whether their existing employees have applied under the scheme. Employers should therefore ensure that their employees are aware of what is required, the deadline for applying and the consequences for their employment if they fail to do so.
The online right to work check is available to those who have a status issued under the Settlement Scheme (it’s also available for those who have a biometric resident card or permit). Successful applicants under the scheme will not be provided with physical proof of their status. Instead, they will receive an email with a code which can be provided to the employer to enable them to carry out checks through the online service. The way to use the service is set out below:
This replaces the previous Tier 2 (General) sponsorship route and it came into force on 1 December 2020. Under the new scheme, applicants will need a job offer from an approved employer sponsor. Under this points-based system, skilled workers will be able to apply to come to the UK if they can demonstrate they fulfil all of the following three criteria:
|Offer of job by approved sponsor||No||20|
|Job at appropriate skill level||No||20|
|Speaks English at required level||No||10|
|Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||Yes||0|
|Salary of £23,040 – £25,599 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||Yes||10|
|Salary of £25,600 or above or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||Yes||20|
|Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC)||Yes||20|
|Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job||Yes||10|
|Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job||Yes||20|