Government reveals more details on its post-Brexit, points-based immigration system

Last month the government finally revealed its plans for the new immigration scheme which is set to come into force on 1 January 2021 and which will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens.

Although many of the final details have yet to be published, we know that the new system will be adopting some aspects of the current Tier 2 points-based system. The aim of the new immigration scheme is to fulfil the promise of ending freedom of movement in the post-Brexit UK.

According to the government’s guidance on the Tier 2 category of the points-based system:

"The Tier 2 category allows UK employers to recruit skilled workers to fill a particular vacancy they cannot fill with a worker from the UK domestic workforce."

Under the new system, applicants from both EU and non-EU countries will have to gain 70 points to be eligible to apply for a visa to live and work in the UK.

They must also meet three key requirements, all of which carry a points value. They are:

  • a job offer from an approved sponsor – which earns an applicant 20 points
  • that job offer must be of a certain skill level – which also earns 20 points
  • the applicant must be able to speak English at a certain level – which scores 10 points.

After vigorous lobbying by employers’ organisations, the government has reduced the minimum salary requirements from the original proposal of £30,000 to £25,600 (£20,480 where the role is on the Migration Advisory Committee’s shortage occupation list).

This reduction will not provide much comfort for many sectors such as social care, construction, retail and leisure where typically salary levels will not meet the new criteria.

Citation’s Head of Employment Law, Gillian McAteer, speaking on the newly released guidance commented:

"Many businesses who have relied upon candidates from the EU to meet their recruitment needs, will now need to give serious consideration to their workforce planning. In particular, they should consider applying for a Tier 2 sponsorship licence if they do not already have one. It is possible that a sudden influx of applications could significantly extend the processing time for such applications ( currently around 6 weeks) so this should not be left to the last minute."

The government has promised further details on the scheme later this month. Keep your eyes on our news page and as soon as this is available, we’ll be examining the proposals in more detail.

Got recruitment questions?

If you’re a Citation client and you’ve got any questions on how the new immigration system might affect your business and what you can do to plan ahead, you can call our advice line 24/7, 365 days a year on 0345 844 4848.

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