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EU citizens face new UK workers immigration system from 2021

EU citizens face new UK workers immigration system from 2021

Following Brexit, immigrants from mainland Europe will face significant procedural changes to their future situation. This is the aftermath of the EU freedom of movement coming to an end in the UK this year. A new immigration system has been introduced in the UK for EU citizens moving there to work. The points-based system will be applicable for workers who intend to arrive in the country after 1 January 2021.

The new points-based immigration system is designed to allow the coming of foreign ‘skilled workers’ to the UK. The following procedure was introduced by the British government to pick out the desired future employees. Firstly, the applicants will need to present their UK job offer. Further, the candidates will be assessed based on (i) their professional skills, (ii) ability to communicate in the English language and (iii) proposed salary. The applicants will be awarded points for each of the above criteria. Should they accumulate enough points, the skilled-worker visa will be granted.

Specifically, the threshold is 70 points. At least 50 of these need to be awarded for meeting the mandatory, ‘non-tradable’ requirements. Unconditionally, the contract must be offered by an approved employer sponsor licensed by the UK Home Office. Further, the employee’s professional skills have to be of at least RQF3 (A1) level. Ultimately, the worker’s English language skills must be at least intermediate (B1 level).

The remaining 20 points can be obtained in a ‘tradable’ category for a combination of salary (at least GBP 20,480) and education or job-specific characteristics (i.e. PhD degree, highly desired occupation, new entrance to the labor market).

Application for the skilled-worker visa must be submitted by the sponsoring company. An ‘Immigration Skills Charge’ will be levied on the employer of the skilled worker.

Since the visa is a requirement upon entering the country, EU citizens willing to be employed in the United Kingdom from next year onwards will need to obtain this in advance. It is highly advisable to initiate the process as soon as possible in order to mitigate any potential risks.

As for the people already living and working in the UK, they should apply – before 30th June 2021 – for the so-called ‘settlement scheme’ for themselves and their families.