UK immigration laws will see major change from 1 January

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Free movement of people and goods between the UK & EU ends on 31 December. Gabriel Ted of explains the new rules.

Employers and immigrant workers (including those already in the UK) may all be impacted by the new immigration system as the chart from the Financial Times highlights:

EU citizens already working in the UK

EU citizens working in the UK before 1st January must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. The process is digital, and the applicant will have to prove they:

  • Resided in the UK before the end of the transition period.
  • Don’t have a serious criminal record.
  • Plus applicants need to supply identity documents and a recent photo.

Those who have lived in the UK for more than 5 years can obtain “settled status”, meaning they can eventually apply to be citizens. Those who have lived for less than 5 years will get “pre-settled status” – meaning they will have to finish the 5-year continuous residence period before obtaining “settled status”.

Once “settled status” has been obtained, the individual will be able to work in the UK, access the NHS, study in the UK and (if eligible) access benefits and pensions.

Other non-UK citizens seeking work in the UK after 1 January

Any foreigner, including EU citizens, who arrives after 1 January will need to meet requirements of immigration routes to be able to work in the UK. Each will need a different Visa. These routes include:

  • Skilled workers with job offers
  • Intra-company transfers
  • Workers without a job offer

Skilled Workers with a Job Offer

This category will apply to individuals who are within the following thresholds:

  • They have an employment offer from a licensed sponsor.
  • The job offer is to pay him or her a minimum of £25,600. If the salary is lower, but still higher than £20,480, they can apply by using points under the UK points-based immigration system.
  • The job meets the required skill level – that is RQF3 (A level).
  • They can communicate with a certain level of English.

The UK points-based immigration system includes offers in a shortage occupation or a PhD relevant to the field.

Intra-company Transfer

A worker transferring to work in the UK who currently works outside the UK, and for a company affiliated to a UK business, will need to apply under the Intra-Company Transfer routes.  The Requirements needed are;

  • Be sponsored by a licensed sponsor concerning the route.
  • Meet the RQF3 skill level.
  • Earn a salary of not less than £41,500.
  • Have worked for a business affiliated to the one he or she is to work for in the UK for a minimum of 12 months.

It is important to note that this permission is temporary and the individual can only stay in the UK for 5 years in a 6-year period.

For those earning more than £73,900, the one-year previous employment criteria is waived, and they are allowed to stay for up to 9 years in any ten-year period. The worker can be transferred to the UK multiple times.

Workers without a job offer

Eligibility will be limited in this category.

Global leaders and people specialized in engineering, sciences, humanities and digital technology can apply through the Global Talent route.

The Youth Mobility Scheme allows young people to work and travel in the UK. They will not need sponsors.

Employer Sponsorship

An employer looking to employ anyone without a settled or pre-settled status will need to obtain a sponsorship license from the Home Office. To be a licensed sponsor you need to meet the following criteria;

  • Must have a legal business in the UK
  • Must be able to offer a job skilled at least RQF3
  • Must meet immigration responsibilities as a sponsor
  • Must not be a threat to immigration control
  • Must provide some mandatory information and documentation

Employers have to check that the employee has a right to work in the UK, and the employee should ensure the employer is a licensed sponsor.

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