On the 13 July the Government published details on its new points-based migration system. A statement of changes to the rules was published on 22 October 2020.
From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and all new migrants taking up jobs or looking for work in the UK will need to satisfy a minimum point threshold in order to be granted immigration status. All immigrants, from all countries, except for Irish citizens (who will have the same status as British citizens), will be subject to the same standards. In other words, EU/EEA workers will no longer have preferential treatment.
Businesses can recruit overseas workers through the Skilled Worker Route, which will be open to applications from workers from December 2020. Businesses must be registered as licensed sponsors in order to do so. You can apply for a licence here.
One of the key benefits of the new system is that the Tier 2 quotas and resident labour market tests have been dropped. Rules concerning dependents have been relaxed meaning that it is easier for dependents to accompany and will have near full access to the UK labour market. Switching visa routes, except for short-term and visitor visas, without leaving the UK will also be possible.
For the skilled worker route, the points system works on a mix of mandatory criteria and tradeable points to meet the minimum point threshold of 70 points (correct as of 22 October 2020). The mandatory criteria include having a job offer from a licenced sponsor, above the minimum skill level, and speaking English to an acceptable standard. Tradeable points are formed from a combination of points for their salary, a job in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD. There are minimum salary rules so for instance the applicant would only get the 20 points if they are paid the higher of the general salary or the “going rate” for that particular job. For example, the general wage threshold is £25,600, but an advertising and public relations director’s “going-rate” is £45,400 (correct as of 31 July 2020). Hence, the applicant would only receive 20 points if they had a job that paid more than £45,400. Individual circumstances may be wide ranging so for further details you can find the policy documents here, or alternatively please seek the advice of an immigration specialist.
The UK is a global hub for advertising and the flow of skilled talent to and from the UK has helped attract business to this country and increase the number of advertising jobs for UK citizens. While the industry has greatly benefited from free movement, we believe that the new points-based system, enabling foreign skilled workers to enter the country if they have a job offer earning above threshold, coupled with the ability of students to stay on in the country for two years after graduating and the temporary worker visa, are to be welcomed.
More information regarding the AA’s position on upcoming immigration reforms can be found here.