This is part 2, the continuation of part 1. You can read part one HERE.
Options for Skilled workers
According to the Home Office guidance, the points-based system will provide simple, effective and flexible arrangements for skilled workers from around the world to come to the UK through an employer-led system.
The new system will have the key elements from the old one.
The applicants will need:
- To have a skill level job offer from an approved sponsor;
- To speak English at the level of B2;
- To have a salary above £25,600 per year (gross).
The applicants will be able to ‘mix and match’ requirements such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a salary lower than the minimum wage or the ‘going rate’ in their field.
The New Mix and Match Points Based System
Under this employer-led system worker will need to score 70 points to succeed. You can ‘mix and match’ (trade) specific job requirements. So, which requirements can you trade?
|An offer of a job by an approved sponsor||No||20|
|Job at the appropriate skill level||No||20|
|Speaks English at the required level||No||10|
|Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039||Yes||0|
|Salary of £23,040 – £25,599||Yes||10|
|Salary of £25,600 or above||Yes||20|
|Job in a shortage occupation||Yes||20|
|Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job||Yes||10|
|Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) relevant to the job||Yes||20|
With the new, more flexible points-based system:
- a university researcher with PhD (relevant to the job) (10 points)
- wishing to work on a salary of £24,040 (below the general minimum salary threshold) (10 points)
- can still succeed in their application, provided they have an appropriate skill level job offer (20 points)
- from an approved sponsor (20 points); and
- they can speak English at the required level (10 points).
As you can see from the example above, the application will be successful because our research will still score 70 points despite his low salary.
In 2019 the Home Office built a new home (Appendix W) for children of Tier 1 routes. So far, we’ve seen the birth of:
- the Start-Up route (daughter of Tier 1 Graduate (Entrepreneur))
- the Innovator route (daughter of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)) and
- the Global Talent route (daughter of Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)).
It is a non-employer-led system.
From January 2021, the UKVI will extend the current Global Talent Route to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EEA citizens. Appendix W applicants do not need to score any points or have a job offer to enter the UK in this category. What they will need to have is an endorsement from a competent authority (recognised by the Home Office).
More Routes under Appendix W
There also plans to expend this system further to be more highly-skilled worker-friendly.
Unlike the new points-based system, because of the higher risks involved, there will be a limit on how many highly skilled applicant can enter the UK each year. However, the Home Office may remove the limit if the system proves to be effective and beneficial for the UK economy.
Given the relatively unsuccessfully implemented old Tier 1 route, the new route will take longer to launch. The Home Office confirmed that they want to learn from past experience. Also, the UKVI intends to ensure that the route does undermine the skilled worker route or create opportunities for abuse.
Rather unprecedently, in their guidance, the Home Office confirmed their intention not to implement a route for lower-skilled workers. The UKVI’s general idea behind introducing the new system is to reduce overall low-skilled worker numbers.
The Home Office expressed the need for the UK businesses to adapt and adjust to the end of free movement. This is because they don’t want to recreate the outcomes from free movement within the points-based system.
For this post-Brexit adaptation period to work, the Home Office advised employers to increase staff retention, productivity, and make a wider investment in technology and automation. Also, they suggested that over 3.2 million EEA citizens residing in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS (with unrestricted rights to work in the UK) will provide the employers with flexibility to meet labour market demands.
However, there will still be some pilot scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture (up to 10,000 places). The UKVI has no intention of cancelling the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Routes) (20,000 places).
It looks like the Tier 4 route will remain more or less the same. There is one excellent news for the students. From around summer next year, Home Office intends to introduce the new Graduate route, which will allow to remain students in the UK and to work or look for work for two years.
Everything new is well-forgotten old. We already had the Post-Study Work visa’ in 2004. It worked flawlessly. It is not clear why the UKVI cancelled this route in the first place. It is excellent that they reintroduce it again. It will allow the UK to retain the bright minds, which it trained via the Tier 4 route.
The Old Tier 5 and the New Tier 5
The old Tier 5 route will likely stay. From January 2021 these routes will become open to EU citizens as well.
Overall, the 2021 changes to UK Immigration system look optimistic and promising. If implemented gradually and correctly, it will benefit all concerned: the UK society, the UK economy, the overseas applicants and their family members.