While the Home Office has previously made it clear that a new points-based immigration system would be put in place when the UK finally leaves the EU, it has not explained exactly how this approach will work in practice.

This has left businesses wondering how their recruitment practices will be affected and anxious to learn more (see Employers want to help design new immigration system).

Now Home Secretary Priti Patel has presented The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System: Further Details to Parliament and made this 130-page publication available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/899755/UK_Points-Based_System_Further_Details_Web_Accessible.pdf.

“This document provides more detail to applicants, employers and educational institutions on the draft requirements and conditions underpinning the key immigration routes in the Points-Based System,” Ms Patel explained.

It sets out the principles of the points-based system (PBS), noting that it will be streamlined and simplified, making the best use of technology and remaining committed to protecting individuals from modern slavery and exploitation by criminal traffickers and unscrupulous employers.

The main routes for people wishing to come to work in the UK, once the EU’s system of freedom of movement is ended on 1 January 2021, will be the following.

  • Skilled worker: coming to specific jobs at or above the minimum skill level: RQF3 level or equivalent (A level or equivalent qualification). Meeting these mandatory criteria will earn the applicant 50 points; they must obtain a further 20 “tradeable” points through a combination of points for their salary, a job in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD. If the applicant is paid the higher of the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the “going rate” for their particular job, they will get an extra 20 points.
  • Skilled Work — Health and Care Visa: this aims to ensure that individuals working in eligible health occupations with a job offer from the NHS, social care sector or employers and organisations which provide services to the NHS, who have good working English, are incentivised to come to the UK. There will be fast-track entry, with reduced application fees and dedicated support regarding the application process, for eligible individuals to come to the UK with their families.
  • Global Talent: intended to make it easier for leading global scientists, researchers and innovators to come and live and work in the UK, applicants must be endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the Home Office. Once endorsed, subject to criminality and immigration checks, migrants will be given a highly flexible permission, enabling them to:
    • work for employers or be self-employed
    • change jobs without informing the Home Office
    • travel abroad and return to the UK for research purposes
    • bring dependants with them.

    There is no limit on the number of eligible individuals who can use the route.

  • Start-up and Innovator: designed to attract entrepreneurial talent and innovative, scalable business ideas to the UK. Applicants can be individuals or teams. The Start-up route is for those setting up a business for the first time, who need to work to support themselves while developing their business ideas. The Innovator route is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding, who can dedicate their working time to their business ventures, or those moving from Start-up who are progressing their business.

The document also details other routes including:

  • intra-company transfers and intra-company graduate trainees
  • the Youth Mobility Scheme
  • sporting and creative routes
  • charities.

“The Points-Based System will work in the interests of the whole of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We will maintain the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements between the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) after the end of the transition period,” the Home Secretary confirmed.

Comment by KKVMS LLP
Although there are many positives outlined in the publication, these new rules may adversely impact upon employers who have come to rely on “low-skilled labour” from the EU.
In particular, there could be a knock-on effect in the hospitality and catering industries, alongside agricultural operations that make use of seasonal workers from overseas.
Employers who may be faced with such issues must, therefore, find alternative solutions to their recruitment needs post Brexit — like retraining current staff, for example.