The UK Government has provided further details of the new immigration system it plans to implement when the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020. As we previously commented when details of the new scheme were first published in February 2020, the new immigration system does not represent a radical departure from the current scheme.
This new announcement essentially restates the proposed changes outlined in February and provides a few more details in relation to how the new system will work. For example:
- most EU citizens applying for UK immigration permission will not need to attend a Visa Application Centre to enrol their biometrics and will, instead provide, facial images using a smartphone self-enrolment app, similar to the way that the EU Settlement Scheme currently operates;
- Tier 2 (General), the main sponsored worker category, will be renamed the Skilled Worker route;
- as part of the Skilled Worker route, a new Health and Care Visa will be introduced for doctors, nurses and other health professionals, which will benefit from lower application fees and dedicated support. As has been widely reported, although this category will cover social workers, it will not be open to care workers, as this occupation is deemed not to meet the minimum skills threshold for the route;
- in most situations, those migrants already in the UK looking to apply under one of the revamped Points Based System categories, will be able to apply while they are in the UK; and
- while the Skilled Worker route will have a minimum skills threshold of RQF Level 3, the Intra-Company Transfer route minimum skill level will remain at RQF Level 6.
For more information, see our more detailed note on the proposed new system.
The UK Government’s Further Details document provides a useful summary of the main immigration categories that already, and will, enable individuals to work and study in the UK. However, interestingly, it does not contain details of the Representative of an Overseas Business (Sole Representative) or Tier 1 (Investor) categories.
This has caused some concern that these categories may therefore be in danger of being abolished. However, the document does state that it only covers the main economic migration routes and that EEA nationals looking to enter the UK under any of the routes not mentioned in the document from 1 January 2021 will simply have to comply with the current requirements of these routes.