Until 31 December 2020, free movement for European nationals will still be in place. In short, nothing much will change until 31 December 2020 for EU nationals. However, the UK Government has big plans in the pipeline to overhaul the UK immigration landscape, and one can expect the following;
- From 1 January 2021, EU Nationals not registered under the EU settlement scheme, will have to apply and compete against all other nationals for the available permits and visas.
- The focus will be on attracting skilled migrants to the UK, with a focus on those with a STEM background.
- They will not introduce any low skilled or temporary work routes. The UK Government says that British businesses will have to adapt. They also say that the 3,2 million EU nationals that are already registered in the UK should be able to fill the lower-skilled positions in the UK market.
- From Autumn 2020, the new routes will be introduced so that migrants can start to apply ahead.
Highly Skilled Routes
The Global Talent visa is supposedly the only visa that will come into effect before the end of the transition period. Since 20 February 2020, persons can apply for the Global Talent visa. The visa cost is £608.
Highly skilled persons with a background in STEM subjects, and who are endorsed by a relevant and competent body, will be able to enter the UK without a job offer.
Skilled Worker Routes
There is a lot of good news for skilled persons who want to come to the UK.
Some of the things that the UK Government intends on doing is:
- Remove the Resident Labour market test.
- Bring the skills threshold down from RQF6 to RQF3.
- Suspend the cap on the number of persons who can come to the UK on this route.
- Lower the general minimum salary threshold from £30,000 to £25,600.
- Dependants will still be able to accompany the skilled worker.
One of the most significant changes to the Skilled Worker route will be that applicants will be able to trade certain characteristics, in their application for the Skilled Worker route, provided that they reach 70 points.
Characteristics that are NOT tradeable are:
- A job offer by a licensed UK Sponsor.
- The job must be at the appropriate skills level.
- Ability to speak English at the required level
Characteristics that will be tradeable are:
- Salary ranges will be tradeable, as long as it is within the minimum salary ranges. One would, for example, get higher points for jobs with a high salary.
- Jobs in a shortage occupation.
- PhD in a subject relevant to the job and PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job will also earn points that are tradeable.
Applicants wil thus in effect, be able to trade certain characteristics such as the specific job offer and qualifications, against lower salaries etc.
The UK Government said that it would refine the skilled worker route as time progress but does not want to make it too complex.
Lower Skilled Routes
The UK Government seems quite adamant that they will not introduce any low skilled or temporary work routes, and that UK employers will have to adapt.
The UK Government believes that the 3,2 million EU nationals that are already registered in the UK should be able to fill the lower-skilled positions in the UK market.
They also believe that the Seasonal Worker Scheme for Agriculture and the Youth Mobility Scheme that are open for certain countries will fill further gaps in the lower-skilled market.
Students, innovators, and other specialist occupations
Overseas students will still be covered by a points-based system. As long as a student can prove that they have an offer at an approved educational institution, can speak English at the required level, and can support themselves, they will be able to apply.
The UK Government said that there is a range of immigration routes available to specialist occupations, such as the Innovators, Ministers of Religion, Sportspeople and Artists. When free movement ends, these routes will open to EU citizens.
The existing family routes, such as the Ancestral route, fall outside of the points-based system, and it seems that these routes will stay in place.
The above is only a summary of some of the expected changes to come. Breytenbachs, Australian Times and The South African will inform readers as and when new information becomes available.
In the meantime we encourage all EU nationals to get in touch to register under the EU Settlement Scheme. Please feel free to contact Breytenbachs at [email protected].
Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes, without giving any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.