- 19 February 2020
The Government has today released its Policy Statement on the UK’s Points Based Immigration System. Whilst the UK has had a point-based system in place since 2008, a major change would be the inclusion of all EU workers in this system, who previously were subject to the free movement rules.
The Policy Statement accepts most of the recommendations set out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and incorporates some of the policies set out in Theresa May’s White Paper of 2018. The Policy Statement will have to be set out in the Immigration Rules, which we expect in the coming months. The key changes to the current immigration system are:
- An end to free movement for EU nationals
- A unified immigration system for all non-UK nationals focusing on the highly-skilled, skilled, students and high-value migrants
- No general low-skilled or temporary work route, however, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme will be expanded to 10,000 places
- Reduction in existing minimum salary thresholds under the Tier 2 system (from £30,000 to £25,600) with the option of ‘trade-in’ for certain characteristics to gain points
- Suspension of the yearly cap on skilled migration and an end to the Resident Labour Market Test.
- Reduction of minimum skill level from Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) Level 6 to RQF Level 3.
- Mandatory non-tradeable English language requirement
- Must have a job offer from an ‘approved’ sponsor.
- Phase-out of insecure identity documents, such as EU National Identity Cards
An end to free movement for EU nationals
Employers must act now to prevent a low-skilled worker shortage immediately following the end of the transition period. Whilst the government considers that employers will have to adjust to an end to low-skilled migrant workers, we consider that this adjustment will take some time.
There are several routes available now, including the EU Settlement Scheme, which remains open for all EU nationals who become a UK resident before 31 December 2020. Other options, which will remain after 1 January 2020, is the reliance on the dependants of points-based migrants.
If you are concerned about the consequences of this Policy Statement, please contact us to discuss the available options.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.
About this article
SubjectAn end to low-skilled migrant workers: Government announces its policy for the 2021 immigration system
Published19 February 2020
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