A few days ago the UK Home Office came out with details on the immigration system it is planning to follow from 1 January 2021 onwards. As is known the freedom of movement in the UK will end for Europeans once the country exits from the European Union at the start of next year. The detailed document on the UK immigration system provides all the information deemed necessary by applicants, employers, and educational institutions. It sheds light on the conditions and requirements that will be essential for the key immigration routes in the upcoming Point-Based System.
EU Citizens Will Now Have to Fulfill Same Requirements As Non-EU Citizens
According to the new UK immigration system from January 2021 onwards, “Beyond the main work and study route, most of the immigration routes will have the same requirements as they do now for non-EU citizens.” It means after the implementation of this new system, EU citizens will have to go through all the activities related to obtaining a visa similar to non-European citizens apart from short-term visits. Those arriving before 31 December 2020 will continue to enjoy the current transition terms and arrangements. The last date for applying for visas through the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021.
Highlights of Key Policy Points for Specific Immigration Categories
For skilled workers, the eligibility criteria will be the same as mentioned in the statement of February 2020. But these skilled workers, especially from education and health fields, will have to meet the criteria of pay scale recommended for their kind of occupation. Also, the new entrants will have to settle for 30 percent less payment as compared to the experienced workers in the same occupation. However, the minimum payment for each worker should not be below £20,480. In this case, the new entrants will be those switching from the student or graduate visa to the skilled worker route.
The officials are yet to finalize details for the highly skilled worker route. Most probably the route will be available only from next year after the Home Office launches its new UK immigration system. Additionally, the current inputs for highly skilled worker route say that it will be unsponsored with an annual cap on the number of immigrants.
The Health and Care Visa falling under the skilled worker’s category will have some highlighting features. It will be a fast-track entry route with reduced application fees. Those with a job offer from the social care sector, NHS, and organizations and employers offering their services to NHS will get all the possible support. Skilled workers eligible for the Health and Care will get an exemption from Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
Key Points in the new UK Immigration System
- Mostly switching routes within the country will be allowed. However, it will not be applicable in the case a migrant enters the country through a short-term route like a seasonal worker or as a visitor.
- From next year onwards, EU citizens at large will have to provide facial images from a smartphone for self-enrollment application forms instead of enrolling their biometrics by attending a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
- For biometrics, the policy clearly states that, “long-term aim is that all visitors and migrants to the UK will provide their biometric facial images and fingerprints under a single global immigration system.”
- There will be no changes in the immigration skills charge and application fees.
- IHS will most probably increase from October this year.
- From 1 January 2021 onwards, EU citizens will require passports for entering the UK.