New UK’s Points Based Immigration Rules

The United Kingdom has introduced a new immigration law for people willing to work in the UK. The new law will take effect from 1st of January 2021.

A statement on UK governement’s website states

free movement will end and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system

The new system will treat europeans and non europeans. People planning to work in the UK will now have to apply for permission in advance.

It explains further that

Under a points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

The points-based system is aimed to provide simple, effective and flexible method for UK employers to recruit skilled workers from around the world through a number of different immigration routes.

A guide was provided to give an overview of the new system and sets out the steps employers can take to prepare.

Skilled worker route

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK. This does not apply to Irish citizens.

Under the new skilled worker system, anyone coming to the UK to work will need to demonstrate that:

  • they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • the job offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent)
  • they speak English to the required standard

In addition to this, the job offer must meet the applicable minimum salary threshold. This is the higher of either:

  • the general salary threshold set by Her Majesty’s Government on advice of the independent Migration Advisory Committee at £25,600, or
  • the specific salary requirement for their occupation, known as the “going rate”

All applicants will be able to trade characteristics, such as their qualifications, against a lower salary to get the required number of points. If the job offer is less than the minimum salary requirement, but no less than £20,480, an applicant may still be eligible if they have:

  • a job offer in a specific shortage occupation
  • a PhD relevant to the job
  • a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job

There are different salary rules for workers in certain health or education jobs, and for “new entrants” at the start of their careers.

A total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK

Characteristics Mandatory/Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor Mandatory 20
Job at appropriate skill level Mandatory 20
Speaks English at required level Mandatory 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee Tradeable 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Tradeable 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Tradeable 20

Skilled worker case studies

Lab technician with a STEM PhD coming to the UK with salary offer of £21,000. The general salary threshold applies.

General salary threshold: £25,600 Points
Job offer 20
RQF 3 or above 20
English language 10
Salary 0
Education qualification: STEM PhD 20
Total 70

Mechanical engineer coming to the UK with salary offer of £26,750. The “going rate” salary threshold for the profession applies.

General salary threshold: £33,400 Points
Job offer 20
RQF 3 or above 20
English language 10
Salary 0
Job offer in a shortage occupation 20
Total 70

Global Talent route

From January 2021, the current Global Talent route will open to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EU citizens. This means the most highly skilled, who can achieve the required level of points, will be able to enter the UK without a job offer if they are endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the Home Office.

An employer will not need to be a Home Office licensed visa sponsor to employ a migrant under the Global Talent route.

This route is designed to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. Top scientists and researchers can benefit from a quicker endorsement process as part of a fast track STEM scheme.

As of November 2020, the current list of approved endorsing bodies is as follows:

  • The Royal Society, for science and medicine
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering
  • The British Academy, for humanities
  • UK Research and Innovation, for science and research
  • Tech Nation, for digital technology
  • Arts Council England, for arts and culture

Graduate route

The Graduate Visa will be available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021. This will enable international students to remain in the UK and work at any skill level for two years after they have completed their studies. It will be an unsponsored route.

International students who complete a PhD from Summer 2021 can stay in the UK for three years after study to live and work. This will make it easier for some of the best young international graduates to secure skilled jobs in the UK and contribute to economic growth.

Intra-company Transfer

The Intra-company Transfer (ICT) route allows multinational organisations to facilitate temporary moves into the UK for key business personnel through their subsidiary branches, subject to ICT sponsorship requirements being met. The route will require applicants to be in roles skilled to RQF 6 (graduate level equivalent), and subject to a different minimum salary threshold from the main skilled worker route.

Other routes

Start-up and Innovator

The Start-up and Innovator routes are designed to attract entrepreneurial talent and innovative, scalable business ideas to the UK. Start-up is for those setting up an innovative business for the first time, and Innovator is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding. These routes will be open to both EEA and non-EEA citizens. Applicants can be individuals or teams.

Health and Care Visa

The Health and Care Visa is part of the skilled work route. It will ensure individuals working in eligible health occupations, with a job offer from the NHS, social care sector or organisations that provide services to the NHS, are able to come to the UK.

Creative route

This route is for applicants in the creative industry who are entering the United Kingdom for shortterm contracts or engagements for up to 12 months. Applicants must have a confirmed job offer and their employment sponsored by a UK employer licensed by the Home Office.

Sporting routes

International sportspeople must also have a confirmed job offer and their employment sponsored by a UK employer licenced by the Home Office. Additionally, they must have an endorsement from the relevant governing sports body.

Seasonal Workers Pilot

The Seasonal Workers Pilot for agriculture is currently running until the end of 2020. This route is being reviewed and a decision on whether it will continue under the points-based system will be made in due course.

Youth Mobility Scheme

Employers will be able to benefit from the youth mobility scheme. The UK has arrangements in place with eight countries and territories to enable around 20,000 young people to come to the UK to work and travel each year. Applicants must be 18 to 30 years old and can stay up to two years.

More information

»Share Your Opinion«