Svetlova LLP

The UK’s new points-based immigration system

February 5th, 2021

Freedom of movement between the UK and EU ended on 31 December 2020. Under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, EU and non-EU citizens are treated equally. With the exclusion of Irish citizens, anyone to be hired from outside the UK will need to apply for permission in advance.*

To hire most eligible workers from outside the UK under the Skilled Worker route, employers need to have a sponsor licence. A total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK. Visa applicants will need to demonstrate that:

  1. they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
  2. the job offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent);
  3. they speak English to the required standard; and
  4. the job offer meets the applicable minimum salary threshold. (Further information is available at–eligible-occupations-and-going-rates-for-the-skilled-worker-route – Annex E of the UK points-based immigration system: further details statement.)

In addition to the Skilled Worker route, there are other immigration routes to hire workers from outside the UK. Under the Global Talent route, the most highly skilled 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. Employers do not need a sponsor licence to employ a migrant under the Global Talent route. Examples of the approved endorsing bodies are The Royal Society for science and medicine, Arts Council England for arts and culture and UK Research and Innovation for science and research.

Under the Graduate route, international students, who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021, can apply for the Graduate visa to remain in the UK and work at any skill level for two years after completion of their studies. This will be an unsponsored route.

*The new system will not apply to EU employees already working in the UK. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Those eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply by 30 June 2021.