Points-based immigration is the system that the UK will be moving to from 1 January 2021.
Up until 31 December 2020 freedom of movement allows EU and EEA nationals to live in the United Kingdom and to work without the need for a visa. However, things are about to change.
From 1 January 2021 EU and EEA citizens (except Irish nationals) coming to the UK to work will need to meet the requirements of the UK’s points-based immigration system in the same way that non-EU/EEA nationals must.
Under this system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points, with those gaining sufficient points awarded a visa.
Skilled workers coming to the UK 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.
This is a significant change for employers recruiting from outside the UK. The details are outlined in a series of employer information guides that have been produced by the government.
Meanwhile EU and EEA citizens who are currently residing in the UK at 31 December 2020 can make an application to remain in the UK permanently, including the right to work, under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided they apply by 30 June 2021.
If they are able to show that they have been resident continuously in the UK for at least five years, they can apply for “settled status”
If they don’t have five years’ continuous residence when applying, they’ll usually get ‘pre-settled status’, if they have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, which means they can stay in the UK for a further five years from the date they get pre-settled status and within that period can apply to change this to settled status once they’ve got five years’ continuous residence.
Pre-settled status provides a continued right to live and work in the UK while it remains valid, but will lapse after two years’ absence from the UK.
From a practical point of view, it is crucial that employers ensure that all their EU and EEA existing employees who will continue to be employed after 31 December 2020 make the appropriate application for settled or pre-settled status.
If you’re an employer who needs legal advice about points-based immigration, settled or pre-settled status, speak to Tim Bailey or Laura Franklin. Alternatively you can contact us on 01782 205000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org