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What are the New UK Immigration Rules?

Welcome to our quick blog post about new UK Immigration rules. Now, due to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, new UK immigrations rules now apply. Free Movement for European nationals ended on 31st December 2020. This means that from January 2021, Free Movement rights will end for European nationals travelling to the UK and vice versa.

The new UK Immigration rules that have changed boil down to:

  • Existing employees must register on the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline of 30th June 2021.
  • Any European nationals who enter the UK for the first time will now need to qualify for visa clearance under the immigration system.
  • For most European nationals intending to work in the UK, this will require visa clearance as a Skilled Worker under the new immigration system.
  • New European and non-European entrants to the UK will be treated equally and subject to the same immigration rules.

So what is the New Immigration System?

The key characteristics of the new system for the new UK immigration rules will be the same as the current system:

An employer must be licensed by the Home Office, an employee must be sponsored to do a specific job, the job must meet a skill and salary threshold.

The Government recommends that businesses secure an immigration licence now if they have plans to recruit skilled workers in 2021. If this applies to you, please feel free to contact us and we can assist you with the application process.

  • The skill threshold is being reduced from graduate occupations to occupations skilled to RQF level 3, roughly equivalent to A-levels or Scottish Highers.
  • The general minimum salary threshold is being lowered from £30,000 a year to £25,600 a year. This is reduced to £20,480 minimum when tradable points are applied. Employers must also pay the going rate for the role, as defined by the Home Office.
  • The cap on numbers of available visas is being suspended.
  • The Resident Labour Market Test requirement is being removed. Sponsors must still be seeking to fill a genuine vacancy which meets the skill and salary thresholds.
  • The six-year maximum length of stay in the route has been removed.
  • The £35,800 salary threshold for settlement applications has been removed. Instead, sponsors must pay their skilled workers a salary which equals or exceeds £25,600 per year and the going rate for the occupation.

Eligibility to Work Checks

Temporary procedures in place for COVID allowing you to check documents over a video call. Not ideal, but it should help with you with the new UK Immigration rules.

To do this the employee or prospective employee needs to send you a copy of their documents to demonstrate their eligibility to work.  You then set up a call where they show you the actual documents allowing you to check that it is the same as the copy you received.  Only then can you sign off to say you have done their eligibility checks, under the amended COVID process.

Currently, this is only a temporary measure and you are required to do the checks in person again when you are able to.

  • Right to work checks will not change until 30th June 2021. European job applicants can currently prove their right to work with a valid European passport or ID card.
  • You may ask existing and new employees to provide proof of registration on the EU Settlement Scheme on a voluntary basis but this cannot be mandated and must be requested in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Changes to right to work checks will not be applied retrospectively and there will be no requirement to re-check the right to work of European nationals, even those with time limit stay (5 years limited leave to remain).

Remind yourself with our blog How to Check Job Applicant’s right to work Documents in 5 Easy steps. 

If you have any questions about the new UK Immigration rules, don’t hesitate to get in touch…

To make it even easier for you… just click on the link below to get your free download of what documents are suitable for these checks.

 

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