Summary of UK future immigration system - Arona St James Solicitors
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Summary of UK future immigration system

  • The UK has recently announced its intention to overhaul the current UK immigration system following Brexit. When the UK leaves the EU it will end free movement of EEA Citizens into the UK – this will mean EU/EEA citizens will need to apply under the new immigration system to secure status in the UK.
  • At present there is not much information available about the proposed new UK immigration system and at this stage it is a proposal and therefore subject to change. The government plan to introduce the new system from 01 January 2021.
  • New immigration rules will need to be introduced post-Brexit, as mentioned above the EU law of free movement will no longer be valid. The government have sought to overhaul the current immigration system rather than incorporate EEA nationals into the current system. The government have also focused primarily on work visas and systems.
  • There will be a number of factors to take into account including the future relationship between the UK and the EU. There could also be trade agreements made between the UK and other countries which may include immigration/visa agreements.
  • For EU/EEA nationals free movement will end either until the end of the transition period if the UK leave with a Brexit deal or if there is a no-deal Brexit free movement will continue until 31 December 2020. Please see our other blog post regarding EU/EEA applications during/following Brexit – Euro TLR.
  • ‘Vindaloo visas’ – the Home Secretary announced that some restaurants providing takeaway service are now able to sponsor non-EEA national chefs. This is an amendment to the current Tier 2 work visa – shortage occupation list. The other requirements still remain but the fast food/take away service requirement has been removed. This came into effect on 06 October 2019.
  • Post-study visas – The government have announced that international students who begin their course in the academic year 2020/2021 will be able to continue living in the UK for 2 years following the end of their degree. Students will need to complete at minimum an undergraduate level with an approved Higher Education Provider. Students who have Tier 4 student visas that expire before the new route is implemented in summer 2021 will not be eligible.
  • Global talent visa – A new fast-track visa for the scientific community (STEM subjects) and their dependents (spouses/partners and children) will be introduced and will be part of the existing Tier 1 visa route. The visa will be for 3 years, during this period the Applicant(s) can enter and leave the UK at will. Once they have completed 3 years under the scheme they will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. There will be no required minimum salary and Applicant(s) do not need to have secured a job prior to arriving in the UK.
  • Amnesty for ‘illegal immigrants’ – the Prime Minister has announced that he supports a policy of amnesty for undocumented immigrants in the UK.
  • Low skilled immigration – the government have proposed a ‘transitional route’ where all skill level workers from ‘low risk’ countries (such countries have yet to be confirmed) would be permitted to enter the UK for 12 months. This route is unclear and remains under review, it has been announced to assist sectors who rely on the EU workforce and who will require workers when we leave the EU. In the announcement it was confirmed that there would be no cap on numbers.
  • Migration Advisory Committee (the MAC), is an independent body that advises the Government on migration issues. They produced a report on the impact of EEA migration in the UK in September 2018 and they have also been commissioned to review salary thresholds and the potential implementation of an ‘Australian style points-based immigration system’ in the UK. They are due to report its findings in January 2020.
    • At present under Tier 2 visa routes, workers must be paid at least £30,000 or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job offered. The appropriate rates can be found in the SOC code.
    • MAC recommended that the existing £30,000 salary threshold should be retained for Tier 2 visas under the new immigration system. This means both non-EEA and EEA nationals would be subject to this. There has been some scrutiny of this finding and MAC has been asked to re-evaluate this and report back by January 2020.
    • The government has introduced some proposals to the Tier 2 work visa – to lower the required job classification from RQF Level 6 to RQF level 3, abolishing cap on tier 2 visa numbers, abolishing the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’ and introducing the transitional route (as mentioned above).
    • Under the points- based system, labour migrants will be selected based on their individual characteristics i.e. Qualifications, level of language, work experience and occupation. This system allows a ranking/prioritising of Applicants for job roles. This system encourages migrants to be admitted based on their qualifications rather than an employer selecting them to fulfil a certain employment role. It is therefore possible for a points based migrant to come to the UK without a guaranteed job as long as they meet the requirements. The Prime Minister has referred to the possibility of agricultural workers under the points based system – if they have a job to fill and there are a shortage of workers to fill those jobs.
  • Visitor visa – Visitor visas will continue to grant up to six months of leave in the UK. It has been mentioned that EU citizens of Member States will not be required to apply for a visit visa prior to arriving in the UK. E-gates will be used to make entry to the UK quick and easy. The UK plans on making a binding commitments for future mobility partnerships, if the EU agrees.
  • For all migrants coming to the UK, digitised permission will be required when entering and leaving the UK – this will be linked directly to their immigration status and recorded digitally. This is to make it easier for the Home Office to determine if a person has stayed beyond their permitted stay.
  • For family members – the Government do not propose to make significant changes to the existing immigration rules. These rules would apply to EEA and non-EEA nationals.
  • Life in the UK test and Language requirements – the Government will review and update the Life in the UK test and language requirements may become stricter.
  • Asylum – the UK will need to seek an agreement with the EU/individual member states, to ensure new legal framework is implemented as the UK will no longer be a signatory to the EU Dublin III Regulation. This framework will include returns agreements to return migrants to EU countries they have travelled through/have connections with and for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be reunited with family members in the UK. The government will also be looking into permitting asylum seekers to work whilst their application is being decided.
  • Resettlement schemes – the government have confirmed that the existing resettlement schemes – Gateway, Mandate, the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) will continue until 2020. From 2020 they will introduce a new global resettlement scheme which would resettle between 5,000 to 6,000 refugees in the year 2020 – 2021. This scheme would encompass the VPRS, the VCRS and Gateway Protection into one scheme. They will also be looking to introduce an emergency resettlement process to provide a faster route to resettlement when lives are at risk.


Taken from House of Commons Briefing Paper – The UK’s future immigration system dated 18 October 2019: