UK’S NEW POINTS BASED VISA SYSTEM INTENDS TO ATTRACT TOP GLOBAL SKILLS
A new Point Based Visa System for UK immigration was announced by The Secretary of State for the Home Department in July 2020. This is set to prepare the United Kingdom for the freedom of movement between the EU and the UK The system will be smooth and efficient to ensure the UK can meet the shortage of skilled workers. The immigration Bill to pass this passage is currently pending in Parliament.
Likewise to non-EU citizens, from 1st January 2021 EU citizens will also need to apply for a visa. This is a sharp change to the previous conditions which allowed freedom of movement to EU Citizens and Citizens of European Economic Area.
The new Point Based System will replace the current Tiers (1, 2, 4 and 5) with the select Visa categories listed below:
- Global Talent Visas
- Skilled Worker Visas
- Visas for Highly Skilled Workers
- Student Visas
- Youth Mobility Visas.
Proposals for some very significant changes will be made under this new Point Based System. For example, people under Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer will now be eligible to switch to a Skilled Worker Visa if they are successful in scoring the necessary points under the new scheme.
While Manak Solicitors endeavour to provide relevant provisions of various visa schemes, these are for information purposes only and should only be considered as immigration rules. All applications will be considered by UKVI, Home Office and UK Embassies based on the rules applicable on the date of application.
UK IMMIGRATION GLOSSARY FOR NEW POINTS BASED SYSTEM:
The following key terms are explained in the context of the immigration routes under the new immigration and visa systems for the UK:
A demonstrated knowledge of English language is currently needed by many visa routes, and also required by a number of immigration routes under the new Point Based System. Applicants will also need to demonstrate that their English Language ability is adequate for them to integrate well into the UK. The required level of English language ability is set as applicable for each route based on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages.
Immigration Skills Charge
This charge is paid by a UK employer for each skilled migrant worker they employ through the Skilled Worker and Intra-Company Transfer routes. Currently, small and non-profit sponsors are required to pay £364 for the initial 12 months and then £182 for each additional 6 months. Medium and larger sponsors are required to pay £1,000 for first 12 months and then £500 for each additional 6 months.
Immigration Health Surcharge
This is a charge of £400 per person per year including all dependants. It is paid upfront by the applicant for the duration of their stay, and enables free access to NHS services on a similar scale to a British citizen.
Migrants heading to the UK from overseas must be able to verify that they have adequate funds to support themselves and their families whilst residing in the UK. This is known as the Maintenance Requirement.
Visa applicants will generally be required to provide biometrics which are obtained during the application process. Biometrics are necessary for applicants from both outside the UK as well as within the UK.
A capped route means that there is no limit to the number of migrants entering the UK each year on that route. An uncapped route means there is no limit.
Switching – routes
This refers to a migrant’s ability to remain in the UK on an alternative immigration route, yet not having to leave the UK and apply from overseas. If the answer is ‘yes’, there will still be select routes that a migrant cannot switch from such as a visitor or short-term visa.
This means that a successful applicant is able to stay within the UK without the need for any immigration restrictions. Settlement is also considered as indefinite leave to enter or remain. An immigrant’s stay in the UK under certain routes is attributed towards qualifying periods which may support future Settlement. Your stay under other routes however will not count towards Settlement.
Dependants of migrants include partners, spouses and children (under the age of 18). In some circumstances, other family members can also be considered as dependants. Some routes will allow migrants to sponsor their dependants.
Access to public funds
Migrants are generally only able to access public funds such as benefits once they obtain settlement. However, there are some exceptions which can be found in detail on the gov.uk website.
Supplementary work is when a migrant (whose permission to be in the UK is based) is employed in addition to their primary source of work or study. Some routes do not allow supplementary work, however for the routes that do, certain restrictions will apply.
TIER 1, TIER 2, TIER 4 AND TIER 5 CATEGORIES INCLUDED IN OLD POINTS BASED VISA SYSTEM FOR UK
The UK Government announced a tiered Points Based Visa system for UK Immigration. This was introduced in a phased manner from 2008 to 2010. Tier 1 is for individuals who are of high net worth and highly skilled, Tier 2 is for skilled migrant workers, Tier 4 is for students and Tier 5 is for temporary workers who anticipate coming to the UK full time.
Some of these visas will entitle individuals to Settlement or Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK, eventually leading to British Citizenship. The rest of the visas however do not allow permanent Settlement in the UK, and will therefore require migrants to leave the UK before their visa or Leave To Remain expires. However, an extension can be applied for until qualification for Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settlement in the UK is acquired.
Included in the categories of Tier 1 Visas are:
- Tier 1 General (now closed for new applications)
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Scheme
- Tier 1 Investor Scheme
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Scheme
- Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs scheme
The launch of a Tier 1 (Investors), Tier 1 (Entrepreneurs) and Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Visa Schemes have also been announced by the UK Home Office. These new schemes are considered the top level immigration visas.
An individuals eligibility to the Tier 1 Visa Scheme depends on their skills set, experience, investment capacity, and UK higher education achievements (i.e Bachelor’s degree or above). Unlike employer sponsorships, no sponsorship is needed for this scheme.
For those looking to continue their stay in the UK after completion of their studies, the Home Office have now introduced a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme and a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Scheme. These schemes have replaced the previous Tier 1 Post Study Work scheme which has now closed.
A future aspiration for some post graduates may be to apply for British Citizenship. We are able to assist you with this process through an initial Indefinite Leave To Remain application, which will lead to future UK Residency or Settlement. British Citizenship can then be applied for once you have resided in the UK for 12 continuous months under Indefinite Leave To Remain without any immigration constraints.
It is important to be aware that the UK Home Office has raised the Civil Penalties to £20,000 per Illegal Employee who fails to adhere to the required work eligibility checks and a stringent HR system. We therefore offer Immigration Audit services to all UK Employers and Sponsors in order to meet the Prevention of Illegal Working requirements and avoid such penalties.
We endeavour to work towards saving our clients time, trouble and money by pro-actively searching for the information and services required. To find out how we can help you, contact us today and we will be happy to arrange an appointment to discuss your needs further.
POINT REQUIREMENTS FOR UK VISA ELIGIBILITY UNDER PBS SYSTEM:
As announced by the UK Government, the new points based immigration system means that anyone coming to the UK for work or higher studies are only eligible if they meet a specific set of requirements, whereby they will then score points.
UK employers and education sponsors will also benefit from the Points Based Visa System as it will provide them with a clearer understanding of the visa eligibility requirements.
After the careful consideration of other aspects relating to an individual’s eligibility to enter the UK, visas will only be allocated to those who gain enough points.
Below you will find all the Visa Routes included within the new Points Based System:
Skilled worker route
All applicants that fall under the Skilled Worker Route must score points under mandatory criteria as well as under tradable points to qualify for the route.
For the skilled worker route the applicant will need to score 50 mandatory points and 20 tradable points to score total 70 points.
An English Language requirement is also necessary, along with a Tuberculosis (TB) test (where applicable), and criminality checks.
Health & Care Visas
In order to meet the shortage of frontline healthcare professionals, the UK Government announced a new Health and Care visa category.
To qualify for this visa you must fall into the category of either a qualified medical doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional.
You are required to score the same amount of points as a skilled worker, and also must be sponsored by a UK employer who has a valid sponsor or licence in order to work in an eligible health or social care job.
Global Talent Visa
This is a UK immigration route for individuals who are talented professionals or highly skilled. They must be able to demonstrate that they are global leaders in their field, be it science, humanities, engineering, digital technology or the creative arts. An international award or a national award recognised nationally or internationally is required to exemplify that they have peer endorsement.
Once your application for endorsement is approved, you are entitled to 70 points which is the total amount required for eligibility under the Global Talent scheme.
Highly Skilled Workers
In early 2021 the UK Government announced that a new Highly Skilled Visa will be launched. This will allow eligible migrants to reside in the UK without the need for any sponsorship requirements from UK employers.
A start-up visa is for entrepreneurs intending to set up an innovative business in the UK for the first time.
Innovator visa is created for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding to set up an innovative business in the UK.
This is a new points based route for students coming to study in the UK. The route has replaced the previous Tier 4 Student Visas for the UK since October 2020.
70 points are required in order to be eligible for a UK Student Visa.
You may be suitable for the Graduate Visa if you are currently in the UK under the Tier 4 Visa or started your studies in 2021 and go on to successfully complete your degree.
Manak Solicitors will be happy to help you with any of the above visa applications. We can assist you right from assessing your eligibility for the UK immigration up to applying for British Citizenship.
FAQS FOR NEW POINTS BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM UK:
- WHAT IS NEW POINTS BASED SYSTEM FOR UK IMMIGRATION?
This new system was announced by the UK Government for the post Brexit era commencing on 1st January 2021. New immigration rules will mean that the EU/ EEA Citizens hoping to come to the UK will be required to meet the same conditions as non-EEA migrants. The new Points Based System will replace the current system comprising of Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5.
2. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIER 2 WORK VISAS AND NEW SKILLED WORKER VISAS?
The new skilled worker visas will replace the current Tier 2 work visas. This new system will be more versatile. The main differences will include:
Tier 2 Visas UK:
You cannot switch from Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer to Tier 2 General under the current scheme. Please note however that Tier 2 General has an annual cap which limits the number of migrants under this route.
Skilled Worker Visas UK:
If you are under Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer currently you will be able to switch to Skilled Worker Visa. These visas will not have annual cap