Last reviewed 15 April 2020

UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office) has issued information to help employers prepare for the UK’s new points-based immigration system which is planned for 1 January 2021 when the UK leaves the EU and free movement will end.

Available at GOV.UK, the new guide covers a range of issues including what will happen to EU citizens already living in the UK and how to define “skilled workers”.

The guidance includes some skilled worker case studies such as:

  • a graphic designer coming to the UK under the new points-based system earning £23,000

  • a production manager coming to the UK under the new points-based system earning £28,000.

It also explains how to become an improved sponsor and advises employers not currently approved by the Home Office to consider applying now if they think they will want to sponsor skilled migrants, including from the EU, from early 2021.

Details are also provided of the fees and the visa process.

The decision to make the guide available has been criticised by REC (the Recruitment and Employment Confederation) with Director of Policy and Campaigns Tom Hadley arguing that this is not the right time “to plough on” with immigration reforms.

“The national effort needs to be focused on eliminating coronavirus, protecting jobs and getting the economy back on track,” he insists. “The country will recover from this pandemic — and ensuring businesses have the skills they need in future will be essential to the recovery.”

Mr Hadley points out that the coronavirus crisis is showing how much the country depends on people at all skill levels, from carers and cleaners to retail workers and drivers.

“We need a temporary immigration route to meet the needs of businesses in every sector of the economy,” he concludes. “Post-Brexit and post-virus, this will help businesses succeed and support job and growth here in the UK.”

Comment by Croner Associate Director Paul Holcroft

With the coronavirus dominating the news right now, Brexit may almost seem like a distant memory. However, the Government remains committed to proceeding as planned, meaning the new points-based system should still be prepared for ahead of its introduction on 1 January 2021.

To this end, employers should keep up to date on all information coming from the Government as 2020 goes on and follow the information outlined here if applicable.