UK’s new immigration system to come into force from January 1

Now, anyone who wishes to live and work in the UK would need to acquire 70 points to be eligible for a visa as announced by the Home Office on July 13.

(Photo for representation)

As the UK exits EU by the end of the year, new immigration rules become applicable from the January 1, 2021 where equal weightage will be given to EU or non-EU applicants unlike before when EU citizens had access to free movement.

Now, anyone who wishes to live and work in the UK would need to acquire 70 points to be eligible for a visa as announced by the Home Office on July 13.

Indian-origin Home Secretary of UK, Priti Patel said, “The British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system. Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021. Britain is open for business and ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent.”

The government said, “Under a points-based immigration system, points are assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries and shortage occupations. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.”

What does it mean?

>> Job offer must to come to the UK.

>> The applicant must have a job that pays more than £20,480 and is sponsored by Home-Office approved employer.

>> They must speak English to an acceptable standard.

>> More points can be given for skills that are in shortage or those with higher salary offer or having a PhD.

No route for unskilled work.

Prominent UK Immigration Solicitor Hasil Makkar said, “This is a significant announcement by the government and will make it easier for those with the most talent and potential to come to the UK to further their careers and at the same time make valuable contribution to Great Britain.”

Separate route for students?

There are separate routes for students, dependent family members or recent graduates.

Regardless of the nationality, the government under its new graduate route opening in Summer of 2021 which, “will allow international students to stay in the UK once they have successfully completed their studies – students who have completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay for 2 years and those who have completed PhD can stay for 3 years, making it easier for some of the best, international graduates to secure skilled jobs in the UK and contribute to the UK’s economic growth.”

Responding to this Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said, “It’s thanks to the world-class talent at our disposal that universities from all four nations of the UK have helped to lead the fightback against Covid-19. By broadening opportunity and boosting competitiveness, the Graduate and Global Talent visas are key to ensuring that the UK remains a world leading environment for research and innovation and that our universities continue to bring together the brightest and best minds from around the world.”

Application fees?

Workers with skilled background applying from outside of the UK would need to pay £610 for their visa application fee or £1,220 if it involves stay of more than three years.

In case of applying for visas that come under the shortage of skills category the fees will fall to £464 or £928 for stays over three years.

An Immigration Health Surcharge too is applicable for the use of NHS, which is £624 per year.

The companies employing the applicant must also pay an “immigration skills charge” of £1,000 per worker per year.

Charities and small or medium business would get a discounted rate of NHS surcharge at £364 per year

NHS workers?

Provision for a fast track entry health and care visa now with a discount on the £610 standard visa application fee will be opened.

“Fast track visa for health professionals,” was PM Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patels’ election promise.

In addition, as a result of massive campaigning from doctor groups and unions the applicant and immediate family the new point-based systems allows for applicant or their immediate family won’t have to pay the Immigration NHS surcharge.

Applicants though exempt from meeting the “bonus tradeable requirement of salary requirement,” must still meet the basic requirements for skilled workers as specified.

Those applying under health and care visa though can earn 20 extra points even if the job that they are applying for only pays £20,480 but for this they need to be on the list of “health occupations,” that includes dentists, physical medicine, physiotherapists, ophthalmic opticians, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, social workers and so on.

FICCI has welcomed the new points-based immigration system announced by the UK Home Secretary as it opens up the UK for business and ready to accept global talent. Baroness Prashar, Chairperson, FICCI UK Council said “The new system will benefit Indian Companies and employees doing business in the UK. It is equitable and will provide level playing field to EU and non-EU citizens seeking assignments and skilled jobs in the UK.”

On the healthcare and student’s initiative that Indian contributes greatly to Baroness Prashar further added, “The fast-track healthcare visa is a welcome initiative. The graduate route will help retain the brightest and best students to contribute to the UK. The Start-up and Innovator routes will attract Indian entrepreneurial talent and scalable business ideas to the UK. It will also encourage innovation. Access to highly skilled talent is critical especially for India’s service sector which generates substantial number of jobs in the UK. It will also benefit sectors like IT, financial services amongst others.” she added.

Rules for visitors visa pretty much remain the same. Usually granted for six months with provision for multiple entries.

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