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New Home Office policy paper sets out further details of the forthcoming points-based immigration system


Comprehensive 130-page document covering the main economic migration routes of the post-Brexit system

Date of Publication:
13 July 2020

New Home Office policy paper sets out further details of the forthcoming points-based immigration system

13 July 2020

The Home Office has today released a new policy paper with comprehensive details of the post-Brexit points-based immigration system which will begin on 1 January 2021.

VisaYou can read the 130-page document here.

The policy paper states: "This document builds on the [February 2020] Policy Statement by providing more detail to applicants, employers and educational institutions on the draft requirements and conditions underpinning the key immigration routes in the Points-Based System. The routes described in this document cover the main economic migration routes for those wishing to apply to work or study or set up a business in the UK. It also sets out our generous provisions for visitors. It is intended to give time to prepare ahead of some of these new routes opening later this year, in advance of ending free movement for EU citizens on 31 December. Unless otherwise stated, these routes will be open by January 2021. For all other routes, such as family reunion, from January 2021 EU citizens (who do not qualify under EU Settlement Scheme or other routes protected by the Withdrawal Agreement) will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens. It is worth noting that beyond the main work and study route, most of the immigration routes will have the same requirements as they do now for non-EU citizens. EU citizens will need to get a visa for all activities other than short-term visits."

"The implementation of the Points-Based System will be phased, with further details published in due course. For those wishing to come to the UK before 1 January 2021, non-EU citizens will apply to come to the UK as they do now, and EU citizens will continue to exercise their rights under the terms of the transition arrangements which allow for continuation of freedom of movement. EU citizens who arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and relevant family members, will be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under that scheme. More than 3.7 million applications have been made so far."

The policy paper adds: "Underpinning the new system will be simplified rules and guidance. Over the years, the Immigration Rules, which set out the requirements a migrant must meet to come to or stay in the UK, have become long, complex and repetitive. The Law Commission's recent review of the Rules identified principles under which they can be redrafted to make them simpler and more accessible and fit for the future.

"The Points-Based System will be streamlined and simplified, making the best use of technology and implementing the recommendations of the Law Commission."

In a written statement to the Commons accompanying the policy paper, Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

"In 2016, and again in 2019, the British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based system that will work for the whole of the UK. The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill delivers on these votes by ending the automatic right to live and work in the UK for EU migrants from 1st January 2021.

"In February I set out the vision for a fairer, firmer, skills-led immigration system. The system will play a key part in our long-term approach to the labour market and in our response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"At a time where an increased number of people across the UK are looking for work, the new points-based system will encourage employers to invest in the domestic UK workforce, rather than simply relying on labour from abroad.

"But we are also making necessary changes, so it is simpler for employers to attract the best and brightest from around the world to come to the UK to complement the skills we already have.

"We know this new immigration system and approach to the labour market will mean changes in the way businesses operate and recruit. Today I am laying before the House a command paper (CP 258) providing further detail on the points-based system, covering the main economic migration routes for those wishing to work or study or set up a business in the UK, to help both employers and applicants prepare and adapt for the changes ahead. Copies will be available from the Vote Office.

"It will be simpler for businesses to access the talent they need as we have removed the Resident Labour Market Test, lowered the skills and salary threshold, and removed the cap on skilled workers.

"The skilled worker route gives employers flexibility by allowing applicants to trade points if they have relevant qualifications or work in a shortage occupation. We have commissioned our independent migration experts to produce a shortage occupation list, so that the Government can work with sectors to fill roles quickly where shortages may occur.

"We will be introducing a new-fast track Health and Care Visa. This will make it easier and quicker for talented global health professionals to work in our brilliant NHS and in eligible occupations in the social care sector. The visa fee will be reduced and health professionals applying can expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment. We will exempt frontline workers in the health and social care sector and wider health workers from the requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

"Our Global Talent route launched earlier in the year encourages highly skilled individuals to come to the UK and provides a fast track route for top scientists and researchers.

"To ensure our world-leading education sector remains competitive in a changing global market, we are refining the student route and launching a Graduate route in Summer 2021. The student route will be streamlined for sponsoring institutions and applicants, and the graduate route will help retain the brightest and the best students to contribute to the UK post-study.

"Our new system sends a message to the whole world that Britain is open for business, but on our terms."