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New immigration Rules


The UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) came to an end on Friday 31 January 2020 and under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK entered a transition period during which EU law continues to apply to the UK. The transition period is due to last until 11pm on Thursday 31 December 2020. Whilst it is easy to suffer from “Brexit fatigue”, 31 December is a significant date for employers as it is when the UK’s new points-based system comes into effect. These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended.

For UK employers, the impact of the reforms cannot be understated. The new system will drive fundamental changes in how the UK’s  workforce needs are met across all different sectors and skill levels. It will also dramatically change how EU nationals are employed.  

The changes will affect anyone coming to the UK from 2021 to work.  The most significant change relates to the end of free movement, meaning that EEA and Swiss citizens will be subject to immigration control. From the 1st January 2021 both EU and non-EU migrants must attain the required points and apply for the relevant visa under the new immigration system, to be able to live and work in the UK.

Under the new plans, the definition of skilled workers is being expanded with the skill level being reduced from level 6 (graduate level) to level 3 (A-level). The minimum salary threshold for skilled workers will also be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600 or the “going rate” for the role. In light of the changes to the definition and scope of skilled workers, we are finding that employers have a lot to think about when considering their future hiring needs. Unfortunately, time is of the essence to plan ahead and get to grips with the new rules, as we fast approach the deadline of 1 January 2021.

talent. From 1 January 2021 work visa applicants will need a minimum of 70 points, from a combination of mandatory and tradeable characteristics.

There are three mandatory requirements, namely

  • having an offer of a job with a sponsored employer;
  • having a job at the appropriate skill level;
  • speaking English to the required level.

These total 50 points, and applicants must then make up their points to the 70 points thresholds from the remaining characteristics; which include salary level, shortage occupation and education qualification.

A welcome change is that there will no longer be a cap on the number of skilled worker visas that can be issued to qualifying individuals.

Employers wanting to hire non-UK national workers after 1 January 2021 will need to hold a sponsorship licence. It is important for UK employers to apply as soon as possible for their licence to avoid disruption to recruitment, and to have access to global

If you are concerned about the impact of the changes on your business and its ability to meet its workforce needs from 2021, Winckworth Sherwood can help. We combine expert immigration and employment lawyers to provide advice, strategy and support across all your workforce needs.

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