What is the points-based system?
- Free movement between the EU and the UK ends on 31 December. From 1 January the new UK points-based immigration system will allow the UK to attract the brightest and best talent from around the world.
- Those wanting to come into the UK to work from 1 January 2021 will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, if they speak English, and for meeting the appropriate salary threshold. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.
What routes are being launched on 1 December?
A number of routes will open on 1 December 2020 ahead of free movement ending:
- Skilled worker - The Skilled Worker route is for employers to recruit people to work in the UK in a specific job. A Skilled Worker must have a job offer in an eligible skilled occupation from a Home Office-approved sponsor.
- Intra-Company Transfer - The Intra-Company Transfer route is for established workers who are being transferred by the business they work for to do a skilled role in the UK.
- Graduate ICT - The Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route is for workers who are being transferred by the business they work for to undertake a role in the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme.
- Global Talent - The Global Talent route is for people aged 18 or over in the field of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture who can show they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise.
- Innovator - The Innovator route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea they have generated, or to which they have significantly contributed. The application must be supported by an endorsing body.
- Start-up - The Start-up route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. The person must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body approved by the Home Office.
- PBS child dependent and PBS partner dependent – Routes for persons seeking to come to the UK as a dependent partner or dependent child of a Skilled Worker
Detailed information on the routes are available here.
Skilled Worker Route
To be applicable for the skilled work visa, applicants must obtain 70 points
Applicants must meet the following mandatory criteria in addition to passing the relevant UK criminality checks:
- the applicant must have an offer of a job from a licensed sponsor;
- the job must be at or above the minimum skill level: RQF3 level or equivalent (Alevel or equivalent qualification). Workers will not need to hold a formal qualification. It is the skill level of the job they will be doing which is important
- the applicant must speak English to an acceptable standard
Meeting this criteria will give people 50 points.
A further 20 points must be obtained through “tradeable” points through a combination of points for their salary, a job in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD.
How to obtain 70 points
|Offer of job by approved sponsor||Mandatory||20|
|Job at appropriate skill level||Mandatory||20|
|Speaks English at required level||Mandatory||10|
|Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||Tradeable||0|
|Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||Tradeable||10|
|Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||Tradeable||20|
|Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee||Tradeable||20|
|Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job||Tradeable||10|
|Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job||Tradeable||20|
Skilled workers will have the right to bring dependants. Dependants are spouses, partners and children (below the age of 18 at point of entry) and their application is linked to that of the main applicant.
Applicants must be endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the Home Office. Individuals can apply to one of the following endorsing bodies who will verify their expertise before they can apply for a visa:
- The Royal Society, for science and medicine;
- The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering;
- The British Academy, for humanities;
- UK Research and Innovation, for science and research;
- Tech Nation, for digital technology;
- Arts Council England, for arts and culture.
Once endorsed, subject to criminality and immigration checks, migrants are given a highly flexible permission, enabling them to work for employers or be self-employed; change jobs without informing the Home Office; travel abroad and return to the UK for research purposes; and bring dependants with them.
Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Intra-Company Transfer
The route will require applicants to be in roles skilled to RQF6, and subject to a different minimum salary threshold from the main Skilled Worker route. It will not be subject to English language requirements but will be subject to a requirement that the worker has been employed by the sending business for a minimum period prior to the transfer (12 months in the case of intra-company transfers or three months in the case of intra-company graduate trainees).
- have been employed by the sending business for at least 12 months prior to date of transfer (three months in the case of Graduate Trainees)
- meet minimum salary requirement (currently £41,500)
- meet “cooling off” requirement
The Start-up route is for those setting up a business for the first time, who need to work to support themselves while developing their business ideas. Applicants can be individuals or teams. Each applicant must have the support of an approved Endorsing Body. Endorsing Bodies are either Higher Education Providers or business organisations who have a track record of supporting UK based entrepreneurs and the support of a Government Department. Endorsing Bodies assess each application to ensure it is innovative, viable and scalable, and are responsible for monitoring the progress of the businesses they endorse.
The Innovator route is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding, who can dedicate their working time to their business ventures, or those moving from Start-up who are progressing their business. Applicants can be individuals or teams. Like the start up route, each applicant must have the support of an approved Endorsing Body.
What routes were previously opened?
Health and Care visa – Was opened on August 4 and is a fast-track visa route for eligible health and care professionals.
Student and Child student - Was opened on October 5 to allow eligible international students to study in the UK.