Points-based immigration system opens

Applications for the new skilled worker visa opened on 1 December, meaning, Home Secretary Priti Patel said, that the brightest and the best from around the world can now apply to work in the UK from the end of the transition period (1 January 2021).

Under the new immigration system, points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English and being paid a minimum salary. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.

The Home Office believes that it will encourage employers to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce, driving productivity and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by coronavirus.

People will normally need to be paid at least £25,600 per year unless the ‘going rate’ for that job is higher. Applications are made online, and as part of this, people will need to prove their identity and provide their documents.

Ms Patel said: 'This Government promised to end free movement, to take back control of our borders and to introduce a new points-based immigration system. Today, we have delivered on that promise. This simple, effective and flexible system will ensure employers can recruit the skilled workers they need, whilst also encouraging employers to train and invest in the UK’s workforce.'

A decision will usually be provided to an applicant outside the UK within three weeks and the visa lasts for up to five years before it needs to be extended.

Applicants will need to have enough money to pay the application fee (ranging from £610 to £1408), the healthcare surcharge (usually £624 per year) and be able to support themselves (usually by having at least £1270 available).

Other routes

Alongside the skilled worker visa, a number of other routes have now opened including:

  • Global Talent visa for people who can show they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture;
  • Innovator visa for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea;
  • Start-up visa for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time; and
  • the Intra-company Transfer visa, which is for established workers who are being transferred by the business they work for to do a skilled role in the UK.
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