Last week, legislation was laid in Parliament which sets out a number of changes to the Immigration Rules. The policy paper behind this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc-813-22-october-2020.
The Government says that these changes provide the foundation for the UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System, which will apply from 1 January 2021 when hiring anyone from outside the UK’s resident labour market (except Irish citizens). They build upon the measures already outlined in the policy statements published by the Government in February and July 2020.
In addition, the new Student and Child Student routes are now live at https://www.gov.uk/student-visa - these opened on 5th October.
The Skilled Worker Route will open for applications from 1st December 2020 In order to recruit overseas workers through the Skilled Worker Route, you must be registered as a licensed sponsor. Getting a licence normally takes around 8 weeks and fees apply and you can find all the information you need, at www.GOV.UK/HiringFromTheEU.
The new system will not apply to EU employees already working for you in the UK. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31st December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme - those eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply by 30th June 2021.
For EU, EEA and Swiss citizens this represents the end of free movement and the introduction of a Points-Based Immigration System is a big change for this group of citizens. There is a range of introductory guides for those planning to enter the UK from 1st January 2021 available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employers-and-eu-citizens and individual country pages at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-information-for-eu-citizens with translated information across 24 EU languages.
Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland arriving in the UK on or before 31st December who wish to work, study or visit the UK should not apply through the Points-Based Immigration System. However, if they want to stay in the UK after 30th June 2021 they should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme upon arrival in the UK.
Further information for employers on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, covering right to work checks, the EU Settlement Scheme and the UK’s new immigration system can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-eu-citizens-in-the-uk.
Finally, more information can be found in the Written Ministerial Statement: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/#written-statements.