Brexit: how businesses will be impacted by the UK’s new points-based immigration system
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  3. Brexit: how businesses will be impacted by the UK’s new points-based immigration system

With the Coronavirus at the front of most business owners’ minds, it’s been difficult to concentrate on anything else – never mind Brexit.

But come January 1st, 2021 there will be numerous changes in the UK, including the end of free movement in the EU, as we slowly transition away from our European neighbours.

This change will see a new UK points-based immigration system, and whilst the guidance is yet to be finalised until later this year, the Government did release a statement in July 2020 that includes various details about the requirements of the points-based system including salary, skills thresholds for skilled workers and a route for students and graduates.

This statement gives businesses more information on how to prepare for January to ensure a seamless changeover. To give you a head-start we’ve listed a few points for you to consider and plan for prior to the switch…

1. Understand the new UK points-based immigration system

Before delving into any sort of planning, it’s important you fully understand the points-based system.

The UK Government plans to create a system that takes into account language and skills prior to awarding a visa. To first be considered, candidates must speak fluent English and have a job offer from an “approved employer” at an “appropriate skill level”.

This situation would award an individual 50 points, but they would still require a further 20 to achieve the required 70 points. The most straightforward way to get an additional 20 points is to earn over £25,600 or have a PhD qualification in a STEM subject.

You can see a list of the full criteria below:

(source: gov.UK policy paper: The UK’s points-based immigration system: policy statement)

Healthcare workers such as Doctors and Nurses would also be considered on a fast track health and care visa and be granted access to work in the UK in under 3 weeks.

Lastly, it was recently announced that international graduates with a valid UK immigration status as a student, that have successfully completed a course at undergraduate level or above from an improved UK higher education provider will be eligible for a 2-year post-study work visa.

2. Check settle and sponsor status of all your employees

If you plan on hiring European workers in the future it’s best you start the process of securing a Home Office-approved sponsor licence now, as the government anticipates thousands of applications in the coming months. A tier 2 license will be required for both EU and Non-EA nationals from 1st of January 2020.

In your current workforce, you should also check that your EU workers have or are in the process of obtaining settled status, so they are allowed to stay in the UK after 1st January 2021. It might be worth your business offering help to those who haven’t applied yet, as they must do so by 30 June 2021 to ensure there are no complications in them being allowed to stay in the UK.

3. Start planning if you employ low-skilled workers and self-employed

If you own an accountancy or law firm you might not be impacted by low-skilled workers coming into the UK, although, it’s worth noting that the Visa process will be much longer and harder so make sure to plan for extra time doing this.

In the hospitality, construction and agriculture sectors, however, having access to less low-skilled workers could significantly impact your business operations and have cost implications. Again, plan ahead, and make sure you are best prepared for 1st January 2021.

The same goes for self-employed workers. There is limited guidance for those who are self-employed and currently, the government says these individuals could still enter the UK under the ‘innovator rule’. But this may well change in the future.

4. Plan your budget

Lastly, as mentioned above, the new Visa process will be more onerous than before, and for your HR team, the admin duties will increase with more reporting and record keeping. And from a cost point of view to fund a Tier two visa it will cost in the region of £8,000 for five years.

So, think a year ahead, and account for any of the above when employing new European hires in 2021.

citrus HR and Brexit

Here at citrus HR we’ve been busy behind the scenes making sure we’re ready to help businesses like yours navigate the post-Brexit HR and employment law landscape, whatever the outcome.

We can help with:

  • advising you on any transitional provisions with regards to European employees
  • ensuring you know what documents to check when employing European nationals in the future to establish the right to work in the UK
  • signposting you to any worker registration schemes that may be established
  • any changes to the documents that you will need to check

Why not give us a call on 0333 014 3888 or email on to find out all the ways we can help your business with our friendly expert HR Support.

The content of this blog is for general information only. Please don’t rely on it as legal or other professional advice as that is not what we intend. You can find more detail on this in our Terms of Website Use. If you require professional advice, please get in touch.

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