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Points-based immigration going ahead despite Covid-19 disruption

View profile for Gillian Markland
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Points-based immigration going ahead despite Covid-19 disruption

According to a recent Home Office update, the new points-based immigration system due to take effect from January 2021 is not on the back-burner with the Covid-19 pandemic, but set to go ahead as planned.  The new system will apply to EU and non-EU nationals. 

The new system will mean that migrants pursuing the skilled worker route will need 70 points to be eligible to make a visa application.

In summary, the requirements are that:-

  • The migrant has a valid job offer;
  • The job is at the appropriate skill level;
  • The migrant can fulfil the English language requirement; and
  • The migrant can meet the minimum salary threshold (which varies depending upon occupation).

The lowest skill level required is the equivalent of A-levels, and the government has held firm on providing no easy entry route for lower-skilled occupations, such as care workers and farm labourers.  The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the clear shortage of workers in some of those occupations, particularly in agriculture, and it is yet to be seen whether these types of role make it onto the Shortage Occupation List.  However, even if they do, the high visa costs may deter employers from using this exception to fill such roles.

Of course, with the current crisis dominating our thoughts at present, changes coming into play early next year are unlikely to be an immediate priority for employers.  However, businesses that do want to recruit from outside of the UK labour force would be well advised to begin forward-planning for business continuity from January 2021 and to consider applying for a sponsor licence before the end of 2020.

For further more detailed information, see the policy statement on the gov.uk website.

The employment team at Harrowells is available to assist with your employment law queries and can be contacted as normal via email or telephone.

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