On 31 December 2020 we will reach the end of the ‘transition period’ following the UK’s departure from the EU.
While negotiations on the relationship from 1 January 2021 are continuing, there are some developments I wish to make you aware of now.
New points-based immigration system
On 31 December 2020, freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will end and the UK will introduce a single, global immigration system.
Under the new system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.
Apart from Irish citizens, all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who arrive in the UK for the first time from 1 January 2021 will need to secure a visa in advance, the same as other non-EEA citizens currently. If they arrive in the UK before this date, they do not need to use the new system but must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.
EU Settlement Scheme
The deadline for applying to the Scheme is 30 June 2021. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. If you are eligible, we would strongly encourage you to apply for the immigration status you will need to continue to live, work and study here in the UK.
If you are planning to travel to and from the UK between 1 January and 30 June 2021 and you have not yet secured pre-settlement or settlement under the Scheme, you should take proof of your residential address to avoid any delays at the border.
Recruiting staff from outside the UK
Guidance on how organisations act as a sponsor when recruiting staff from overseas has only just been released by the Government. Colleagues in our HR Immigration Team are working through this and revising our systems, policies and procedures. We will bring you further information on this shortly.
Skilled Worker route
The new Skilled Worker route which replaces the Tier 2 (General) route comes into effect on 1 December 2020 and although broadly the same, there are several key changes:
- A wider range of roles will be eligible for sponsorship as the minimum skills threshold will be lowered from RQF Level 6, e.g. Degree level, to Level 3, e.g. A-levels /Scottish Highers level.
- The general salary threshold will be lowered from £30,000 a year to £25,600 a year. Sponsored workers who are paid less than £25,600 may still be eligible through a combination of ‘tradeable points’.
- There will be no requirement for sponsors to undertake a Resident Labour Market Test, however, vacancies must be ‘genuine’ and meet the skill and salary thresholds.
- There will be no restriction on the period that can be spent under the Skilled Worker route.
Support and advice
As a University we recognise that this will be a challenging time for many in our campus community, particularly those from the EU or EEA who may be feeling particularly vulnerable.
Supporting staff and students will continue to be at the core of our plans and more information will be available on our webpages in the weeks to come.
HR will again be offering our EU and international staff advice sessions with a specialist immigration law firm, further details to follow.
Director of Human Resources