New Points-Based System for Immigration

The Home Office has released more detail on the new UK's Points-Based Immigration System which will be phased in from October 2020, in advance of ending free movement for EU citizens on 31 December at 11:00 British Time.

The Points-Based System will include immigration routes for students, as well as highly skilled workers, skilled workers and a range of other specialist work routes including routes for global leaders in their field and innovators.

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals

EU (alongside EEA and Swiss) citizens who arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and relevant family members, will be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under that scheme. More than 3.7 million applications have been made so far.

The Student Immigration Service offers appointments (currently offered online) to support our EU students in applying for the Settlement Scheme. The application is free, straightforward and fully digital.

We strongly encourage our EU students to apply for the Settlement Scheme as soon as possible. We also strongly recommend that incoming EU students arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 to ensure their eligibility for the Scheme. They will then have until 30 June 2021 to apply.

From January 2021, EU citizens (who do not qualify under EU Settlement Scheme or other routes protected by the Withdrawal Agreement) will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens.

EU citizens will therefore need to get a visa for all activities other than short-term visits and all EU citizens coming to the UK for more than six months will be able to prove other rights and entitlements via online services.

Most EU citizens will not need to attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to enrol their biometrics and will instead provide facial images using a smartphone self-enrolment application form.

EU students will need to apply for the new Student route if they arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020. They will not be subject to ATAS clearance.

Student route

The Student route visa will replace the current Tier 4 visa.

The new Points-Based Student route will build on the current Tier 4 system.

It is hoped that the Student Route will be more streamlined for the sponsor and for the student. Students will require a total of 70 (non-tradeable) points to be granted leave. Points will be awarded for meeting the requirements of the route, which comprise of the sponsorship requirements, English language requirements and maintenance requirements.

Students will be able to apply for permission to come to the UK six months before the start of their course.

The study time limit for students studying at a postgraduate level will also be removed, although students will still be expected to be progressing academically in their studies when making a further application in the UK.

When making further applications to remain in the UK, students will not be routinely required to submit documentary evidence of funds.

The Home Office will publish more information about the new Points-Based System later this year. We will update our webpages as soon as this is released.