From education to employment

New points-based immigration system expands threshold for skilled workers, from degree level 6 to level 3

Home Secretary @PritiPatel sent a clear message to the world today that Britain is ready to welcome the best and brightest global #talent when the transition period comes to an end, as further detail on UK’s future immigration system are released.

Today (13 Jul), the Home Office released more detail on the UK’s points-based immigration system which will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

The new system will treat people from every part of the world equally, give us control of our borders, and help deliver a thriving economy for years to come.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel said:

The British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system.

Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021.

Britain is open for business and ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent.

The further detail will give employers the time to prepare and the new immigration system will be implemented in phases to ensure smooth delivery. Several new, simplified immigration routes will be opened including:

  • a new Health and Care Visa for key health professionals will make it easier and cheaper for health professionals to work in the UK, ensuring the NHS has continued access to the top global talent

  • a new graduate route opening in Summer 2021 will allow international students to stay in the UK once they have successfully completed their studies – students who have completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay for 2 years and those who have completed PhD can stay for 3 years, making it easier for some of the best, international graduates to secure skilled jobs in the UK and contribute to the UK’s economic growth

Under the new system a number of existing routes will be opened to anyone, regardless of nationality.

The Global Talent Scheme allows highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer and the student route will ensure our world-leading universities can continue to welcome the talented and high potential students to our globally renowned institutions.

The new system will also require those applying via the skilled worker route to accrue points by meeting a number of relevant criteria, such as have a job offer at the appropriate skill level, the ability to speak English and meeting the salary threshold.

The new points-based system will also expand the skills threshold for skilled workers. An applicant’s job must be at the minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent, rather than degree level under the current system. This will provide greater flexibility and ensure UK business has access to a wide pool of skilled workers.

Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said:

It’s thanks to the world-class talent at our disposal that universities from all four nations of the UK have helped to lead the fightback against Covid-19.

By broadening opportunity and boosting competitiveness, the Graduate and Global Talent visas are key to ensuring that the UK remains a world leading environment for research and innovation and that our universities continue to bring together the brightest and best minds from around the world.

CITB Strategy and Policy Director Steve Radley, said:

This announcement gives real assurance to employers that migrant workers will be able to work in construction if they have the necessary skills, but do not hold a formal qualification.

The inclusion of key construction roles as part of the new skilled worker route is also welcome.

Construction employers need clarity on how they will be able to effectively access skilled workers through the new system from January, while the industry develops a home-grown workforce.

There will remain a continued need for access to migrant workers to bridge any emerging skills gaps that could impact on recovery.

Chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) UK India Business Forum, Mr Jim Bligh said:

Indian businesses welcome the UK’s new points-based immigration. It’s positive that the UK is seeking to attract highly-skilled nationals from across the world, regardless of nationality.

Across all sectors, Indian businesses bring in highly skilled nationals from around the world to help UK plc grow and compete. From high tech to haute cuisine, engineering to drug design, a smooth, skills-focused immigration system should help Indian companies across the economy to flourish in Britain in the years ahead.

Those EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can still apply to settle in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021.

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