Government Proposes New Points-Based Visa System

Points Based Visas
Legally reviewed by: Sherena Lawrence In: Immigration

Could The Proposed Visa System Affect Me?

The Government has, in February 2020, revealed their plans for immigration in a post-Brexit Britain, with a point-based system that will likely bar low-skilled workers from the UK. With the potential changes introducing a more complex application, it could be more important than ever to seek specialised legal advice. Here at Cartwright King Solicitors, we can help you to make sense of where you stand.

What Does The New Plan Propose?

The new plan keeps the main requirements of the previous rules, that overseas workers having to meet the required level of spoken English and have an offer of a skilled job with an ‘approved sponsor’.

The system would work on a points-based system, with the requirement that immigrants would have to gain 70 points to be able to work in the UK. Points can be earned by:

  • Having a specific set of qualifications
  • The amount of salary
  • Working in a sector that is deemed to have shortages in the UK

This proposed system has been devised with the intention of attracting the ‘brightest and best’ workers to the UK but by forcing out foreign workers who would be looking to fill the lower-wage jobs that are available.

The proposed points system works as followed:

The mandatory requirements:

Job offer from approved sponsor – 20 points

Job at appropriate skill level – 20 points

English at required level – 10 points

The points earned for salary:

£20,480 – £23,039 – 0 points

£23,040 – £25,599 – 10 points

£25,600 or above – 20 points

Additional points that can be earned:

Job in a shortage occupation – 20 points

PhD in subject relevant to the job – 10 points

PhD in relevant STEM subject – 20 points

This new system would bring changes to the current Tier 2 work visa. The differences include:

  • The ‘required skill level’ being lowered from level 6 (degree) to level 3 (A-level).
  • The minimum salary threshold being reduced to £25,600. It will also not be the absolute minimum: some workers earning between £20,480 and £25,600 would still qualify for a visa if they are highly qualified or working in a shortage job.

Overall, this means that the new system would be more reliant on collecting points than the current one. The system currently in place claims to be points-based, but it requires fulfilling all of the specified requirements, regardless of how many points they are worth. This new system would allow for more flexibility on how those points are collected, with the possibility of making up points in another category if they are too low in another.

The visa route for ‘lower-skilled’ workers would be completely removed, with PM Boris Johnson stating that the UK ‘will need to adapt and adjust to the end of free movement [and] it is important that employers move away from a reliance on the UK’s immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention.’

Those existing EU residences are being encouraged to ensure their right to remain through the EU Settlement Scheme, in the hope that overseas workers who are already here will be able to fulfil the demand for lower-skilled jobs. Whilst the government has highlighted their expansion of a pilot scheme for agricultural workers, the 10,000 places available through this will create an imbalance between industries, with other sectors potentially suffering a huge labour shortage.

What Should I Do?

At the moment, this scheme is only proposed and is not being enforced. If you are looking to come and work in the UK, you can still apply for a Tier 2 Work Visa under the current guidelines. If you have already received a job offer from a licensed sponsor, meet the minimum salary requirement and the required English level, then we can help you to apply. Additionally, these guidelines currently only affect work visas, and family and student visas remain unchanged. If you need help applying for either of these types of visa, our experts can guide you easily through the process. Contact us today to get started with your visa application.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.