Due to the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020, there will be no more free movement of people. A new immigration system came into force from January 1, 2021, and EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals are no longer permitted to move to the UK and to work without a visa. It also applies to other nationals of the European Economic Area as well as Swiss nationals, except for Irish nationals. This means that Irish people can continue working in the UK without a visa.
Clearly, this is a negative factor for EU citizens planning to move to the U.K. as well as for their employers. On the positive side, it is easier to obtain a work visa under the new system than before. Both the minimum level and the minimum salary standard are reduced. Also, the resident labor market test has been eliminated. These are positive changes for the employers who have already sponsored a large number of foreigners under Tier 2 of the previous immigration system. Below you will find some tips that you should keep in mind if you are staying or planning to stay in the United Kingdom.
The UK introduced a new points-based immigration system
All of these changes will be accompanied by continued improvements to the U.K. sponsorship system along with the operation of the U.K. border, which includes the implementation of electronic travel authorities to assure that those coming to the U.K. have permission to do so prior to travel. The former immigration system contained several visa categories. There were specific requirements that had to be fulfilled in each visa category.
As a matter of fact, the government described this new immigration system as a “points-based system”. The whole structure of the system did not change significantly in January 2021, except for the rules and terminology.
The points-based system provides skilled workers from all over the world with easy and effective arrangements so as to come to the UK using an employer-led system. There is a requirement for all applicants, both EU and non-EU nationals, to prove that they have a job opportunity offered by an approved sponsor, plus to prove that their job position matches the required skill level as well as their ability to speak English. Furthermore, in case the applicant is earning more than the minimum wage threshold, the applicant can apply.
The most qualified individuals who reach the minimum level of points will be allowed to move to the UK without having a job offer, and on the condition that a relevant and competent body approves them. This program has been expanded so as to be available to individuals who have a background in STEM subjects and who would like the opportunity to come to the UK.
When it comes to low-skilled jobs, there is no visa category. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain a visa for low-skilled jobs. It means that the only individuals who are permitted to work in low-skilled jobs are British citizens, Irish citizens, or anyone else who has been authorized to work in the UK through a different method. For example, these may be the EU citizens who already live in the UK and have been given pre-settled or settled permission under the EU Settlement Scheme.
International students and graduates
Students are covered by the points-based system. They will reach the necessary points if they can prove that they have an offer from a recognized educational institution, also their English knowledge, as well as if they manage to handle their financial obligations while studying in the UK.
If you are already in the UK
At this point, they will expect you to take all appropriate steps to leave the UK if possible or to apply in order to have your stay in the UK regularized. You are permitted to apply for visas and to have access to immigration services because they are an essential public service and will continue to function safely under local as well as national limitations.
In the event that you wanted to leave the UK but were not able to do so, plus you have a visa or leave that will expire by June 30, 2021, then you can apply to extend your stay for an extra time, which is referred to as “exceptional cover.”
If you have the intention to stay in the UK
If you want to stay in the UK, you must apply for the appropriate residence permit. As long as you are fit to apply, then you may submit a stay permit application form in the United Kingdom. Keep in mind, that you need to comply with the requirements of the specific route for which you are applying, and that you should pay the UK application fee. The conditions of your present permit will continue unchanged until a decision is made on your application. If you are transferring into a work or study route, you may be able to begin work or study while your application is being reviewed. Nevertheless, it depends on the terms of your current permit.
It is also possible for you to apply for a stay permit in the UK as long as you have obtained exceptional security. However, the application must be submitted before the expiration of your exceptional security. Considering the complexity of the immigration process, there are dedicated teams of professionals, such as optimuslaw.co.uk, who will guide you through the process, provide you with appropriate advice, and help you reach your goal.
If your visa or leave has expired
In the event that your visa or leave has expired during the period between January 24, 2020, and August 31, 2020, you will not have any negative future immigration consequences if you did not apply for regularization of your stay within that period. However, you should consider making travel arrangements to leave the UK if you failed to apply for regularization of your stay or to apply for exceptional security.
If you want to visit the UK
There is no visa requirement for EU, EEA, Swiss, and other non-visa nationals to come to the UK if they are going to stay for a period of up to 6 months. All migrants wishing to enter the UK for other reasons, such as work or study, are required to apply for entry permission in advance.
If you intend to get married in the UK
If you wish to travel to the UK to get married or to register a civil partnership you should apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa.
For those of you or your family who come from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, a Marriage Visitor Visa is not required if you arrive either on or before June 30, 2021.
Everyone that comes to the UK because of their work or study from any country in the world, except for some short-term business visitors as well as short-term students, are required to apply for a visa and pay a fee for it.
Most EU citizens are provided with an electronic visa confirming their eligibility to reside in the UK. The online verification service used by EU citizens is to prove their immigration status as well as their rights and permissions, for the purposes of accessing work and services. While non-EU citizens, even those with relatives of EU citizens, will continue to receive physical evidence of their status for now.