The UK’s new immigration rules are set into motion with the points-based post-Brexit system being launched on 1 December. From now on, most foreign citizens, the European Union nationals included, will have to apply online for a visa if they want to work in the UK from 1 January. As it was agreed early in the year, free movement with the European Union will come to an end on 31 December.
The UK officially left the EU on 31 January but it was agreed upon the transition period for 11 months, while the UK has been still largely following its rules. The two sides have just reached agreement over a trade deal on 24 December.
The UK’s new immigration system will determine who can work in the country from January of 2021. Online applications for new visa routes opened on Tuesday, 1 December.
Applications for visas will be now judged on the basis of a points system. It was mostly adapted from the one, which has been implemented in Australia for many years.
An applicant will be awarded points for a job offer in an eligible occupation area, English knowledge and a salary threshold (at least £25,600). Individuals will be required to provide proof of sufficient funds to support living in the UK and a document verifying their identity. The application cost will be somewhere around £610 – £1,408. The processing period will take about 3 weeks.
EU citizens already living in the UK by 31 December do not have to go through the new system. They can just apply for the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021.
Upon successful application, they will be granted permission to stay in the UK and will be entitled to the same benefits as UK citizens in case of unemployment.
Irish citizens do not need to apply to the scheme and can freely travel to the UK. The United Kingdom and Ireland are both part of a Common Travel Area.
Different rules apply to workers from outside the EU as well as to EU migrants arriving after the end of the transition period. For example, they will have to return to their home country if they lose their job. However, they can secure the UK indefinite leave to remain.
Applications has been opened for Global Talent, Innovator and Start-Up visas designed to attract skilled and qualified people.