What does the UK's new point-based immigration system mean for European nationals?

Brexit: the UK made the historic decision to leave the European Union (EU) in January 2020 and a new Points Based System of Immigration was launched from the start of this year.

Free movement of people between the UK and the EU ended on 31st December 2020.This means, starting Jan 2021, (EU) citizens will be treated the same way as the othernon-UK nationals. Under the new Points-Based immigration system therefore, the Skilled Worker Visa (previously Tier 2 General) becomes the main immigration route for all non-UK nationals who want to live and work in the UK.

What is a points-based immigration system?
Under the UK Points-Based immigration system,points will be assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. Visas will then be awarded to those based on them gaining the necessary number of points.

What does the point-based immigration system mean for you if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen?

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national and you already livein the UK, you have until the end of June to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This scheme will assess whether you have been here for less than or more than 5 years. If it is less than 5 years, you will be granted Pre-Settled Status and if 5 years or more, you will be granted Settled Status.

If you are not already living in the UK, then you will now need to apply for a work visa to come and live and work here.

What does this mean?
For employers: If you employ EU nationals in your UK business, you will need to keep not only a copy of their passport or national registration card but also their EU Settlement Scheme confirmation letter, which shows if they are Unsettled or Settled.

Also, any employers with EU nationals already working for them must check that they have all applied to the EU Settlement Scheme – they only have until 30th June 2021.

If the employer wishes to recruit EU nationals in the future, they must first apply for a Sponsor License from the Home Office, and then, once granted, they can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to a potential EU employee, so that the employee can apply for a Skilled Worker visa, which will entitle them to come to the UK to live and work.

If you are an Irish Citizen
Irish citizens will generally not require permission to come to the UK, and will not need to apply under the new points-based immigration system. Free movement in and out of the UK will be maintained.

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