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January 7, 2021

New Immigration Rules for Skilled Workers

Freedom of movement to the UK ended on 31st December 2020. From 1st January 2021, new immigration rules for skilled workers coming into the UK from within the European Union (EU) and outside it, apply. The UK has introduced a point-based system that treats both EU citizens and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can offer expertise and skills that will contribute towards the UK economy.

Visa Application Process

You can apply and pay for your visa online at the gov.uk website. You will be asked to provide your biometric data, as follows:

  • EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals – you will need to provide a digital photograph of your face using a smartphone App. You will not be asked to provide fingerprints. For some routes, you will need to visit an overseas visa application centre to have your photograph taken.
  • Non-EU citizens – You will need to visit an overseas visa application centre to have your photograph and fingerprints taken.

Skilled Workers

The points-based system provides a route for skilled workers who have the offer of employment from an approved employee sponsor. The position offered will need to:

  • Be equivalent in skill level to a UK ‘A’ Level (RQF3, or above)
  • Have a relevant salary threshold, which is either the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the going rate for the role, whichever is the greater.

You will also need to demonstrate you can speak English to a prescribed level. If you are going to earn less than the salary threshold, providing it is not lower than £20,480, you may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points against your salary on specific characteristics. For example, if you have an offer in a shortage occupation or hold a qualification relevant to the role being offered.

What sort of jobs qualify for a skilled worker visa?

Under the new immigration rules, the following types of skilled worker may apply:

IT support technicians, electricians and plumbers, office managers and sales executives, shopkeepers, estate agents, ticket inspectors, chefs, gardeners, fitness instructors, teaching assistants and childminders can apply.

Please note this list is not exhaustive, and you should consult the gov.uk website for a full list.

Junior office positions such as, administrative assistants, receptionists and cashiers, or staff including hairdressers, waiters, and retail assistants will not qualify for a skilled worker visa.

There is no visa category for low-skilled workers, so it is important to ensure your employer sponsor appropriately matches your job to the government’s SOC codes. Failure to do so could cause your offer of employment being withdrawn.

How long will the process take?

Depending on the situation, the skilled worker visa process can take as little as two weeks. The target processing time for a certificate of sponsorship is 24 hours. You may also be required to take English language and/or tuberculosis tests.

Then you will need to submit an online application and book a biometric appointment at a UK visa application centre. EU citizens will not be required to attend a visa application centre. Instead, they will provide facial images using an app.

The target processing time following receipt of biometric data differs depending upon the type of service you opt for. It is three weeks if you use the standard service, five working days using the priority service, or the next working day using the super-priority service.

 

LONDON IMMIGRATION ADVISERS – UK Visas

Mann’s Solutions is international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong and Moscow and has expertise in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration advisers regulated by OISC.

For further information about new Immigration Rules for Skilled Workers and to find more about UK Immigration System Latest Changes, as well as discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration advisers in London Office, please contact us at enquiries@manns-solutions.com or call +44 207 993 63 46.