Business Immigration & Brexit: A summary of what you need to know from the UK
Published on 9th Dec 2020
From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement will end and any EEA national coming to the UK for work will need a valid visa to allow them to work under the new immigration system. This does not impact EEA nationals already in the UK or those that arrive by 31 December 2020 as they are expected to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) that will allow them to continue to work and live in the UK. EEA nationals that wish to remain in the UK will need to complete the EUSS application by 30 June 2021.
The EUSS will either grant an individual pre-settled or settled status. Pre-settled status is a five-year leave which can be later switched to settled status once the individual completes five years of residence in the UK.
The challenge will of course be to determine what is "work" and what concessions can be agreed between the UK and the EU for short term activities that need to be carried out.
New UK Immigration Rules come into effect in December and January in anticipation of and preparation for the end of Freedom of Movement. The key changes are the suspension of the "immigration cap" (a significant political step) will result in there being no theoretical limit on the numbers of skilled workers who can come to the UK. In addition, Tier 2 is replaced by the new Skilled Worker route. As expected, there will be no requirement for employers to advertise roles (undertake a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)). This will remove at least four weeks from the end-to-end process for sponsoring skilled workers and save the internal management time spent posting advertisements and filtering applicants. Although the formal advertising requirement is to be removed, the UK government still expects sponsors must still be seeking to fill a genuine vacancy – roles cannot be created solely to facilitate immigration of a specific migrant to the UK. The skill threshold to qualify for a work visa is reduced from Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 6 (degree level) to RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). The minimum salary requirement is however not reduced significantly to compensate. The general salary threshold will be £25,600 or the going rate for the role, whichever is higher. Finally, there is much larger scope to make a change of visa status from inside the UK rather than apply from overseas.
You can read more in our earlier update here: