Boris Johnson’s Government has set out its plans for a new points-based immigration system to come into force at the start of 2021.
The new system aims to fulfill a major manifesto pledge of ending freedom of movement and reforming the country’s immigration policy.
In a policy statement the Government said it would be repealing laws surrounding freedom of movement and that a new Immigration Bill will be introduced.
What happens to skilled workers who want to come to the UK?
Both EU and non-EU citizens will have to gain 70 points under the new system to be eligible to apply for a visa.
The three key requirements which have to be met are:
- Have a job offer from an approved sponsor, such as an employer cleared by the Home Office (which earns 20 points).
- Have a job offer that is at a "required skill level" (20 points).
- They can speak English to a certain level (10 points).
Other points can be awarded for certain qualifications and if there is a shortage in a particular occupation.
The salary threshold for skilled migrants will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600 for those coming to the UK with a job offer.
But if an applicant earns less than the required minimum salary threshold - but no less than £20,480 - they may still be able to come to the UK if they have a job offer in a specific occupation which appears on the Government's jobs shortage list, or if they have a PhD relevant to the job.
This could mean lower earners such as nurses may still be able to apply for a visa, provided a shortage of staff in this area remain on the approved list.
What happens to highly-skilled workers who want to come to the UK?
There is also now no cap on the number of people who can come through the skilled worker route.
This would allow a small number of the most highly-skilled workers, who can gain the required level of points, to enter the UK without a job offer if they are endorsed by a "relevant and competent body".
This will include science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals.
Points will be awarded for factors such as academic qualifications, age and relevant work experience and the route would be capped.
What about low-skilled workers?
There will be no temporary or general visa options for low-skilled migrant workers.
The policy paper says that businesses will "need to adapt and adjust to the end of free movement, and we will not seek to recreate the outcomes from free movement within the points-based system."
It is estimated 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which will help to bring overall numbers down in future, according to the Home Office.
Lastly, what about students?
Any student from abroad who wants to study in the UK will need to show they have an offer from an approved educational institution, can speak English and can support themselves financially during their studies in the UK.
To make the system more attractive following graduation you can stay in the country for two years.