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The government have unveiled a new 130-page document outlining more details on how immigration will work from January next year.

As previously expected, the UK is all set to introduce a brand-new immigration system from 1 January 2021 following the end of free-movement of persons between the UK and EU. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the government remains committed to delivering Brexit and organisations who do intend to employ individuals from overseas need to be familiar with all expected changes.

The document confirms three routes through which foreign workers will be able to legally work in the UK:

  • Skilled worker route
  • Global Talent Visa
  • Start-up and Innovator route.

Skilled worker

As previously reported, applicants coming to the UK via this route will need to meet the requirements of points-based immigration. They will need to have at least 70 points, made up of 50 mandatory points and 20 tradeable.

Mandatory points will be awarded for areas that include the following:

  • having a job offer from a licensed sponsor
  • being offered a job above the minimum skill level, which is RQF3 level or equivalent (A-level or equivalent)
  • speaking English to an ‘acceptable standard’.

Salaries must be a minimum of £20,480. Tradeable points will include:

  • if the job provides a salary of at least £25,600 or the ‘going rate’
  • if the job is in the health or education sector  
  • if the job is in a specific shortage occupation.

There will be no overall cap on people who can apply for a visa

Global Talent

This route is already in use for non-EU nationals, having been introduced in February 2020 to replace the former tier 1 route. Essentially, it allows talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology, and arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture) to live and work in the UK.

In order to apply under this category, individuals will require an endorsement from an approved endorsing body. The endorsing bodies include:

  • The Royal Society
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Tech Nation
  • Arts Council England
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Once endorsed, foreign workers will be given ‘highly flexible permission’ to work for organisations or be self-employed.

Start-up and Innovator

This route has also been in place for non-EU nationals since Match 2019. It is available to individuals who are setting up a business for the first time, or have industry experience and at least £50,000 to fund their venture.

Foreign nationals looking to use this route must have support from an approved endorsing body alongside the appropriate government department. Endorsing bodies can be a higher education provider or a business with a track record of supporting UK-based entrepreneurs.

Further information: