January 10, 2019

Plans for Post-Brexit UK Immigration System Released

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Plans for Post-Brexit UK Immigration System Released

Posted by: Christine Wrigley, Manager, Supply Chain Management

Ahead of ‘Brexit Day’ on 29 March this year, the UK government has published a White Paper detailing plans for what the post-Brexit UK immigration system will look like. The new system is expected to be implemented on 1 January 2021, once the 21-month transition period comes to an end.

This White Paper is the official approval by the UK government of the recommendations set out in the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report, which was published in September last year.

Immigration provider, Fragomen, has provided a comprehensive breakdown of the White Paper’s key points:

The White Paper proposes a single, skills-based immigration system, focused on talent and expertise rather than country of origin. The White Paper includes the following positive changes, among others:

  • Removing Tier 2 quota. The White Paper proposes to remove the cap on the number of Tier 2 (General) Restricted visas that can be granted, which is currently set at 20,700 per year divided in monthly increments. The quota was exceeded each month between December 2017 and July 2018, resulting in time-consuming re-filings and delaying employment of foreign talent.
  • Removing labour market testing. The White Paper proposes to remove the requirement for employers to complete a Resident Labour Market Test before sponsoring a foreign worker for a Tier 2 (General) Visa. Currently, employers are required to publish a vacancy for 28 days to confirm that no British or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are suitable for the role.
  • New short-term visa for low-skilled workers. The White Paper proposes to create a new visa category for low-skilled workers, allowing initial visas up to 12 months that will not require employer sponsorship.
  • No visa for EU visitors. The White Paper proposes that EU nationals would be able to enter the United Kingdom for short-term trips as tourists or business visitors without a visa.
  • Consultation on salary threshold. The White Paper confirms that UK authorities will launch a public consultation on the current minimum salary requirement of GBP 30,000 for Tier 2 (General) Visa applications.

Impact of Post-Brexit Immigration System

The proposed changes would address a number of key concerns expressed by businesses over the past months, including the anticipated drain of low-skilled workers after Brexit. It would also make the system much quicker – the absence of a cap and labour market testing would reduce the lead time of many Tier 2 (General) Visa applications by two to three months.

The next step will be for the UK government to adopt the proposals set out in the White Paper into draft laws, which would need to be accepted by the UK Parliament before they could take effect.

© 2018 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved. This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and Fragomen Worldwide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide.

Cartus Recommendations for Relocation Managers

Knowledge. If you haven’t already, ensure you find out who in your workforce will be impacted by the introduction of the new UK immigration system.

Communication. Keep in regular contact with your immigration provider to determine potential Brexit implications to your company. These implications should then be communicated to all key business areas within your organisation. 

Contingency Planning. Start developing contingency plans to ensure that your company is prepared for both soft and hard Brexit scenarios. A secured Brexit deal means that contingency plans will not need to be implemented until 1 January 2021, but without a deal, the future comes much sooner on 29 March 2019, so preparedness is key.

Should you require any further information about this or any other aspect of visa/immigration planning, please seek specialist advice from your immigration provider.

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