All EU citizens entering the UK from 1st of January 2021 are subject to the same UK points based immigration system as non-EU citizens. Since the UK has been using this points-based system for many years this might seem somewhat of an anti-climax. However, there are some important changes to keep in mind.
What are the changes?
Criteria for the points-based system will apply to all new overseas nationals from the 1st of January of 2021.
It is mandatory for EU citizens living and working in the UK prior to 31st of December 2020 to hold settled or pre-settled status from 1st of July 2021. (Deadline for application 30th of June 2020.)
The Resident Labour Market Test has been abolished.
General Tier 2 will close to new applicants. The Skilled Worker Route will replace it.
Eligibility criteria changes if occupations are on the shortage occupation list.
What impact have we seen from the changes?
The impact of the change has yet to be fully understood. But based on how the points-based system has operated for non-EU nationals, it is expected that the main impact will be a seesaw effect.
What impact can we expect?
The skilled worker route has replaced general tier 2. As a result, the resident labour market test has been abolished. This means employers no longer have to advertise a role to the resident labour market for a minimum of 28 days. Although, sponsors will still need to confirm that the role is genuine and meets the eligibility criteria for sponsorship.
No cap on visa numbers.
Qualifying salary has dropped.
Greater candidate diversity is expected.
Potential to disadvantage sectors that have been reliant of EU immigration.
Not all roles will be eligible for sponsorship.
An application bottleneck is expected.
Future changes could come into effect as the UK makes more deals around the world.
Do you need to do anything?
From what is known so far, it is essential to advise any EU nationals who have been living and working in the UK, prior to the end of the transition period, to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled status if they have not already done so. The pandemic has complicated matters, but it is also essential to plan the workforce requirement in line with the new system. Particularly for those sectors most impacted by it. However, employers will need to keep a close eye on these factors as further deals could create changes down the line.