While all spectators are currently occupied with the UK Government’s White Paper published on 19 December 2018, laying how the new immigration system will look like from 1/1/2021, many individuals and families are concerned that there were new news for family immigration routes, especially for spouses of British citizens and the controversial Appendix FM that came into force on 9/7/2017 bringing dilemma and heartbreak to so many families.
While the focus of this news article would be on the announced features of the new immigration system, not only for businesses and individuals, but also for immigration law practitioners, it is believed that the family route and the financial requirement would be revisited soon by the struggling UK government.
Businesses and licensed sponsors would be pleased to learn that the White Paper confirms that whilst immigration compliance is still a fundamental issue, but it promises a degree of flexibility with hiring migrants from at a lower skill level and without being subjected to annual quotas! It also confirms that the current Sponsor Licence system as we know it today, is likely to change to allow holding group companies to sponsor workers at their member companies.
There will be also a more flexible approach to assessing smaller businesses requiring a Sponsor Licence but not necessarily meeting the current stringent threshold. This promised light touch approach is a direct result of the expected shortage of labour the UK market will witness post Brexit. The proposals are going to be welcomed by businesses and employers especially after seeing the end to the problematic Resident Labour Market Test, removing the annual 20,700-worker cap and lowering the skill level needed.
Businesses and Employers now have a golden opportunity to engage with the government to participate in the intended consultation before publishing the new rules to ensure that the Brexit lessons are learnt.
The Migration Advisory Committee made series of recommendations, one of which is introducing a new minimum £30,000 annual salary threshold but the Government would be engaging with businesses before implementing this particular recommendation.
For individual migrants looking to fill jobs in the UK under the Tier 2 (General) route, lifting the 20,700-worker annual cap, abolishing the Resident Labour Market Test, are excellent news and will cheer hundreds of thousands.
The White Paper has also confirmed that a short-term working visa route for temporary workers would be introduced to assist businesses to deal with the post-Brexit labour shortage. It is believed that this will come under the now non-operational Tier 3 category. This category will be accessible for certain chosen nationalities and the length of stay would be capped to only 1 year, not permitting applicants under the route to bring their dependants, inability to switch into other immigration routes and comes with a 1-year cooling off period.
Great news also for international students thinking of coming to the UK to puruse their studies under the Tier 4 category, they would be pleased to learn that there is going to automatic longer period of leave after completing studies to allow them to try the UK labour market.
For young European individuals, students and university graduates, there would be introduced an EU-UK Youth Mobility Scheme and Start Up visa routes.
GOOD ADVICE UK will be eager to see how the new rules and facelift to the immigration system will roll out. The Team would be geared to advise clients and stakeholders on any immigration law queries.
Article by Atef Elmarakby - Immigration Law Specialist Consultant at GOOD ADVICE UK