A New UK Points-Based System?

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
27 February 2020

During February of this year the UK government issued a policy statement concerning how the UK’s immigration system will look in the aftermath of Brexit. The government proposes to introduce an Immigration Bill that would end the free movement of persons for EU citizens and free movement would be replaced with a new points based system. Under a points based system, applicants are allocated points according to certain criteria and the granting of a visa is contingent on the accumulation of the required threshold of points. The required threshold in the new proposals is 70 points.

The government’s desire to adopt a points based system is consistent with its previous comments concerning its vision of the UK’s future immigration framework. However, the policy statement gave more extensive details about how the system would be designed. Notably, under the scheme only “high skilled” workers would accumulate enough points to be allowed a visa to come to the UK. Accordingly, the announcement has been criticized for seeing migrants as purely an economic commodity. A further criticism is that the points allocation system will be detrimental to services in the holiday and social care, which are reliant on migrant workers. The government, however, has pointed out that the implementation of the points based system will allow EU and non-EU citizens to be treated equally. Indeed, the UK already adopts a points based framework for those from non-EU countries and Danielle and her team have a proven track record making such applications. Please do not hesitate to contact Danielle to find out more about the points based system and if you are concerned about how it might affect you. For further information on the UK’s current points based scheme.

Facts and Questions

What are the proposed criteria of points allocation?

The policy statement contained a table of the criteria for points allocation.  Some of the ways an applicant can accumulate points are: by having a job offer by an “approved sponsor”; by having a job offer with an “appropriate skill level”; by having the required level of English; by having a job offer with a salary of over £23,040 and by having relevant academic qualifications. Please note that the salary requirements for those in “shortage occupation” jobs are lower. 

When will the new immigration policy be implemented?

The new immigration policy will be implemented after at the end of the transition period, i.e. from the 1st January 2021.

What should I do if I am an EU citizen in the UK at the moment?

If you are an EU citizen in the UK you should make an application under the EU settlement scheme. A successful application to the settled scheme will lead to either settled or pre-settled status, both of which entitle you to stay in the UK. For more information about the settled scheme click here.

What if I am classed as a “low skilled” worker under the new points-based system?

The government has stated that it wishes to reduce the number of people coming to the UK and the new points based system does not provide a route for “low skilled” workers to enter the UK post-2020. However, it is possible that further immigration routes will open that may be relevant to your case. At Danielle Cohen Solicitors we ensure to keep up with all the latest immigration news and so we are able to advise you on how recent developments may be relevant to your individual situation. For example, the government is currently piloting a scheme for seasonal agricultural workers and has committed to expand this scheme to allow for 10,000 places. 

In addition, the UK has youth mobility arrangements with the below eight countries. These arrangements provide a route for low-skilled workers:

  1. Australia 
  2. Canada
  3. Japan
  4. Monaco
  5. New Zealand
  6. Hong Kong
  7. South Korea
  8. Taiwan

Danielle Cohen Solicitors has assisted on Youth Mobility scheme applications and more information on this immigration route is provided here.

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