£30,000 minimum salary threshold for tier 2 visas to drop
Today’s law states that skilled migrants from outside the EU must have a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000.
The Prime Minister has promised during the election campaign to introduce a points-based immigration scheme, based on Australia’s, for when the EU freedom of movement rules end.
“The £30,000 minimum salary threshold for tier 2 visas was unnecessarily and arbitrarily high.
It would have strangled the pipeline of talented younger people at the start of their careers, especially in key economic sectors such as the NHS and the creative industries.
And family visas only require a minimum salary threshold of £18,600 to be able to bring some family members to the UK,” he said.
It is understood that this threshold will be lowered to £25,600.
Change to the Income Threshold
The biggest change to the immigration rules in the UK will be that freedom of movement no longer applies after Brexit. This means that EU nationals in other member states will no longer have the automatic right to move to the UK.
Those already living in the UK before Brexit, however, will be protected. The Settled Status (SS) scheme – which allows EU nationals living in the UK to apply for the right to remain – will stay open to applicants until the end of the transition period in December 2020.
This will enable EU nationals who are resident in the UK on or before 11 pm on 31 January to have their rights protected and will mean they can continue to live and work in the UK as they did so before.
The Government has also specified that anyone eligible for settled status will not be barred from living in the UK when free movement ends – even if they have not applied.
EU nationals living outside the UK
At the end of the transitional period, when EU law no longer applies to the UK at all, freedom of movement will end meaning that EU nationals who do not already live in the country will not be able to freely enter the UK to work, or live, or stay for an extended amount of time, without being subject to the same immigration checks as people from other countries.
The UK already has a version of a points-based system for all non-EU migrants and this will now extend to apply to EU migrants coming to the UK.
What is the Government Planning?
The system we have at the moment awards points for various aspects of a person’s application such as English language skills, being sponsored by a company and meeting a salary threshold.
The Government has pledged to change this system to make it look more like
the Australian point-based system which is more detailed and complicated.
Under this system people wishing to move to the UK could also be assessed also on their age or educational qualifications as well as their salary
How will Business Benefit from the change?
Details of how the immigration system will actually be changed are still being developed by the Government and would likely then need to be approved by the Commons.
When the proposals were put to the Home Office, a spokesman said: “We will deliver on the people’s priorities by introducing a points-based immigration system from 2021 to attract the brightest and best talent from around the world while bringing overall numbers down.
“As we end free movement, this firmer and fairer new system will allow us to decide who comes to this country on the basis of the skills they have and the contribution they can make – not where they come from.”
When will this change?
The new system is due to be implemented after the end of the transitional period which ends on 31 December 2020.
Will the Government look at lower-skilled worker shortages?
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel will today launch a new points-based immigration system, ensuring that the UK continues to attract the brightest and the best from around the world, including India.
How will India benefit?
The new Points-Based Immigration System will award points for specific skills, professions, salaries or qualifications/attributes, and visas will be awarded to those who gain sufficient points. The system will provide simple, effective, and flexible arrangements for skilled workers to come to the UK.
The new single global system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally, giving top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, innovators and academics.
The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600 (approximately ₹23.8 lakh), down from the previously proposed £30,000.
Global Talent route?
The Home Secretary will also announce a reformed Global Talent route. This will include a new fast-track scheme for world-leading scientists, top researchers and mathematicians to come to the UK. This will run alongside the Points-Based Immigration System and will allow a small number of highly skilled workers to come to the UK without a job offer.
Acting British High Commissioner to India, Jan Thompson, said:
The new Points-Based Immigration System is great news for Indian nationals looking to work in the UK. It puts Indian applicants on a level playing field and prioritises those with the greatest skills and talent – something which India has in abundance.
This news is just the latest example of the UK’s continuing global outlook following our departure from the EU, and further evidence of our commitment to strengthening the UK-India Living Bridge.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: Today is a historic moment for the whole country. We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.
These developments come on the back of the UK’s Graduate route announcement, which will allow eligible international students – including those from India – to stay in the UK for two years after completing their studies to work or look for work. The new Graduate route will be introduced from the summer of 2021. There continues to be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to study.
Indian nationals continue to receive more skilled work visas than the rest of the world combined, accounting for 52% of all Tier 2 visas granted globally last year. Over half a million UK visit visas were issued to Indians in 2019, up almost 10% from the previous year. Tier 4 student visa numbers also increased by 63% last year – almost four times faster than the percentage increase globally.
The new Points-Based Immigration System will award points for an appropriate job offer, English language skills, and a salary threshold. The education threshold will be reduced to A-level (Higher Secondary School Certificate or equivalent) from degree level, and the general salary threshold is being reduced to £25,600 (approximately ₹23.8 lakh) from £30,000.
Applicants will be able to ‘trade’ characteristics if they do not meet all the requirements. Tradeable points will be given for salary, a job offer in a specific shortage occupation, and educational qualifications.
The UK Home Office will publish further details on the Points-Based Immigration System in due course, including detailed guidance regarding the points tables, shortage occupations and qualifications.
The New arrangement?
These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union has ended.
Fast track NHS
The announcement will also formalise a new fast-track NHS Visa for certain medical professionals with NHS job offers, reducing their visa fees and providing support to come to the UK with their families. Applicants will need to have a job offer from the NHS, be trained to a recognised standard and have good working English language skills. Indians are already the largest non-British group of staff in the NHS with more than 21,000 healthcare professionals, including more than 7,500 nurses.