Applications for the new work visa routes for eligible overseas workers who wish to work in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2021 opened on 1 December 2020. Provided applicants meet the criteria, workers from overseas, including the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals, are now able to apply online for (among other new entry routes), the skilled worker visa, the intra-company transfer visa and the global talent visa.
On 13 July 2020, the UK Home Office published further details on the UK’s points-based system through a detailed policy statement regarding the changes to the UK immigration system due to come into effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union has ended. The document builds on the policy statement published in February 2020 and aims to provide “more detail to applicants, employers and educational institutions on the draft requirements and conditions underpinning the key immigration routes in the Points-Based System.”
In light of the Home Office now making regular policy announcements and issuing revised guidance, here are the main immigration law issues that employers may want to keep in mind in order to consider the implications of COVID-19 on their organisations.
The United Kingdom (UK) formally left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered a transition period that will officially end on 31 December 2020. The UK and EU have agreed that EU nationals who move to the UK before 1 January 2021 will be permitted to remain in the UK. However, they must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 to secure confirmation of their immigration status.
On 21 June 2018, the UK government issued a “statement of intent” that provides further details on how EU citizens and their family members can continue to live in the UK after Brexit. A high-level summary of the proposed scheme is provided below. However, the following initial points should be noted: The scheme is still