Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules
A Statement of Changes to the immigration rules was recently published which sets out some more detail on the new Points-Based System. Specifically, it confirmed that the new system will go live on the 1st of December 2020 which means non-EEA citizens can apply for leave and begin work under the new system from that date. However, EEA and Swiss nationals will not be able to enter the UK and begin work under this system until the 1st of January 2021 (as this is when the free movement model under the Brexit Transition period ends).
A number of other specific changes were announced including:
- Amendments to the way in which visa applicants can meet the English language requirements under the new system.
- The 'Maintenance' requirement will be rebranded as the Financial requirement and will be increased to £1,270. There will also be changes to the period funds must have been held by applicants and the evidential documents required under the new system.
- The £35,800 salary threshold for settlement applications is also being removed, instead being brought in line with minimum salary under the new system (being £25,600 per year or the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher).
- The visitor rules will also be amended. Changes include the ability to study for up to six months under the standard visit route provided that study is undertaken at an accredited institution (subject to a limited exception) and the removal of the Prospective Entrepreneur activities from the standard visit visa.
- The 12 month "cooling-off" period and six-year maximum length of stay will be removed under the Skilled Worker (formerly Tier 2 (General) route).
- The "cooling-off" period under the Intra-Company route is also being amended and those in the UK under the Intra-Company route will generally be able to switch into other visa categories (so long as they meet the requirements of the visa they wish to switch in to).
Please see the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules for full details of all of the changes due to come in place.