The new post-Brexit points-based visa and immigration system of the British government, described as “simple, efficient and flexible,” opened for applications on Tuesday.
The Home Office said that from 1 January 2021, when the Brexit transition period ends, applicants for the new Skilled Worker Visa can now apply to work and live in the UK. The new rules are designed to bring migrants from the European Union (EU) into line with countries outside the EU, including India.
The new post-Brexit points-based regime unveiled earlier this year by the British Home Office in its effort to attract the “brightest, and the Indian industry and student groups broadly welcomed the best” from around the world.
Under the new point-based immigration system, points will be awarded at the appropriate skill level for a job offer, knowledge of English and a minimum wage will be paid. Unless the “going rate” for that job in the wider economy is higher, most of those looking to work in the UK will have to be paid at least 25,600 pounds per year.
Kevin Foster, the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, said, “Wage thresholds are there to protect the UK labour market from being undercut and also to ensure that those coming to the UK are fairly paid.”
Applications can be forwarded online to the Home Office, and they could get a decision within three weeks, said a statement from the Home Office, emailed in New Delhi by the British High Commission. Visa applicants will need to have enough money to cover the application fee, ranging from 610 pounds to 1,408 pounds, plus a health surcharge (usually 624 pounds per year). They should be able to support themselves (usually by having at least 1,270 pounds available).
Before it needs to be extended, the Skilled Worker visa lasts for up to five years. Several other routes are now also open for applications in addition to the work visa, including the Global Talent Visa, for individuals who can demonstrate their outstanding talent or exceptional promise in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture.
To ensure that the immigration route is not misused, an immigration skills charge will be levied on employers, Foster said. This is to reflect the fact that in the first instance, employers should seek to train people here in the UK, including those who have come from India for many years and made the UK their home and where you can’t turn to migration.
That’s why we ask employers to pay a levy to help fund skills training in the UK if they are recruiting qualified individuals from abroad. It is also to see that employers do not see migration as an alternative to investing in things like apprenticeships here in the UK. In addition to getting qualified and talented workers from abroad, they need to do that,’ he said.
Under the new system, the Student Route and Child Student Route opened in October for the next academic year for eligible international students.
“We look forward to welcoming the world’s brightest and best talent, and that means we will inevitably welcome people from India,” Foster said.
“We have expanded the criteria for abilities. “In the past, it was very academic-focused on being at degree level… now it looks at the level of school leavers,” he said, referring to Indian students who want to study in the UK.
Those students who graduate from a UK university can now spend at least two years living and working in the UK beyond their degree and then switch to a skilled worker once they get a job, and that’s a path to a permanent settlement here in the UK if they want,” said Foster.