The Home Office published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, which are due to come into force this year. These changes will also apply to all EU nationals who were not living, working or studying in the UK before the end of 2020 and are unable to use the settlement and pre-settlement route to continue to reside in the UK after Brexit.
We have listed below the most important points, which we think will apply to EU citizens looking to work, study or do business in the UK following Brexit.
A new Graduate visa route will take effect on 1 July 2021. International students who wish to use this new graduate visa route, and who have completed a Bachelor or master’s degree at a UK Higher Education Provider (including LPC or PGCE), will be allowed an additional two-year period in the UK to look for suitable employment after obtaining their qualifications. PhD graduates or other graduates with other doctoral qualifications can stay for three years.
Students will be required to meet several conditions to qualify for leave under this route. This includes:
● To have successfully completed the course of study undertaken during their most recent grant of permission as a Student (which includes Tier 4). Unfortunately, graduates whose Tier 4 or Student visa expires before this route opens cannot apply.
● Students who began their studies in Autumn 2020 but cannot travel to the UK due to COVID-19 must enter the UK by 21 June 2021 to apply. Those students who began their studies in January or February 2021 must enter the UK by 27 September 2021.
● Students do not need official sponsorship from an employer.
● There is no minimum salary requirement on this route, and applicants can obtain any employment.
● The Graduate route does not lead to a settlement. Applicants must switch to other categories before their visa expiry to remain in the UK.
● Applicants will need to be in the UK for a minimum required length of time. For applicants with a course duration of 12 months or less, the whole of the course must have been studied in the UK. Those on courses lasting longer than 12 months will need to have been granted permission for at least 12 months on the Student route and have spent that time studying in the UK (with an exception for absences due to Covid which would potentially not affect this requirement).
There are two main updates to the Skilled Worker route coming into effect from 6 April 2021.
Shortage Occupation List for skilled workers. This expands to include eight more professions, such as senior care workers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians (including those not in the health and care sectors) and nursing auxiliaries. Chefs are now excluded from the list.
The minimum salary for Skilled Workers now demands a minimum hourly rate of £10.10.
From 6 April 2021, in order to qualify under this route, an applicant must be the sole founder or an instrumental member of the founding team.
From 5 May 2021 applicants who have been awarded prestigious prizes listed in Appendix Global Talent (Prestigious Prizes and will include the Nobel Prize, the Oscars, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, amongst others) will be allowed to apply under a new Global Talent route, without having to secure an endorsement from an official endorsing body.
EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS):
From 6 April 2021, the Home Office may refuse applications where there are issues with the applicant’s conduct, for example, a criminal conviction.
Contact our experts for further advice.