Immigration Experts Warn Of Costly Delays By Time New System In Place
The government has outlined guidance for its new points-based immigration system, which expert lawyers warn is likely to cause a backlog of applications for employers.
From 1 January 2021, those looking to work in the UK from abroad will need to meet several requirements including a minimum salary threshold and having a job offer in place at the required skill level of RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent), all of which result in points being awarded. A total of 70 points will be needed to apply to work in the UK.
Businesses that have until now relied on EEA workers to fill vacancies (of whatever skill level) will need to adapt. If they anticipate recruiting, on or after 1 January 2021, any overseas nationals, which will then include EEA nationals, into skilled roles (at RQF Level 3 – roughly equivalent to A level - or above), they will need a sponsor licence.
However, once they have obtained a licence they will not under the new system need to satisfy the resident labour market test before sponsoring a migrant worker.
Employers will need to apply to become sponsors to recruit anyone outside of the UK labour market and who doesn’t already have an existing right to work in the UK, such as settled status or indefinite leave to remain.
The website also advises that employers who aren’t already approved by the Home Office to be a sponsor should apply sooner rather than later, suggesting they’re anticipating a rush of applications to be made by the end of the year.
Expert Opinion“The government is forging ahead with its new immigration system, despite the spotlight being on the key workers in the coronavirus pandemic who would be classed as ‘low skilled’ by next year and who would not meet the skills or salary threshold for the skilled worker route.
“If the government has warned businesses to apply now, then they anticipate there will be a backlog of applications that is created by the end of this year, potentially resulting in costly delays for both the business and the applicant involved in the process.
“If only a tiny percentage of those SMEs who are employers are going to need a sponsor licence, that means many thousands of employers will need to apply. Will the Home Office have the capacity to deal with this influx?
“We are accordingly advising our business clients to apply sooner rather than later when there will inevitably be a last-minute rush.” Philip Barth - Partner