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Immigration White Paper


Following the rejection of the EU Withdrawal Agreement by MP’s, businesses face a further period of uncertainty. Are we to leave the EU in the next couple of months or is Article 50 to be extended or revoked? Is there even going to be a new Government? In amongst all this uncertainty, one thing has been made clear if we are to leave Europe and that is the future immigration landscape. The Government have released its promised White Paper which businesses need to be aware of.

So what has the Immigration White Paper, that was released last month, proposed? Let’s have a look at highlights:

An end to Freedom of Movement

It has been abundantly clear that free movement of people will end once Britain leaves the EU. No surprise then that this has been re-iterated in the Immigration White-Paper.

Low Paid or Low Skilled?

It is very clear in the White paper that low-skilled workers from EU countries will no longer have the right to work in the UK after Brexit. Instead low-skilled workers will be eligible to apply for short-term visas for up to a year. The visa will restrict them in that that they will not be able to access benefits, nor bring their family with them. When the visa expires, the individual must leave the UK for at least a year before being eligible to apply for another short-term visa.

Seasonal workers will be able to enter using a different scheme.

End of Residents Labour Market Test

Currently, to recruit a non-EU National, employees must have advertised the vacancy to the domestic market for a minimum length of time and through various mediums. The purpose of this is to ensure that the job is made available to a UK citizen first.

Following the Migration Advisory Committee report, there will no longer be a requirement for this to be carried out.

International Students

Following the completion of their studies, International Students will be permitted to remain in the UK to look for employment opportunities. Should they have completed a Bachelors or master degree they will be allowed to stay for up to 6 months and should they have completed a PhD then it would be 12 months.

Changes to the Skilled workers

  • This is where there is the biggest change. The White Paper makes it clear that that EU migrants will have to use the sponsorship management system if they wish to come to the UK to work, and if they have not exercised their rights in the transition period. They would fall within Tier 2 requirements and therefore the migrant will need a certificate of sponsorship to work in the UK.
  • One of the barriers is the minimum salary that imposed on all Tier 2 Migrant workers. There is to be further consultation with respect to the figure which currently stands at £30,000, however on the face of it, this figure could be prohibitive to prospective employers. At the same time the skills threshold will be reduced from RQF level 6, which is equivalent to an undergraduate degree, to RQF Level 3, which is similar to A-levels. So for example, HR Directors are suitable for sponsorship but Career advisors are not.

So what sort of jobs does the RQF Level 3 cover? The list is extensive, but a few key roles include: health and safety officers, conference coordinators, and even a yacht skipper!

  • At the same time, there will no longer be a cap on the number of high skilled/high paid workers.

It is proposed that the changes will come into effect post 2021 in a phased approach.

It is clear that Immigration landscape is dramatically changing. For further information as to how it impacts you and your organisation, contact us at Arif Khalfe.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.


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