From 1 January 2021 everyone except for British and Irish citizens will be subject to immigration control in the UK.  Gulbenkian Andonian solicitors has already published an article on this topic of post- Brexit immigration and has discussed the case of EU nationals and family members after Brexit, you can find that article here as one of many in our blog.

This article will highlight some other immigration changes that are taking place as a result of Brexit, as one of the main reasons that the UK voted to leave the EU some years ago, was to have control over its borders and to ensure that it was the UK Government and not Brussels would dictate the course of UK immigration.

It is now evident that from 1 January 2021 EU citizens will not be Visa nationals. They will not need to obtain a visa or entry clearance from abroad before they enter the UK. Moreover, they can visit the UK visa free like other non-EU nationals from non-visa countries, such as United States of America and Canada. For more information on this contact us.

In order to facilitate permission to work in the UK, the Government is considering allowing temporary entrants as visitors to switch to the Tier 2 employment visa. The Home Office is considering amendments to the visitor’s regulations and is trying to switch to a workable solution without undermining the requirement to be full and frank as to intention when entering the UK as a visitor in the first place. If this is achieved it can certainly improve business in the UK as permission can be granted faster and without the need to wait for months abroad for prior entry clearance.

An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) will be introduced for those who do not need to obtain a visa before travelling to the UK for visiting purposes. This is similar to the United States scheme, and many European countries are also planning to introduce a similar scheme for British citizens visiting the EU after Brexit.

With respect to skilled workers, Tier 2 general work permits will be open to medium skilled workers with the skill threshold for qualifications being relaxed to give more emphasis on experience and expertise rather than necessarily paper qualifications, though these will still be an important part of the qualification process for Tier 2 general applicants.

It is pleasing to note that the annual immigration Cap which has been a thorn in the side of the government to date, especially with respect to foreign doctors from outside the EU wishing to come to work in the NHS service, where there are several specialist vacancies, will be scrapped. The removal of the cap will be particularly important for health authorities and business in general.

For inter-company transfer applicants however, a minimum salary will be maintained, but the government is looking into exploring options for start-ups who cannot pay high wages but can provide equity into the business.

The White Paper also refers to a temporary immigration route which seemingly allows workers from certain low skilled countries to come to the UK for a period of time, likely to be 12 months maximum. This may be to compensate for EU migrants who for whatever reason after Brexit may feel, in my view without justification, unwanted, leaving a lacuna in low skilled work to be filled. The emphasis is that this low skilled employment will not lead to ILR, and so that to encourage such persons to return back to their country, no dependents will be able to accompany the main applicant. There will also be a 12-month cooling off period once the migrant has left the UK. This means that the migrant cannot return to the UK under any route for at least 12 months. The concern here of course that once here, such individuals would not wish to return to their country of origin. In those circumstances it is quite possible that they could be lost in the black economy and then resurface after some time when they may have developed further article 8 rights and apply for leave to remain outside immigration rules. In fact, it seems that the UK government is more generous in regards to provisions that it thinks making for low skilled workers to come to the UK than other EU countries.

The Seasonal agricultural workers scheme is to be introduced shortly on a pilot basis.

With respect to the current youth mobility scheme, which replaced the previous two-year maximum working holiday visas for young Commonwealth citizens, this will be expanded to cover EU countries on a reciprocal basis.

With respect to self-employment and self-sponsored routes, the entrepreneur route will be replaced by an innovator category. This will be a more highly skilled category of those who wish to employ new techniques and methods, and as the name suggests, innovative ideas in business in the UK, and the number permitted to enter the UK under the Tier 1 exceptional talent programme will also be increased.

It can be seen that the idea of the Government is to make sure that it has the top range of experts and specialists and business persons working in the UK.  The idea that someone can enter the UK as an entrepreneur with a £200,000 investment to open a grocer shop or a restaurant or a boutique will now become less attractive in favour of the innovator Visa. There will no doubt be a transitional period whereby applications for Tier- one entrepreneur can still be made, but it will change and the stakes will rise in terms of business ideas and business acumen.

With respect to Tier 4 students, Bachelor's and Master’s degree students who study for and complete their courses in the UK will be able to get a six-month post study immigration permission to look for work. PhD graduates will continue to be granted 12 months post study immigration permission. These could in due course lead to full-time Tier 2 employment.

If you are interested in discussing your immigration applications or proposed applications further following reading this article, please do not hesitate to contact either the writer Dr Bernard Andonian or a member of the immigration team at Gulbenkian Andonian solicitors for assistance in that regard.

Established in 1985, Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors has the reputation of being the best immigration law firm in London and one of the top immigration law firms in the UK. We have over 30 years of experience and are listed in the legal 500 Hall of Fame . >We have a team of specialist lawyers and support staff of great ability and experience. To cater for our clients varied legal services needs we also offer them legal advice on other areas of law namely property, commercial, civil litigation, employment, intellectual property and wills and probate.

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