UK's points-based immigration system comes into force

1 December 2020, 13:38

A points-based immigration system will be in place
A points-based immigration system will be in place. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The UK's Australia-style points based immigration opens to applications from today, bringing an end to the Freedom of Movement Act.

The new system will stop unrestricted EU access to the UK and instead permit entry based on skill level.

The new system comes into place four years after the Brexit vote with free movement from and to the EU coming to an end on 31 December.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said it allows "the brightest and best" from around the world to apply to live and work in the UK.

Applications can start from today, meaning that anyone who meets the tough new points requirements could start work from 1 January 2021.

Points are awarded for job offers at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English and a minimum salary of £25,600, unless the ‘going rate’ for that job is higher..

People who gain enough points will then be awarded a skilled work visa.

Priti Patel said it will allow the UK to access "the best talent"
Priti Patel said it will allow the UK to access "the best talent". Picture: PA

The government said this system will allow employers to access the "most highly qualified global talent".

"This encourages employers to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce, driving productivity and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by coronavirus," the Home Office said.

Applications must be made online along with proof of identity.

Fees for applying range from £610 to £1,408 and there is a healthcare surcharge of £624 a year.

Applicants must also show they can support themselves, with at least £1,270 available.

The skilled worker visas last for up to five years.

Other routes include a global talent visa for people with exceptional skills, an innovator visa for those establishing a business, a start-up visa and an intra-company transfer route.

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This Government promised to end free movement, to take back control of our borders and to introduce a new points-based immigration system. Today, we have delivered on that promise. 

“This simple, effective and flexible system will ensure employers can recruit the skilled workers they need, whilst also encouraging employers to train and invest in the UK’s workforce.

“We are also opening routes for those who have an exceptional talent or show exceptional promise in the fields of engineering, science, tech or culture.”