UK Points Based Immigration System

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UK Points Based Immigration System

On 31st January 2020, the United Kingdom [UK] officially withdrew from the European Union [EU] in order to streamline its immigration process and promote high skilled worker influx within British borders. With clearly defined categories of ‘Skilled’, ‘Highly Skilled’ and others, the newly placed UK Points-Based Immigration System shall come into effect starting 1st January 2021. 

Skilled Workers

The ‘Skilled Workers’ category is one of the most popular groupings in the UK. Under the new UK Points-Based Immigration System, it shall be governed through qualifications, points, and other factors, the details of which have been tabulated below: 

Particulars Tradeable Points
Offer of a job by an approved sponsor No 20
Job at an appropriate skill level No 20
Speaks English at the required level No 10
Salary between £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039 Yes 0
Salary between £23,040£25,599 Yes 10
Salary of £25,600 or above Yes 20
Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC) Yes 20
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Yes 10
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Yes 20

Important Points on How to Interpret the Table

As immigration involves several rules, regulations, and interpretations, it is crucial to understand how they play out in specific cases. The following points shed light on a few of such cases according to the official incoming immigration guidelines.

  • One needs at least 70 points in order to be eligible to apply.
  • A few of the characteristics can be ‘tradeable’. The first three points are non-tradeable implying that they have to be fulfilled.
  • Case 1: An individual pursuing his research at a university in any of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-oriented subjects who wishes to come to UK on a salary of 22,000 Pounds [which is lower than the permitted general minimum salary threshold] may still be allowed to enter UK if the applicant possess a PhD degree in STEM Courses
  • Case 2: Similarly, if on a £22,000 salary, a nurse wishes to come to the UK, he/she shall be eligible to do so if he/she would be working in a shortage occupation but it must continue to be recognized in shortage by the MAC.
  • To designate occupations/professions in shortage for the skilled worker category is the responsibility of the MAC which is also reviewed on a regular basis. This provision allows for satisfactory fulfillment of workers in those areas which requires manpower urgently. Moreover, employers shall also review any such worker shortages from time to time.

Highly Skilled Workers

The current Global Route implemented by the Home Office, UK for EU citizens will be extended to Non-EU citizens as well, beginning January of 2021. Under this, those who fulfill the required level of points can enter the UK even without a job offer albeit an endorsement from a relevant competent body would still be required. The provisions of this category have been freshly revised in order to include those who hail from a STEM background and wish to enter the UK. In addition, the British government is also planning to introduce a parallel, unsponsored category within the UK Points-Based Immigration System which will facilitate entry to such exceptionally skilled workers. Criteria include age, academic qualifications and years of experience working in the industry. 

Lower Skilled Workers

At present, the UK Points-Based Immigration System no longer provides a route for lower-skilled workers to gain entry. However, those already staying or have applied under the EU settlement scheme [EUSS] shall be given unrestricted rights to work and free movement. Furthermore, the available places in seasonal agricultural workers shall be increased to 10,000 from the existing 2,500 along with nearly 20,000 youngsters coming to the UK each under various youth mobility schemes.

Students and Specialist Occupations

The UK Points-Based Immigration System also covers the students wishing to study in UK at higher educational institutions. The basic criteria involve having an offer of acceptance from a recognized institute, the ability to speak English and sufficient funds to finance oneself during the course of studies in the UK. Along with that, routes for specialist occupations such as innovators, ministers of religion, sportspersons and artists are still available for both EU and Non-EU citizens.

UK Points-Based Immigration System: More Details

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In addition to the above, there are various important details that fall within the ambit of the UK Points-Based Immigration System. These have been mentioned below.

  • Normal regulations applicable for family reunions, asylum and border crossing checks shall be covered by the UK Points-Based Immigration System.
  • EU citizens will hereon be allowed to enter the UK as non-visa nationals for a period of six months without obtaining a visitor visa.
  • Self-employed do not have a dedicated route of entry.
  • Freelance workers can gain entry into the UK through the innovator route and can, later on, benefit from the unsponsored route.
  • Artists, entertainers, and musicians can still go to the UK for a period of six months and perform in events, competitions, and auditions.

UK Points-Based Immigration System: Step-Wise Process

Right from visa approval to living in the UK, the following table throws some light on the complete process that must be followed under the UK Points-Based Immigration System: 

Steps Stage Particulars
Step 1 Planning Individuals wishing to enter the UK for purposes of work or study need to apply through the online application portal and pay the requisite fee in order to acquire a visa. Concerning skilled immigrants sponsored by employers, the process can be completed within 2 weeks. Go through the official visa category slabs for further information.
Step 2 Applying While EU-citizens will be required to submit facial biometrics via smartphone self-enrollment the non-EU citizens need to visit Visa Application Centre to submit biometrics. 
Step 3 Crossing the border Citizens hailing from the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea can use the e-gates. All others will be catered to by a Border Force Officer.
Step 4 Living in the UK EU citizens can utilize their online checking service to show the status of immigration. Non-EU citizens can do so through physical documentation.
Step 5 Leaving the UK You will be required to leave the UK on or before the expiry of your stipulated visa duration.

The process of applying for a visa under the UK Points-Based Immigration System may be knotty considering the numerous factors involved. Therefore, a little bit of guidance can go a long way! From Visa application to preparing you for the visa interview, the experts at Leverage Edu can lend you a helping hand throughout the admission journey so that you can take a strong step towards a successful career!

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