The post-Brexit points-based system for skilled workers explained


Learn more about the UK Point Based System 2021 for Skilled Workers

The new post-Brexit UK point based system 2021 has had an impact on many aspects of UK immigration for those who want to live and work in the UK and now applies to all nationals, including EU nationals. 
This article discusses the new points-based system, the necessary timeframes and important information related to you if you are seeking to come to the UK in the future or if you are an employer and you are assessing your options to employ foreign nationals within the new UK immigration landscape. We hope it is helpful.


Related Topics

⇒ The Skilled Worker Visa for both EU and non-EU nationals – Replacement of Tier 2 (General) Work Visa
⇒ Skilled Worker Sponsor Licenses for companies
⇒ The New UK Student Visa for both EU and non-EU nationals

How soon will the new points-based system take effect?

The new points-based system came into effect on December 1st 2020. The best thing to do if you are an individual and you think you will move to the UK in 2021 is to talk to an immigration lawyer in order to gain the most up to date advice on what developments have taken place. 

If you are a business owner and want to employ foreigners to work for you in 2021, it is worth already applying for a sponsor licence to allow you to do this, so you are not left behind when the new rules take effect. Our legal team can advise you and file all necessary documentation towards your application.


Will all future immigration applications be decided using the new points-based system?

The new points-based system may be extended in the future to cover more and more UK immigration areas however when it starts it will affect two visa routes specifically that are related to working in the UK, and they are as follows.

-The new skilled worker visa that has replaced the Tier 2 (work visa) route now will make applicants pass a points test where they must demonstrate having a minimum salary required from a job alongside proof of certain skills. 

-A new visa route for highly-skilled workers who do not have a job offer will be extended under the Global Talent Visa.


How will self-employed workers and freelancers be able to get a visa under the new points-based system?

The UK government has stated that there will be no visa created specifically for freelancers or self-employed individuals to enter the UK. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to set up shop in the UK in order to set up a business, you will have to apply through the following routes.

Global talent visa

-Start-up visa

-Innovator visa

The above visa routes are for those who are leaders in a specific professional field and are subject to approval from endorsing bodies after the submission of an acceptable business plan. Our legal team can advise and help you file your application and consult you on your business plan to see if it is in order. 


Will businesses need a sponsor licence to employ EU nationals on work visas in 2021?

es, they will. Businesses and employers now will have to apply for a sponsor license in order to employ EU nationals as well as foreign nationals. The UK government plans on making the process of applying for sponsor licenses more accessible and efficient; however, there have been no further statements on this as of yet. 


How many points must a skilled worker have under the new system?

The new skilled worker visa UK category is part of the government’s new points-based system and requires an applicant to have at least 70 points which are gained by meeting certain criteria. We explain the distribution of the points below.

-0 points will be awarded if a job’s salary ranges from £20,480 to £23,039

-10 points will be awarded if a migrant speaks English 

-10 points will be awarded if a UK visa applicant has a PhD degree

-10 points will be awarded if a job’s salary is between £23,040 and £25,599

-20 points will be awarded if the job has the proper skill level 

-20 points will be awarded if an individual has a job, offer or sponsor 

-20 points will be awarded if the salary for a job is over £25,600

-20 points will be awarded for a job that’s on the shortage occupation list

-20 points will be awarded if an individual’s PhD degree is in science, technology, maths or engineering


What points can be exchanged if they cannot be met?

In the skilled worker visa category, if an applicant does not meet 70 points in one combination, they may exchange certain criteria for others in order to the necessary amount of points. The skilled worker visa category allows for the following parts to be exchanged: 

-Having a job offer with a salary of £20,480 to £23,039 (0 points)

-Having a job offer with a salary of £23,040 to £25,599 (10 points)

-Having a job offer with a salary of £25,600 or above (20 points)

-Having a job offer on the shortage occupation list (20 points)

-Holding a PhD in a subject relevant to the job offer (10 points)

-Holding a PhD is a STEM subject relevant to the job offer (20 points)


What points are mandatory?

The following parts must be met without fail in an application for a skilled worker visa. 

-You must have a job offer from an employer who has a Home Office issued sponsor license (20 points)

-You must have a job that meets the skill-level requirement (20 points)

-You must speak English to a required level (10 points)

In essence, every skilled worker visa applicant will need to meet all these requirements and thus will have 50 out of the minimum 70 points needed; you will then have to qualify for a further 20 points in a combination that is allowed. 


Ask our Expert Legal Team

At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

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