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BUSINESS NEWS-UK-Government provides clarity on Points-Based Immigration System

Posted 14th July 2020 • Written by •

The UK government set out further details yesterday on its points-based immigration system.

The new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the EU has ended. According to the system, it will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who it deems can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

The new system offers a number of existing routes for those from any nationality.

The government’s global talent scheme will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. It will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.

The points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation commented on the announcement, “With less than six months before the new immigration system comes into effect there are big questions to answer. With challenges from Covid-19 and the Brexit deal, can it be delivered effectively? This is a huge shake up of the rules and the timetable is tight. Businesses need an efficient and clear system from day one, including compliance measures that ensure those who play by the rules prosper.”

“Firms will worry about whether the new system is flexible enough to meet future demand,” Carberry added. “While the troubling economic situation means candidate availability is higher right now, there is no quick fix to the skills shortages affecting sectors like construction, IT, and health and social care. Getting immigration and skills policy right to address these needs is crucial for our economic recovery.”

“Businesses need an immigration system they can navigate easily. In the next year businesses will have to steer through the pandemic, IR35 tax changes, and prepare for how the future EU relationship will affect their ability to work abroad. For government to pass the test being “open for business” we need deeds, not words in these key areas,” Carberry said.

Director General Adam Marshall of the British Chamber of Commerce said, “Businesses are investing in home-grown talent across the UK, but will still need to fill some roles from overseas. The new immigration system will mean that thousands more firms will bear additional costs and bureaucracy when the skills they need cannot be found or developed locally. Carrying these new costs could be particularly challenging at a time when many businesses face reduced demand and historic cash flow difficulties as a result of Coronavirus.”

“As the new system is implemented, businesses will need help to become sponsors - and will need to see immigration applications turned around quickly. The government must do everything it can to reduce the cumulative cost of employment, including the costs associated with immigration, to help businesses recover from the pandemic, hire with confidence, and seize future opportunities,” Marshall said.

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