UK Work & Settle – FAQ Part- II

What is the new Point Based System(PBS) route from Jan 2021?

This is nothing but an enhanced sponsorship system (Tier 2 General).

From 1 January 2021, free movement will end, and we will introduce the UK’s points-based system. This is part of a wider multi-year program of change, led by the Home Office, to transform the operation of the border and immigration system.

These changes will be followed by further improvements to the UK’s sponsorship system and the operation of the UK border, including, in the longer-term, the introduction of Electronic Travel Authorities to ensure those coming to the UK have permission to do so in advance of travel. We are taking a phased approach to ensure the smooth delivery of this new system and to allow sufficient time for everyone to adapt. This policy statement focuses on the first phase of changes being introduced in 2021.

 

Tier 2 General vs PBS?

 

Issue

Current position

(Tier 2 General)

New rules

(PBS)

 

Comment

 

 

Nationalities covered

 

 

 

Non-EEA only

 

 

Non-EEA and EEA nationals as of 1 January 2021

This was expected, although we assume that in the event that the current transition period is extended, that will impact the implementation of these proposals. The government announcement does not address

this though.

 

 

 

 

Minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 General (no proposed changes to Tier 2 Intra- Company Transfer rates confirmed)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£30,000 p/a (£20,800 p/a for new entrants)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£25,600 (£17,920 p/a for new entrants)

Migrants will still need to be paid the higher of the salary applicable to their specific occupation or the general threshold. Accordingly whether this will have any real impact will depend upon the level at which occupation-specific salaries are set.

 

For certain jobs, points for salary and qualifications will be tradeable, effectively allowing certain roles paying below the minimum threshold to qualify.

Cap on Tier 2

General migrants

 

20,700 per annum

 

Cap abolished

 

 

 

 

These changes will be welcomed by those familiar with the PBS.

 

 

 

Resident labour market

Most Tier 2 General roles must first be advertised to the resident labour market and only offered to a migrant if a suitable settled worker cannot be

found

 

 

 

Resident labour market test abolished

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points required for visa

 

Tier 2 General migrants currently require 70 points as follows:

30 points (valid and permitted sponsorship) 20 Points

(compliant salary) 10 points (English language)

10 points (maintenance funds)

Tier 2 General migrants will still need 70 points: – some of which will be tradeable (as underlined below)

 

20 points (offer from approved sponsor)

10 points (salary £23,040 –

£25,599)

20 points (salary £25,600 +)

20 points (skill level)

10 points (English language) 20 points (shortage occupation)

10 points (PhD in relevant subject)

20 points (PhD in relevant STEM subject)

 

 

This added flexibility will be welcomed and additional points for shortage occupations may help address some shortages (with the shortage occupation list to remain under review).

Further tradeable attributes are expected to be built into the system over time.

 

It is assumed these changes will apply to Tier 2 General only (not intra-company transfers).

 

 

 

Skill thresholds for Tier 2 sponsorship

 

 

 

RQF 6 – i.e. degree level

 

 

 

RQF 3 i.e. broadly equivalent to completion of secondary education

 

Whilst this relaxation will be welcomed, this does not include lower skilled work as noted above, which is a significant issue for affected sectors.

Further, the minimum salary requirements could rule out many roles, even if they would

now qualify on a skills basis.

 

 

 

Skill thresholds for Tier 2 sponsorship

 

 

 

RQF 6 – i.e. degree level

 

 

 

RQF 3 i.e. broadly equivalent to completion of secondary education

 

Whilst this relaxation will be welcomed, this does not include lower skilled work as noted above, which is a significant issue for affected sectors.

Further, the minimum salary requirements could rule out many roles, even if they would

now qualify on a skills basis.

 

 

 

Immigration skills charge

Currently payable in respect of most sponsored migrants:

 

£1,000 p/a (lower charge applies to small/charitable

sponsors)

 

 

 

This will remain payable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The proposals do not signify an increase in these charges, despite previous indications to the contrary.

 

 

Immigration health surcharge

Currently payable by sponsored migrants at point of visa application:

 

£400 p/a (lower charge applies to

students)

 

 

 

This will remain payable.

 

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