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uk new points based immigration system

The UK's New Points-based Immigration System for Skilled Workers in 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) exited the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, following which the UK introduced a new points-based immigration system that treats both EU and non-EU citizens equally.

Highly-skilled workers who can contribute to the UK’s economy and help fill the skilled-labour shortage faced by the country will be prioritized under the new program.

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If you are a skilled professional looking for great job opportunities, faster career growth, high wages and good quality of life, the UK is definitely the place to be in 2021. Read on to find out all about the UK's new points-based immigration system and the new Skilled Worker Route.

UK Skilled Worker Visa

UK-Skilled-Worker-Visa

The new UK points-based immigration system focuses on bringing in ‘talented’ people who are ‘highly-skilled’ and reduce the intake of low-skilled labour into the country.

This means that if you are a doctor, engineer, scientist, software developer, academic, and so on, you have a better chance of getting a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK in 2021.

10 Skilled Worker Program Facts under the UK’s New Points-based System

Here are the top 10 facts about the Skilled Worker Route under the UK’s new points-based immigration system in 2021. These facts will help you understand the new immigration system better - how it works, what are the factors that help you earn ‘points’, and so on.

Let’s dive right in!

Fact 1: Your job must meet certain eligibility requirements

The Skilled Worker route requires you to have a job offer from an employer in the UK. Your job in the UK must also meet certain conditions like:

  • your job must be present in the eligible job list and occupation code
  • the job you’re hired for must pay you either the minimum salary threshold or the ‘going rate’ for that job type, whichever is higher
  • your job requires skill RQF3 (A level) or higher

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Fact 2: Your UK employer must be Home-Office approved

Employers who want to recruit foreign talent must be licensed to do so by the UK Home Office for sponsorship.

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is a list of jobs facing a critical shortage of workers to fill in positions in the UK. If a job is listed in the SOL, 20 points are awarded to the candidate seeking to come to the UK through the Skilled worker route.

A total of 70 points are required for a foreign skilled worker to be eligible for the Skilled Worker route.

An occupation listed on the SOL also lowers the minimum salary threshold for an employer by 20 percent. Meaning, they can recruit a talent for £20,4803 instead of the standard £25,600 salary threshold.

Employers who sponsor non-EU skilled workers must pay £1,000 as Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) for Tier 2 (General) and IntraCompany Transfer visas. This amount must be paid for the first year, followed by £500 for each month up to 6 months.

Note: Existing Tier 2 (General) sponsors get a new Skilled Worker licence, with the same expiration date as their current licence, and also receive an appropriate allocation of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

Fact 3: A job must meet the ‘Minimum Salary Threshold’ or the ‘Going Rate’

A-job-must-meet-the-‘Minimum-Salary-Threshold’-or-the-‘Going-Rate’

The Minimum Salary Threshold for any job offer under the UK's new immigration system for a ‘skilled worker’ must be £25,600 or higher.

Now, every job type has its own salary requirements. So if your job type requires that you must be paid higher than the minimum salary threshold, so be it. This specific salary requirement which is unique to your occupation is known as the 'going rate'.

Fact 4: Your job offer must be at skill level RQF3 (A-level) or higher (20)

The UK points-based immigration system awards candidates with 20 points if they hold a job offer which requires skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent).

Below is the RQF level table for LeveL 1 to 8, Level 1 being the lowest level that shows minimum expertise to Level 8 for candidates with a Ph.D in their field of study.

RQF Levels

Educational Qualification

Level 1

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) grades D-G or 3-1

Level 2

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) grades A*-C or 9-4

Level 3

A level

Level 4

1 of a 3 year Bachelor’s degree, Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Level 5

2 of a 3 year Bachelor’s degree, Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation degree

Level 6

Bachelor’s degree

Level 7

Postgraduate, Master’s degree

Level 8

Doctorate

 

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Fact 5: You must have the required level of English Language Skills

Your ability in English is an important factor to the UK points-based immigration system. Proving your knowledge in English earns you 10 points out of the 70 you’ll need to move to the UK.

You must take the Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider which meets the Home Office requirements for foreign immigrants.

Fact 6: Points Table for Skilled Workers under the new UK points-based Immigration System

You need 70 points to be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa. Below is a breakdown of the points you can score under the UK's four deciding factors.

70-Point Table for Skilled Worker Route

Maximum Points

Have a job offer from a licensed UK sponsor

20 points

English Language Skills

10 points

Job offer for Skill Level RQF3 (A-level equivalent) or higher

20 points

Additional 'Tradeable Points' earned

20 points

 

Fact 7: You can earn 20 extra ‘tradeable’ points under the Skilled Worker Route

earn-20-extra-‘tradeable’-points-under-the-Skilled-Worker-Route-1

According to UK’s new points-based system for skilled workers, you can ‘trade’ characteristics such

as your job offer and qualifications against a lower salary.

This amount can be lower than the minimum salary by up to £20,480 or the ‘going rate’ for your job type.

So what does it mean?

If you want to work in the UK but you have a job offer in a STEM field with a salary of £22,000 which is lower than the minimum salary threshold, you will still be eligible for the visa if you can gain some ‘tradeable points’.

For example, if your occupation is listed in the SOL (20 points), or you have a relevant PhD in a STEM subject (20 points), and so on.

Here’s how you can earn the necessary ‘Tradeable points’:

Tradeable points you can earn

Maximum Points

Minimum salary of £25,600 or 'going rate' for the job - whichever is higher

20 points

Job offer in a 'Shortage Occupation List (SOL)'

20 points

You are a 'new entrant' to the labour market

20 points

You hold a Ph.D. in a relevant STEM subject

20 points

You have a Ph.D. in a relevant non-STEM subject

10 points

 

Note: The ‘going rate’ can be higher that the general salary threshold for highly paid occupations like doctors, chief executives and so on.

Tradeable points on Salary Requirements

Maximum Points

Salary of £20,480 (minimum) to £23,039

0

Salary of £23,040 to £25,599

10

Salary of £25,600 or above

20

Salary of £20,480 and job listed in health or education sector meeting national pay scale

20

 

Fact 8: This visa opens up the path to Permanent Residence

If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years with the UK Skilled Worker Visa and if you meet certain eligibility requirements, you can apply for an ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ (ILR). This allows foreign nationals to permanently live, work and settle in the UK.

Fact 9: Doctors and Nurse can apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa

If you are a doctor or nurse, or you are a skilled professional working in health or adult social care, you can apply for the Health and Care Worker visa instead.

It has its own eligibility requirements and is cheaper.

You will be free from the otherwise mandatory payment of the annual health surcharge of £624 for every year that you have lived as an immigrant in the UK. Any immediate family members accompanying you to the UK are also exempt from paying the health surcharge.

Fact 10: You can earn a little ‘extra’ with the UK Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker Route lets you take up additional paid work or unpaid voluntary work alongside working for the job which you were sponsored to do.

You are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week in a job which has the same occupation code and job level as your primary job.

Another option open to you is working for a job on the Shortage Occupation List.

If you want to work for more than 20 hours a week or in a different occupation code, you are required to apply to update your visa and you must be sponsored to do both jobs.

Note: Due to COVID-19, there’s currently no limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer if you have a second job as an NHS doctor, nurse or paramedic.

Key Eligibility Criteria for Skilled Workers

Key-Eligibility-Criteria-for-Skilled-Workers

To be eligible for a the UK Skilled Worker Route,

  • you must score 70 points
  • you must have a job offer from an employer in the UK
  • your UK employer must be licensed
  • your job must pay a minimum salary of £25,600 or 'going rate' for the job, whichever is higher
  • your job requires skill RQF3 (A level) or higher
  • you must speak good English
  • prove evidence of £1,270 in savings (for single applicant)
  • you must have a good medical and character record

How to Apply for the Skilled Worker Visa?

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you must have a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer.

Steps to apply:

  1. Fill the online application form
  2. Prove your identity, upload documents and pay your visa fees
  3. Book an appointment at a visa application centre
  4. Pay the health surcharge of £624 per year
  5. Get your biometric residence permit fingerprints and photo)

Cost of a Skilled Worker Visa

Visa type

Visa application fee (INR)

Skilled Worker

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for three years or less

For main applicant and dependants

63,515

For main applicant (CESC)

57,789

Skilled Worker in a Shortage Occupation

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for three years or less

For main applicant and dependants

48,313

For main applicant (CESC)

42,587

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for over three years

For main applicant and dependants

96,627

For main applicant (CESC)

90,900

Skilled Worker for Health and Care Visa

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for three years or less

For main applicant and dependants

24,157

For main applicant (CESC)

18,430

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for over three years

For main applicant and dependants

48,313

For main applicant (CESC)

42,587

Skilled Worker in a Shortage Occupation for Health and Care Visa

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for three years or less

For main applicant and dependants

24,157

For main applicant (CESC)

18,430

If certificate of sponsorship is issued for over three years

For main applicant and dependants

48,313

For main applicant (CESC)

42,587

 

Visa Processing Time for UK Skilled Worker Route

You will get a decision within 3 weeks after applying for your visa online.

UK New Immigration Rules for 2020-21

From 1 January 2021, EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally. EU citizens now have to meet the same immigration protocols as other foreign nationals who come to work in the UK.

When you meet certain eligibility criteria, you are awarded points. Under the new points system, you need to have 70 points to qualify for a visa for UK immigration.

A sponsorship requirement will apply to the new Skilled Worker route, Student route, Health and Care Visa and few specialised worker routes.

For the Skilled Worker route, you must be sponsored by the UK's Home Office-approved employer who is willing to pay you £25,600 or higher. Skilled workers and postgraduate students can also bring their dependents who can also work in the UK.

The visa switching process is very straightforward and correctly streamlined. You don't have to leave the UK if you want to switch from an existing UK visa to a new immigration route under the UK's new system.

Previously, the UK had a cap on The certificates of sponsorship (CoS) which has been removed from the immigration process. This means that there won’t be a limit to the number of skilled professionals that can come to the UK.

Conclusion

Getting a visa is now much easier than it used to be, especially if you are an IT professional, health care worker or if you are an experienced team lead or manager in your field.

The visa process itself has been made quicker by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) where the decision on whether or not you’ll be getting a visa comes to you within three weeks.

To summarize, here’s a table for UK’s new points-based immigration system for the Skilled Worker Route:

 

Points Table for UK's Skilled Worker Route

Maximum Points

Have a job offer from a licensed UK sponsor

20 points

English Language Skills

10 points

Job offer for Skill Level RQF3 (A-level equivalent) or higher

20 points

Additional 'Tradeable Points' you must earn

20 points

Tradeable points you can earn

Minimum salary of £25,600 or 'going rate' for the job - whichever is higher

20 points

Job offer in a 'Shortage Occupation List (SOL)'

20 points

You are a 'new entrant' to the labour market

20 points

You hold a Ph.D. in a relevant STEM subject

20 points

You have a Ph.D. in a relevant non-STEM subject

10 points

Tradeable points you can earn on Salary

Salary of £20,480 (minimum) to £23,039

0 points

Salary of £23,040 to £25,599

10 points

Salary of £25,600 or above

20 points

Salary of £20,480 and job listed in health or education sector meeting national pay scale

20 points

 

If you have any doubts regarding the new process, you can contact our visa experts at Kansas Overseas Careers.

We specialize in UK visas and have been doing so for over 7 years. Let us help you.

Book a free consultation

Topics: UK, Migrate

Anusha
Anusha

Anusha stands out for in-depth knowledge of Canada, UK and Australia visa process. With 7+years of experience, she adds a lot of worth to the team.

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