Under the new system – which comes into force on 1st January 2021 – prospective migrants will have to score a certain number of ‘points’ to be eligible for a skilled work visa. As a minimum, migrants will need a job offer, to be proficient in English and earn at least £25,600 a year, with extra skills or qualifications being worth a set number of points.
Alongside the skilled worker visa, a number of other immigration routes opened on 1st December 2020. These include: the global talent visa for those who can show they have ‘exceptional talent’ in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture; the innovator visa for people seeking to establish a business in the UK; and the intra-company transfer visa for established workers who are being transferred by the business they work for to fill a skilled role in the UK.
Post the Pandemic, employers will still be dependent on migrant labour once the economy starts to recover. Businesses will need to apply for a sponsor licence and make a plan for resourcing the “ongoing compliance issues” including right-to-work checks that go with being a sponsor.
The govt has confirmed that although it has decided to phase out the resident labour market test for incoming migrant workers, there are still “subjective grounds” on which the Home Office could refuse a worker visa application. Employers can expect that the Home Office will still want to see evidence of recruitment campaigns being undertaken by way of the adverts - the contents and duration.
On top of the added costs and confusion brought about by the new scheme – and the pandemic still weighing heavily on businesses – there could be a rise in a “black market” of migrant workers, especially where employers are worried they could miss out on new talent.
Although a lot of employers might turn a blind eye to it, or knowingly employ them without the necessary permissions because they want to avoid all of the red tape and fees,
businesses need to be aware that the sanctions are huge, including fines and imprisonment, for knowingly employing someone illegally.
Have you carried out the relevant right to work checks on your staff? Contact us for further advice firstname.lastname@example.org