Upcoming changes to the UK Immigration Rules

Immigration

Following the Budget on 3 March 2021 announcing some immigration changes, on 4 March 2021, the Home Office published its first Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules of the year. We summarise some of the key substantive changes below.

Introduction of new visa category

The new Graduate route will be open for applications from 1 July 2021. This visa category will allow international students who have successfully completed their higher education either as a Student or Tier 4 migrant to apply for a 2 or 3 year visa to work (including self-employment).

Skilled Worker route

There are various clarifications and more notably, there is the addition of eight occupations into the Shortage Occupation List in the health and care sectors, including: Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Nursing auxiliaries and assistants, and Senior care workers.

Modern foreign language teachers will also be added to the Shortage Occupation List, but skilled chefs will be removed.

Jobs on the Shortage Occupation List score more points towards the minimum 70 points required in this visa category.

In addition, the minimum hourly rate must be at least £10.10, even if the minimum annual salary threshold is met. These changes will go live on 6 April 2021.

Global Talent

Where applicants have received a “prestigious prize” they will no longer need to seek endorsement from an endorsing body. A prestigious prize includes the following (in specified categories):

  • Academy Awards
  • BAFTA
  • Brit Awards
  • Golden Globes
  • Nobel Prize

Bypassing the endorsement stage allows an applicant to apply directly for the visa, which can save on time and costs. Some of the changes will go live on 6 April 2021 and 5 May 2021.

Changes in other visa categories have not been covered as these are mostly minor amendments.

Other changes on the horizon

From the Budget, we can expect to see in the next 12 months:

  • an elite points-based visa by March 2022
  • review of the Innovator visa
  • launch of the new Global Business Mobility by spring 2022 for overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK – this is possibly a replacement of the current Sole Rep visa category
  • modernising the immigration sponsorship system

Additional Information

  • If you have any questions, regarding UK immigration, the recent changes and the implications of Brexit, please get in touch with Vincent Chung in the Dixcart office in the UK: advice@dixcartlegal.com, or your usual Dixcart contact.

First published: 05 March 2021

The data contained within this document is for general information only. No responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies. Readers are also advised that the law and practice may change from time to time. This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute accounting, legal or tax advice. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.