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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Brexit Means Brexit Despite COVID-19

20 April 2020 Grace McGill Blog

 

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about out there, the Government is adamant that Brexit means Brexit and that there will be no delay to the transition period ,  even if the EU were to offer an extension. A Government official said there were no circumstances in which the UK would delay its departure beyond December 31 2020, despite the disruption to the negotiations caused by the coronavirus crisis “We will not ask to extend the transition. And, if the EU asks, we will say no.

Extending the transition would simply prolong the negotiations, prolong business uncertainty, and delay the moment of control of our borders” https://www.ft.com/content/3c006614-767f-4447-8136-97987045517f

And just incase it slipped by unnoticed, the Government published its agenda for the second round of UK-EU future relationship negotiations which are ongoing this week 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/second-round-uk-eu-future-relationship-negotiations-20-24-april

The consequence of this is that freemovement of EEA workers in the UK WILL come to an end , as planned on 31st December 2020 .

As of the  1ST January 2021, all EEA nationals  with no other entitlement to work in the UK, will be subject to the same rigours of the Tier 2 of the points based system and all employers looking  to get their businesses back up and running,  will require to ensure that they have a Tier 2 licence in place to sponsor a migrant worker .

As we  know,  a new immigration system is proposed for January 2021which is likely to have some significant changes throughout but is yet to be finalised. It is welcome though,  especially at this time, that the minimum skill level for sponsorship will be reduced from RQF level 6 to RQF level 3. This means that jobs which are considered to be of A-level standard can be sponsored, instead of the Bachelor’s degree qualifications which are presently required . The resident labour market test is to be withdrawn….. at last.

Employers who don’t currently use the sponsorship system but think they may need  to recruit overseas workers,  especially at this redu ced skill level, can apply now for a sponsor licence. In updated sponsor guidance, the Home Office has added a new Annex 9 aimed at businesses that want to get their applications ready for submission :

The new points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer (‘sponsor’). This will replace the existing Tier 2 (General) route. From 1 January 2021, the job will need to be at a required skill level of level 3 or above on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), or the equivalent level in Wales or Scotland. This is approximately equivalent to A-level standard. The migrant will need to be able to speak English. The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600 (with lower salaries in certain circumstances, such as new entrants to the labour market).

If you are not currently approved to be a sponsor but think that you are likely to need to sponsor skilled migrant workers from 1 January 2021, you can apply for approval (a ‘sponsor licence’) now. You will need to show that you will be able to offer genuine employment skilled to level RQF3 or above. Details of which jobs are currently considered to be RQF3 or above are contained in Appendix J to the Immigration Rules.

Employers still require to meet the eligibility and suitability criteria and provide the evidence as stipulated at Appendix A .

Whilst all of this may not be on everyone’s radar at present, if employers are starting to prepare for life after lockdown, it is advisable to start preparations and get ahead of the inevitable last minute surge of applications even if there is no existing  vacancy to be filled by a migrant worker at the present time.

Tier 2 & 5 sponsor guidance APRIL 2020

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878158/2020-04-03_Tier-2-5-sponsor-guidance_Apr-2020_v1.0.pdf

 

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