The United Kingdom is currently in a transition period which is expected to last until 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, the Government is proposing to issue a new Points Based System very much modelled on the Australian immigration system. Basically, the premise is that all individuals seeking to enter the UK, irrespective of nationality, will need to meet one immigration system. This is following Boris Johnson’s announcement that irrespective of the passport which an applicant holds, they will still need to meet the same immigration system.
Until the new Points Based System is introduced on 1 January 2021, non-European Union (EU) citizens will continue to be able to come to the UK as they do now and those EU citizens who arrive before the end of 31 December 2020 will be able to apply under the current Home Office EU Settlement Scheme. They will have until the end of June 2021 to make an application.
From 1 January 2021, anyone seeking to enter the UK be they from the European Union or otherwise, will need to show their right to be in the UK and the entitlements which they have. All applicants will receive a written confirmation of their immigration status.
For the first time, from 1 January 2021, EU citizens will be required to pay the same Government application fees along with the Immigration Health Surcharge as non-EU citizens have been required to pay and employers in the UK will also be required to pay the Immigration Skills charge, where this applies. Home Office fees can be very significant and often running in to several thousand pounds.
A further intention of the Government is to introduce a universal “Permission to Travel” requirement which will require anyone wishing to travel to the UK, other than British and Irish citizens, to seek permission in advance of their travel. British and Irish citizens will be able to simply present their passport at the border whilst those applicants holding visas will be able to present their visa on arrival. Those entering the UK without visas will need to obtain an electronic travel authorisation before they travel to the UK.
There are many changes afoot insofar as the UK’s immigration system is concerned and UK employers may not unfortunately have as much time as they would like to prepare for the forthcoming changes because of delays in the Government publishing its new rules and procedures. It is very much a question of “watch this space”.