On 1 December 2020, the Government’s new points-based system was introduced and is now open for applications. Employers will need to hold a Home Office Sponsor Licence to sponsor new EU employees who arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards. Those entering the UK for business, will no longer be able to travel as freely as they used to between the UK and the European Union (EU) and whilst short business trips will generally be permitted, there will be more restrictions and a Sponsored Work Visa will be required.
However, many applicants will not be covered by the Government’s new points system. Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer that is at a required skill level. Whilst the skills level is being brought down from Graduate Level to A Level or equivalent, many jobs may not fall into this category. Arguably, many low skilled jobs can frequently be undertaken by migrant workers and this is particularly so in sectors such as construction, health and social care. Indeed, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been the health and social care sectors which have come to the fore and a light has indeed been shone on those sectors as being extremely important in times of national crisis. Some argue that one of the dangers with the Government’s new system is that it may leave the UK with a shortage of essential employees such as social care workers because they will fall into the definition of being “low skilled”. Time will tell whether the UK will need to re-assess its position and the rules because anecdotal evidence suggests that many employers, large and small, are concerned about significant gaps appearing in their essential workforce.