The UK is introducing a points-based immigration system in 2021

points-based immigration system

The UK was introducing a points-based immigration system in 2021. The new arrangements will take effect commencing on 1 January 2021. It will occur once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended. The Home Office will treat all EU as well as non-EU citizens equally. Moreover, people from other countries will come to the United Kingdom to contribute to the UK’s economy. Besides, Irish citizens will continue to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

Skilled workers

The UK government designed a new points-based system for skilled workers. However, they must have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

From January 2021, we should expect the removal of the current annual cap under the Tier 2 (General) visa route. So, it will lower the skills threshold from RQF 6 to RQF 3. It will also eliminate the resident labour market test. Moreover, the minimum general salary threshold will be as low as £25,600 if the worker may earn less than this, but not less than £20,480. Then, they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against your salary. For example, if you have a job offer from the list of shortage occupations or have a PhD relevant to the job.

Employers without a sponsor licence will need to apply for one. They will need it to employ EU nationals outside the UK from 1 January 2021.

Global talent scheme for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

The UK will open a new international talent scheme to the EU, EEA, and Switzerland. It will allow highly skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.

Low-skilled workers

There will not be an immigration route specifically for low-skilled workers. However, we should expect an expansion of the seasonal agricultural visa pilot scheme. 

International students and graduates under the points-based immigration system

The UK will open student visa routes to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. They will be able to apply for a visa to study in the UK if they:

  • have a place on a course
  • can speak, read, write and understand English
  • have enough money to support themselves and pay for their course

A new graduate immigration route will be available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK in the summer of 2021. They’ll be able to work or look for work in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years under the new points-based immigration system.

Other visa routes

EU citizens can apply for short-term work visas in specific sectors (the current ‘Tier 5’) and investor, business development and talent visas (the current ‘Tier 1’) from 2021.

Visiting the UK

EU, EEA, Swiss citizens, and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. All migrants looking to enter the UK for other reasons (such as work or study) must apply for a visa in advance.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020

All EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK before 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

Crossing the UK border

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, Singapore and South Korea will continue to use ePassport gates to pass through the border on arrival. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can also use ePassport gates.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to cross the UK border using a valid passport.

The Home Office may not accept the EU, EEA and Swiss national ID cards for entry to the UK after 2020. However, suppose the EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals begin living in the UK before 31 December 2020 and have status under the EU Settlement Scheme. In that case, they can use their national identity card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

Proving immigration status in the UK

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will use an online service to view their immigration status and to show their status to others.

Employers, landlords and public service providers will continue to accept EU citizens’ passports and identity cards as evidence of their immigration status until 30 June 2021.

Employers can carry out right-to-work checks on EU citizens and their family members in the UK.

Non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens will continue to use physical documents to prove their immigration status.

Source of information:


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