The introduction of the UK’s new Points-Based Immigration will end the free movement from 1st January 2021.

The new system ends the discrimination between the EU* and non-EU citizens and transforms the way in which all migrants come to the UK to work.

The point-based system applies to

  • Both EU & Non- EU residents.
  • The PBS applies to anyone coming to the UK to work but it does not include Irish citizens the will have to apply for permission ahead of time.

A specific set of requirements need to be met by all through which they will score points. Candidates with enough points will be given visas.

However, the new system will not apply to EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 with an additional transition measure where the employers can continue to accept the passports and national identity cards of EU citizens as evidence of their right to work up until 30 June 2021.

Some EU Citizens may also choose to evidence their right to work using digital status obtained from the Home Office instead of using their passport or ID card. This can be undertaken by using the Home Office online right to work checking service.

From 1 January 2021, if a recruiter wants to recruit workers from outside the UK’s resident labour market, he/she will need to be a Home Office licensed sponsor.

This will enable the recruiter to recruit workers from anywhere in the world.

As per the PBS for skilled workers, everyone coming to the UK has to demonstrate that they have a job offer from a Home Office Licensed Sponsor which is at the required skill level – RFQ 3 or above (A-Level and equivalent) and proof of set standard English proficiency is required.

Moreover, the job offer must meet the applicable minimum salary threshold which is higher of either; the general salary threshold set by Her Majesty’s Government on the advice of the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) at £25,600, or the salary requirement for their occupation, known as the “going rate”.

Some characteristics are tradable, such as their qualifications, against a lower salary to get the required number of points.

If the job offer is less than the minimum salary requirement but no less than £20,480, an applicant may still be eligible if they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation, a PhD relevant to the job or a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job.

The salary rules are different for both workers in certain health or education jobs, and for “new entrants”.

A total of 70 points are needed to be able to apply to work in the UK. These points are based on:

Categories Points
Age 5-20
English Language 10
Qualification 30-50
Earning 5-20
UK Experience 5
Certificate of Sponsorship 30-50


All jobs have a corresponding Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code, each with a designated skill level. This regulates whether the job meets the requirements of the route.

Other than the skilled worker route, there are a number of other immigration routes such as:

  • Global Talent Route
  • Graduate Route which is open to international students only who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021
  • The intra-company Transfer (ICT) route allows multinational organizations to enable temporary transfers into the UK for key business personnel using their subsidiary branches. This is directly related to ICT sponsorship requirements being met.
  • Start-up and Innovator
  • Health and Care Visa
  • Creative route
  • Sporting Routes
  • Seasonal Workers Pilot and Youth Mobility Scheme. To use either the Skilled Worker or Intra-company Transfer route, the Immigration Skills Charge needs to be paid by a UK employer as a fee for each skilled migrant worker they employ.

For the first 12 months, the employers will have to pay £1,000 per skilled worker, with an additional £500 charge for each subsequent six-month duration.

To become a licensed sponsor in the UK, one needs to check if the business is eligible, choose the type of skilled worker license needed to apply for, decide who will manage sponsorship within the business and finally apply online and pay a fee.

One only needs to apply to be a licensed sponsor if he/she wishes to recruit workers through the skilled worker route from outside the resident labour market from 1 January 2021.

Until then, current immigration rules will apply. A new skilled worker license or ICT license will be automatically provided to existing sponsors, with an expiry date in accordance with their current license.

The standard processing time for an application is usually eight weeks and will start upon receiving the application.

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