Under new rules unveiled by Home Secretary Priti Patel last month, free movement will end on 1 January 2021 and a new points-based system will be introduced, which will require at least 70 points for a working visa.
According to Ms Patel, the new system, modelled on the immigration system in Australia, has been designed to create a ‘high wage, high skill, high productivity economy’ in the UK.
The changes are likely to be beneficial to start-ups in the tech sector, as it falls under the shortage occupation list and skilled and/or well-qualified workers will qualify for higher points.
Under the points system, highly skilled workers will be able to come to the UK without a job or a job offer, provided they are endorsed by a ‘relevant and competent body’.
If needing points, applicants will need to meet certain criteria, some of which are mandatory. The points are as follows:
- 10 points if they speak English (mandatory)
- 20 points if they already have a job, an offer or a sponsor (But if in work already, the salary must be more than £25,600 to receive the points)
- 20 points if the job has the proper skill level (mandatory)
- 10 points if the job’s salary is between £23,040 and £25,599
- 20 points if the job is on the shortage occupation list, which includes sectors such as technology
- 10 points if a UK visa applicant has a PhD
- 20 points if the PhD is in science, technology, maths or engineering
However, self-employed and freelance workers will largely be unaffected, needing to apply for visas under existing rules and will not need to be sponsored.