On May 24, 2021, UK Visas and Immigration published a ‘New plan for immigration: legal migration and border control strategy statement.’ The statement outlines the UK government’s vision for legal migration and border control as part of the new plan for immigration in the post-Brexit UK.
The statement promises that over the next 4 years, there will be ‘transformational change’ for everyone who interacts with the immigration system and crosses the border.
The delivery priorities for 2021/2022 include:
- new and reformed immigration routes that support economic recovery
- simplifying the systems and processes to improve the operation for users, staff, and the wider stakeholder community
- implementing digital systems that transform the customer experience for all those who use them, including at the border
- overhauling the operation of the UK border by introducing a universal permission to travel requirement for all coming to the UK (except for British and Irish citizens) and adopting increasing automation
Changes for 2021/2022 as outlined in the statement include:
- Graduate | A new Graduate route to be launched in summer 2021, providing international students with the opportunity to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they graduate. Undergraduate and master’s degree students will be able to stay for 2 years under the route, while Ph.D. students will be able to stay for 3 years.
- Global Talent | Introducing a new pathway for individuals with highly prestigious awards or prizes. This will remove the requirement, for holders of specified awards and prizes, to have the approval of a Home Office endorsing body.
- Unsponsored | Introducing a new, unsponsored points-based route with a particular emphasis placed on those with the skills the UK labor market needs.
- International Sportsperson | Creating a new International Sportsperson route that replaces the current T2 Sportsperson route and the sporting worker aspects of the T5 Creative or Sporting Worker route.
- Temporary Worker | Providing a fully digital process with the ChipChecker facility for EEA nationals for the remainder of the temporary work (previously T5 (Temporary work)) routes. This will include dedicated Temporary Worker routes for creative workers, religious workers, and a range of government-authorized exchange schemes.
- Global Business Mobility | Creating a single, sponsored Global Business Mobility route that will bring together, reform, and expand a number of existing routes, including provisions for intra-company transferees; arrangements for implementing UK trade commitments in respect of contractual service suppliers and independent professionals; arrangements for employees of an overseas business assigned to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary; provisions to accommodate import and export related secondments.
- Simplification | Simplifying and consolidating the rules and making questions on forms easier to answer, with more flexibility around the required evidence on the Graduate, International Sportsperson, family, private life, settlement, and returning residents routes.
- Sponsorship | Redesigning the sponsorship system to speed up end-to-end processing, improve sponsors’ experience and prevent abuse of the system, and providing additional support to SMEs as they adjust to using the sponsorship system.
- Border Crossing Technology | Rolling out new technology at the border, which improves the quality and timeliness of information available at the primary control points (PCP) for Border Force officers.
- Electronic Travel Authorisation | Laying the groundwork for introducing an Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme as part of a wider universal ‘permission to travel’ requirement will mean everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) will need to seek permission in advance of travel.
- Ending ID cards for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens | EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens who were not residing in the UK prior to the end of the transition period or who are not covered by the terms of the Citizens’ Rights Agreements will require a passport to travel to the UK from October 1, 2021.
- Applying UK Criminality Rules | Applying mandatory grounds for refusal on grounds of criminality to serious and persistent criminals whose presence is not conducive to the public good, to ensure the UK is protected from those who pose the greatest threat to society. Refusing entry to anyone seeking to enter as a visitor or coming to the UK for less than 6 months if they have received a custodial sentence of less than 12 months or a non-custodial sentence or out-of-court disposal such as community service unless a period of at least 12 months has passed.
- Online Immigration Status Service | Allowing individuals to view their immigration status and to prove their status to others, such as landlords and employers. By summer 2021, the plan is to have delivered an enhanced support offer for those who are reliant on this service (in the main EEA nationals and BN(O)s), including for those who are less digitally able. Building on the success of the EUSS, they are putting in place system to system services that will allow other government departments and public bodies to check immigration status information directly with the Home Office, instead of the individual having to prove these rights via the online service when accessing public services.
- EU Settlement Scheme | Providing a “grace period” until June 30, 2021, the deadline by which EU citizens who arrived in the UK by 11 pm on December 31, 2020, may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Erickson Immigration Group will continue to send updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.