UK Points-Based Immigration System – 2021 How does it work?

As you know, on first of January 2021, Brexit finally materializes, the UK leaves the European Union (more like crashes out without a trade deal it seems) and the UK point-based immigration system comes in to immediate effect. The right to free movement, work and live in UK of Romanians and all other EU nationals who are not already established in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) will cease immediately. That is, those who do not already have a Settled or Pre Settled Status residence permit, and want to come to the UK will have to follow the UK point-based immigration procedure.

This procedure is very similar to the immigration procedure in Canada, Australia or New Zealand and unfortunately it is just as rigorous as it is in those countries. The system does not apply to those who are already established in the UK by the 31st December 2020. But in order to be established you must already have a NINO and proof of residence, which unfortunately at the present time is impossible to get. It is currently only issued in exceptional circumstances. (e.g. for medical staff or those who come to work in care homes).

On the British government website we can see the official procedure: from the start we see the clear message: Only sponsored skilled workers who have a job offer and know English will be able to immigrate and permanently relocate to the UK! Without these requirements, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get the minimum 70 points required by the UK point-based immigration system. That basically means that the good old days, when anyone from Europe just came to the UK with just a backpack, looked for a room to rent on fb market, and got work anywhere they could, all that is now over!

You will probably say what I and half of the British people said as well: OK fine, but who will work in the factories ?, who will do 12 hours night shifts in the freezing meat and fish processing environment?, in bars and restaurant?, in the warehouses?, who will pick the fruits and vegetables and shovel manure on farms?, who will drive the trucks and lorries?, who will take care of the millions of elderly people in the care homes? It’s pretty obvious by now that the locals are not able or willing to do all those jobs.

…Well, in principle all those jobs will be done by the same Eastern Europeans people. The mass of people needed to fill the gaps in the labor market, are already established here and have already obtained residency rights. The rest of the labor deficit will be covered by Eastern Europeans or Indians that will come to the UK with a fixed-term employment contract and a temporary visa to enter the country. The British government would like that deficit to be filled by the millions of unemployed Britons who stay at home on benefits, but we all know that this is not likely to happen.

The major difference between those already established in England UK and those who will come with a temporary visa and a fixed-term contract, is that the latter have absolutely no right to remain in the UK once they have fulfilled their contract or their visa expires. (whichever date comes first). If they overstay their welcome, they will be declared illegals and deported from the country without the right to return (if they get caught of course). And to make sure that they have no reason to stay any longer, the British government has made it very clear that those without legal residence permits will not be entitled to claim any benefits (unemployment, child allowance, free health care, pension, etc, etc). That is very similar to what the Mexicans who live illegally in the USA experience.

UK Yorkshire

Let’s see how what is the legal procedure to immigrate to the UK in 2021 and how to get the required score of at least 70 points. The UK points-based immigration system consists of 3 mandatory requirements and 5 optional requirements (it does not matter which of the optional are met as long as the final score is at least 70 points):

  • Offer of job by approved sponsorMandatory requirement – 20 points (the list of authorized sponsors will be available on the government website, but will certainly not include small businesses such as bars or car washes);
  • Job at appropriate skill levelMandatory requirement – 20 points (qualifications for each field of work will be decided and classified by the government, and may include an internationally recognized trade diploma, a number of years of experience in the field or both) ;
  • Speaks English at required levelMandatory requirement – 10 points (most likely will be something like IELTS exam, and depending on the field of work will have to get a minimum grade on the exam, for example minimum 5 of the maximum 9);
  • Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) OPTIONAL requirement!10 points. For job offers under 23040 pounds no points are offered! By far one of the biggest obstacles for unskilled workers who usually work on minimum wage. The national minimum salary at the moment is 8.72 pounds per hour. So if you somehow manage to get a permanent contract of 40 hours per week (although no one offers a permanent contract with so many hours in the fields that pay national minimum salary), you would earn a gross annual income of only 18,137 pounds, ie below the minimum threshold. Although a factory or farm worker can easily earn more than that due to overtime and night rate bonuses, it is not taken into account if it is not on the contract as guaranteed income.
  • Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) – OPTIONAL requirement – 20 points; As you can imagine, an annual salary of over £ 25,000 in the UK is not easy to obtain. For example, a chef, a team leader, a technician, a car mechanic, a clothing store manager or a junior IT worker can expect such a salary.
  • Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee – OPTIONAL requirement – 20 points. Fields of work with a high demand for staff are listed and described by the government on their site HERE. They will most likely include categories such as care homes staff, doctors, nurses, construction specialists, academics or IT. The list will be reviewed annually by the British government;
  • Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the jobOPTIONAL requirement – 10 points. To make it clear for everyone: that it is a Doctorate diploma, not a Bachelor’s degree, not a Master’s degree, those are useless.
  • Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job. – OPTIONAL requirement – 20 points. As with the previous requirement, it is a Doctoral degree in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees are not taken into account.
UK London

So considering that the first 3 mandatory requirements will get a candidate 50 points, it shouldn’t be very hard to get the remaining 20 points no? Well…not quite. Unfortunately, most of the optional requirements self include each other, and cannot be obtained independently. Basically: if you are a doctor, you will most likely have a PhD degree, you are also in a field of high demand, and you will also have a job offer with a high salary, easily totaling 110 points.

However, a construction engineer without specialization or site supervisor, is not classified in a field with a shortage of staff, does not have a phD degree, and his only chance will be to receive a job offer with an annual salary greater than 26,000 pounds. Add to this the fact that the employer must prove that he cannot find a candidate on the domestic labor market, and that he needs to bring in one from abroad. Thus our engineer is not really very likely to obtain a residence permit in the UK. Is this fair?

Also take note! If a candidate does get the required 70 points and comes to work and live in the UK, it does not automatically imply that he will get permanent residence rights! But he still has a very good chance of obtaining it as long as he has no problems with the law or the tax office during his stay in the country.

There are also a few special ways to earn the right to live in the UK:

  • Graduate route : those who came to the UK with a student visa can stay 2 years after graduation to look for a job. If they fail to obtain a permanent employment contract in the field in which they graduated, will have to leave the country;
  • Intra-company Transfer – valid for high-ranking employees of multinational corporations who only change location but remain with the same company;
  • Start-up and Innovator: whoever proves that he has a good business idea and wants to set it up in the UK, and as long as the starting capital is at least 50,000 pounds, can come to do so. If the business does well, it will grant him or them the right to live in the UK. So basically if you are rich you are welcome in the UK, how convenient no?;
  • Creative and Sporting Routes: so basically speaking if you are a successful athlete or artist and you receive an offer from the UK, you get to skip the whole UK points-based immigration system. I’m guessing that’s no surprise to anyone;

In theory, this system sounds good for the British, doesn’t it? They get to choose who they want to let in and live in their country, right? The UK point-based immigration system works very well in countries like Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Well, in theory yes, but unlike those countries, in the UK there are a series of loopholes in the background that certain ethnic groups, as well as certain commercial and industrial entities can’t wait to exploit.

Although from 2021, everyone who wants to come to England UK should start at the same level with the same chances based on the UK point-based immigration system, in practice there a few back doors, among which there is a thing called “Ancestry VISA“. Any citizen of the Commonwealth, a confederation composed of countries that are former colonies of the British Empire, can apply for type of visa. Among these countries we have some of the poorest and most populated countries on the planet, countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. These 4 countries alone have a combined population of almost two billion people.

Commonwealth countries map

As you can probably imagine it’s not going to be people of Canada, Australia or Singapore that are going to flock at the British Embassies around the world after Brexit to get such a visa, but rather the earlier mentioned ones.

This 5-year visa, which gives you the right to live and work in the UK, as well as the right to bring your immediate family in UK, can lead to permanent residence rights as well. It can be obtained on the basis of a family connection, respectively if you have or have had a parent or grandfather (natural or adoptive), born in the UK, Britain overseas territories or on a British-flagged ship. In 2019 in the UK there were about 1.4 million Indians ethnics that gained citizenship during our generation, and a few hundred thousand more Africans. Every single one has the right to vote, and pretty much all of them voted for Brexit and are looking forward to 2021. The inevitable void in the labor pool that will result from Brexit’s new restrictions on EU nationals, will be a very good opportunity for them to call over all their friends and family and basically reshuffle the cards in their favor. Not bad right? (Btw: does that sound like taking back control to you?)

And unfortunately, they are not the only ones waiting for the changes. With the exit from the European Union, the United Kingdom will no longer be obliged to comply with European labor law or the European Convention on Human Rights, especially when it comes to rights of foreign temporary workers with fixed term contracts. We can only assume what will result from these two circumstances combined, but if you look at differences between UK and workers rights in the US (both national and foreign), I think you will have a pretty clear idea. I honestly don’t see how any change for the better could come out of this…

What do you think of the new UK point-based immigration system? Will it turn out to be better in time, or will it prove to be a big fiasco? I am waiting for your opinions in the comments section or on the Fb GarciaCalavera.ro page. You can also drop a like there to subscribe to future articles. Thank you.

Check out other expat lifestyle articles: Memories from my first voyage on the Albatros school ship , UK cost of living in England – What salary do you need for a decent living here? ,Which country is better to live in: UK England or France? – Why? ,UK- How much does food cost in UK? – Is it cheaper than East Europe – cost comparison UK vs Romania , UK Residence – How to Apply for SETTLED or PRE SETTLED STATUSWhat do the Romanians in UK think about Brexit – their lives here and is it still worth coming to the UK? , Expat Marriage in England UK – Procedure and Costs , UK – How to get your UK Provisional Learner License , Professional conversion for Seafarers – What can you work ashore?UK NINO – How to get it and how long does it take? , UK Immigration – how much does it costs to relocate to England? ,First 30 days in Hull UK as Expat , Marseille – France one year impressions , How to get PACS in France ,  Expat beginner’s guide to moving to France , First 48 days as expat in Marseille -France ,  After six years at sea

Check out other articles from Romania: Tales of the past – Unique photos of Constanta Trams and Trolleybus in 1991 , Why Romanians are still mourning the communist regime after 29 years , Tales of the past – unique photos of Constanta park and miniature train line in 1991 , Once upon a time in Romania – the lost train line from the park


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