BEIS White Paper on Audit Reform: Will Kwarteng's reforms really unchain entrepreneurs?
In order for EU citizens residing in the UK before 31 December 2020 to continue to stay, they are required to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The EUSS was created through domestic legislation and is the vehicle through which EU citizens and their family members must apply to remain in the UK. The application process has proven itself to be fairly straightforward for most applicants, with the key criteria being whether the applicant has been residing in the UK for a continuous five-year period. If that is the case, settled status (indefinite leave to remain) will be granted. If not, pre-settled status (limited leave to remain) will be granted.
The EUSS is not a ‘one size fits all’ process. Since its inception, EU citizens have begun to realise that in some cases they must revert to the ‘old’ EU regulations and first regularise their status before being able to apply under the EUSS. For example, if an EU citizen is in an unmarried partner relationship with a third-country national, they first have to apply under the EU regulations for a Registration Certificate as a family member before applying under the EUSS. Assuming their EUSS application is successful, if they are granted settled status, the EU citizen could, after 12 months, then apply for British citizenship. If the EU citizen is granted pre-settled status this would be for five years and they can go on to apply for settled status.
In either case, EU citizens will be able to continue to reside in the UK for the long term. Those residing in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have to apply under the EUSS by the deadline of 30 June 2021.
EU citizens arriving in the UK for the first time after 1 January 2021 will be subject to new Immigration Rules. They will no longer be able to rely on free movement rights and will need to apply for a visa before being able to work in the UK. On 19 February 2020, the Home Office released a policy statement on the intended rules for EU citizens arriving in the UK from the start of 2021.
Within the policy statement, there are references, as expected, to a new points-based system for the UK. The UK has actually had a points-based system since 2008 and the new intended rules from the start of 2021 will largely be based on existing application categories.
In particular, for sponsored skilled workers, the Tier 2 category (which may be known by a different name under the new system) will continue to apply. The category is being made more relaxed for what is classed as ‘skilled’ roles so that more types of jobs will qualify. There are welcomed changes being suggested, such as the requirement in some circumstances for employers to pre-advertise the role and check that there are no resident workers able to undertake the role, and the monthly quotas are due to be abolished. As a result, non-EU citizens will find it easier to apply for a sponsored worker visa than they have done to date. This was probably not the UK government’s intention, given the frequent negativity around immigration and wanting to reduce migration to the UK. But conversely of course, EU citizens will have much more difficulty in applying for a visa before they come to work in the UK.
As a result, UK employers will find they need to give much more resources, time and money towards visa applications for EU citizens. Many UK employers will not be familiar with engaging in the UK immigration system if they have not generally been required to employ non-EU citizens. Equally, many employers, which will generally be small and medium-sized organisations, will this year be required to apply for a sponsor licence so that they are able to recruit skilled sponsored EU workers from the start of 2021. While the processing times for such sponsor licence applications are generally quite quick – completion is often within around four weeks – we expect those processing times to be delayed as more employers apply throughout 2020. An additional consideration will be cost. Current government fees for a non-EU citizen to be sponsored to work in the UK for five years would be approximately £7,500. This figure does not include the government sponsor licence fee which is normally an additional £1,476, although such a payment is only required every four years.
There is also the issue of compliance as all sponsor licence-holding employers are subject to an audit on a pre-arranged or unannounced basis. There is some degree of uncertainty in relation to the extent to which the Home Office will be able to visit all employers, as even to date it has struggled with the caseload. The indications are that the Home Office fully intends to continue with an environment of full compliance.
On any view, the UK government’s timeline for delivering these new Immigration Rules was always going to be tight. They have suggested recently that the new Immigration Rules will be available for employers to see from October 2020, ready for EU citizens and everyone else to use from 1 January 2021. This is an incredibly ambitious target, when the UK immigration system dates back almost 50 years, to 1971. An overhaul of such magnitude would take years, not several months as per the government’s timeline.
However, like all aspects of life at the moment, COVID-19 is inevitably having a huge impact on the UK immigration system and around the world. It is almost unavoidable that the Home Office will be required to apply its resources to working on new COVID-19-related guidance and its repercussions, and not the new rules to be applicable from the start of 2021. It therefore calls into question the ability of the government to deliver on its promise that EU free movement will cease from the end of 2020. As it stands now the UK government must request an extension to the transition period by 1 July 2020. Given this is in the next few months, we are at a standstill as to whether this is going to occur. Rather interestingly, voices from the EU are advocating an extension to the transition period as it is apparent that economically both sides are likely to suffer financial hardship. With an extension, even until the end of 2021, it would of course mean that free movement could continue, and sensibly would also allow more time for trade negotiations.
It also calls into question the ability of EU citizens to register their status before the deadline under the EU Settlement Scheme. While many EU citizens are able to apply online, some are required to attend in person and would be unable to do so in the current situation.
As UK employers await the new 2021 Immigration Rules, there would be an audible sigh of relief if the plans were delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This article first appeared on the website of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association, and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association, London, UK. © International Bar Association.
Marcia Longdon is a partner in our business immigration team. She has specialised in immigration, nationality and European law for over 20 years. She has a collaborative approach with the Home Office and government officials and is often invited to participate in consultations and round table discussions on changes to UK and European immigration.
The Nationality and Borders Bill, the government’s signature piece of legislation on immigration, shows questionable priorities at a time when the UK is in the midst of a wider immigration crisis.
The Youth Mobility Scheme allows employers to access younger workers from countries such as India and Iceland for two years. With skills shortages afflicting critical sectors, now might be the time for the government to consider a youth visa agreement with the EU.
From being the centrepiece of England’s post-Covid recovery with ‘eat out to help out’, the hospitality sector is now struggling to rebuild after lockdowns, furlough and rising food prices. At the same time many restaurants, cafes and pubs are coming up against the hard realities of a post-Brexit immigration policy and discovering what it means for their business.
You have come to the end of your long immigration journey, paid thousands of pounds to UKVI to obtain permission to enter, permission to stay and then, finally, indefinite leave to remain (ILR) (also called settlement). When obtaining ILR, individuals may understandably breathe a sigh of relief – it’s over! For many who, for various reasons, choose not to naturalise or register as British, ILR can provide adequate status to live and work in the UK permanently.
The vast majority of EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who were UK residents by the end of last year were able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June 2021 deadline. Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme meant that an EU citizen could stay in the UK for the long term.
The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) was 30 June 2021. But for those who missed it – all is not lost. The Home Office will continue to accept applications from individuals with ‘reasonable grounds’ for having missed the EUSS cut-off point. In this blog, we explore what might constitute a ‘reasonable ground’ and consider the legal implications for those who have fallen short of the deadline.
In February 2019, shortly after the launch of EU Settlement scheme for EU nationals to apply for their UK status, my colleagues and I visited one of our global media client’s offices to present on the new EU Settlement Scheme at a town hall meeting with all of their EU national employees.
Gone are the days of computer gaming being viewed as a secluded activity; gaming is now a thoroughly social experience that attracts a global audience of millions and players can compete for large sums of money and celebrity. This burgeoning industry is largely in a virtual world and has developed in a blockchain, decentralised fashion. Often the UK government talks up the UK gaming industry and how keen the government is to support this sector, and there have been instances that show support, but when it comes to playing games competitively, law and regulations have not yet caught up.
The UK left the EU in January 2020, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement there has been a grace period in place since 1 January 2021 which ends on 30 June 2021. The basis of the grace period is that those EU citizens (and EEA and Swiss citizens) who were residents in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
The furore around the announcement by a number of football clubs of their intention to create a European Super League has led to governments displaying their opposition to the idea and issuing threats on the legislative leverage that could be used to stop the breakaway league from getting going.
On 9 March 2021, the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) and Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) published a new memorandum of understanding agreement (“the MoU”). The MoU seeks to increase the effectiveness of the two organisations’ work in safeguarding the wellbeing and rights of people receiving health and social care in England, through developing a supportive framework and strategic partnership.
Any sense of a post-Brexit slowdown in UK immigration changes was quickly swept away last week with a thorough spring clean and polish to a wide range of rules. As is commonly the case at this time of year, a statement of changes in the Immigration Rules was released in advance of 6 April when many of the changes will come into force. We set out the main changes below and also include a quick summary of the headlines from the Budget on how new immigration categories aim to assist with the economic recovery.
COVID-19 has had a severely damaging affect on all organisations and no less so those in the charitable sector. Be that on a dramatic hit to donation levels, resourcing issues through furloughing or redundancies and difficulties in delivering programmes and training. In a battle to survive and deliver on core services, it is easier than ever to forget crucial internal risk and compliance processes.
The COVID - 19 pandemic will certainly go down in history as one of the worse periods in modern times. Many of us will have stories to tell the future children about a time when the world was held to ransom by the pandemic and people were forced to stay home and could only leave if they had a legitimate reason, such as going out for medicine or food. So, what of those who are “home” but, don’t have the choices we do?
The Tech Nation Visa (officially known as the Global Talent visa) enables the brightest and best tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, contributing their cutting-edge expertise, creativity and innovation to maintaining the UK’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy.
The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) visa has officially opened for applications on 31 January 2021. Given the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the BN(O) visa, it is quite understandable that applicants may still have questions about this visa route and personal considerations on applying.
In this blog we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the BN(O) visa to help you consider whether this is the right UK visa path for you and your family. Our earlier blog also details the key highlights of the visa.
EU free movement rules ended for the UK on December 31 2020. As a result, recruiting an EU citizen who is not already living in the UK now involves a visa application.
Citizens’ Rights were one of the first and most important components to be negotiated and protected in the November 2019 Withdrawal Agreement. However, whilst the rights of British citizens resident in the EU and EU citizens resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 are protected, free movement of people ended on that date.
As covered in our previous blog, the end of free movement will affect the ability of entertainers from the EU to work in the UK. But recent press has also surrounded the ability, or lack of it, of touring British citizen performers to work in the EU.
The UK’s Immigration Rules include general grounds for refusal which most immigration applications must not fall foul of – the general grounds are divided between mandatory and discretionary grounds, under which applications must or may be refused respectively. The general grounds now also apply to most EEA nationals wishing to enter the UK.
Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility