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Future UK skills-based immigration system


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The UK government wants to introduce a future UK skills-based immigration system after the Implementation Period once/if the UK leaves the EU.

Future UK skills-based immigration system: What will change?


The UK government wants to introduce a future UK skills-based immigration system after the Implementation Period once/if the UK leaves the EU. For more information on why a new UK immigration system is needed after the UK departs from the EU, please refer to our article via this link:

The question is: what will change? What are the main changes that this new skills-based immigration system is supposed to implement?


The Home Office is going digital to ensure immigration control

An Electronic Travel Authorisation will be a compulsory and universal requirement for anyone willing to come to the UK to work, study or join family. This will also apply to EU nationals after the Implementation Period and will be in an electronic format.

This electronic status will allow the Home Office to access migrants’ information on its online database and enable its border officers to track every migrants’ entry and exit from the UK. Therefore, if migrants exceed the duration of their stay or have too many absences to apply for settlement or British naturalisation, this will be recorded on the Home Office’s database.


Highly skilled and skilled workers

The UK government wishes to announce a single route for all nationalities to give access to employment for highly skilled and skilled workers. Those migrants will be able to bring dependants, extend their stay, settle and switch to other routes. Nationals of the ‘lowest risk countries’ will be able to apply for a work permit visa inside the UK.

The Home Office will also aim to reach a decision on work permit visa applications within three weeks.

Furthermore, migrant workers will need a sponsor – mainly an employer which holds a Sponsor Licence. The process should be more straightforward to allow small enterprises with limited funds to apply for a Sponsor Licence.

Currently, there is a limited number of migrant workers who can enter the UK per year. This will be removed and no cap on the number of skilled workers will be imposed.

Lastly, the Resident Labour Market Test, which imposes on employers to advertise the job vacancy for a certain period of time with additional requirements before being able to hire a migrant worker, will be abolished. The UK government recognised that this practice does not offer any protection to British workers and is simply delaying the process for migrant workers.


Lower skilled workers

EU workforce has deeply aided the UK society by providing lower skilled workers primordial for the functioning of the country. The UK government now wants UK companies to change their management to not rely on those workers anymore.

As this could be very detrimental to the UK economy, a ‘transitional measure’ should be introduced. This will be a time-limited route for temporary short-term workers, only for nationals of ‘specified countries’.

Under this route, workers will be able to come to the UK to work for 12 months maximum, with the impossibility to reapply for this visa for 12 months. They will not have access to public funds, nor the possibility to extend their stay, switch to another route or bring dependants or permanently settle in the UK.

Moreover, the Home Office plans to open a seasonal agricultural work permit with a pilot scheme for agricultural workers in 2019.



In the future, everyone will require an Electronic Travel Authorisation to enter the UK to study, even if the course is less than 6 months and the national is visa-free for up to 6 months.

The positive note is that international students (Bachelor and Master) from institutions with degree awarding powers will have 6 months’ post-study leave to find a skilled job. It will be one year for PhD students.

Students studying at bachelor’s level or above will also be able to switch in the UK into a work permit up to three months before the end of their course.


Settlement and British naturalisation

The UK government wishes to ‘refresh’ the Life in the UK test to ‘reflect better modern British values’, suspiciously making it harder to pass.

Furthermore, the English language requirement for British naturalisation applications will also be strengthened.


Should you wish to discuss your immigration matter please do not hesitate to contact our professional team of immigration solicitors at  or call us at 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via


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