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Education briefing - Immigration round-up

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings

29-06-2021

Welcome to our regular immigration round-up, providing a helpful summary of what's new and in the pipeline for UK immigration, along with links to a wealth of detailed resources and courses at your disposal. 

In this edition, you can find:

We hope you find these updates useful.


UK immigration updates

Migration and Mobility Partnership with India

The Home Office announced an agreement with India on 4th May 2021 which outlines reciprocal changes to the immigration process in each country. Many of the commitments seek to streamline the process in each country for visa applications, post-registration requirements and immigration enforcement action. Proposals include:

  • a new bespoke route for young professionals which will allow 18-30 year-olds to work and live in the UK for up to 24 months. This new programme will work similarly to the current Youth Mobility Scheme, with this category being limited to graduates.  Up to 3,000 visas will be available to Indian citizens seeking to live and work in the UK, without employer sponsorship, for up to two years
  • a new Student Internship category is created for whereby Indian and British students will be able to take up 12 months’ employment with a suitable employer in each country

The changes are to be implemented in both countries on a date to be decided.

New Graduate Route: open from 1 July 2021

The new Immigration Graduate Route will be open for applications from 1 July 2021. It is for eligible international students holding a valid Tier 4 or Student visa who want to work following the successful completion of a course of study at undergraduate-level or above.


 Key points of the Graduate Visa:

  • the Route will be available to all international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK Higher Education Institution
  • students will need to have a valid Student or Tier 4 status at the time of application
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree graduates will be granted a two-year Graduate visa. PhD graduates will be granted a three-year Graduate visa
  • time spent in the UK as a Graduate Visa holder will not count towards settlement
  • no sponsorship from employers is needed in order to work or apply
  • application fee of £700 and Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year of leave
  • students whose Tier 4 or Student status/visas expire prior to 1st July 2021 will not be eligible to apply and there are key dates to enter the UK should the Student have undertaken study abroad due to COVID-19

COVID-19 Checks: temporary adjustments to right to work (RTW) checks update

The Home Office have released updated Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks guidance extending the end date to the temporary adjustments on right to work checking processes until 31 August 2021 (and not from 20 June 2021 as previously mentioned). Employers will now be expected to revert to face-to-face and physical document checks from 1 September 2021 onwards whereby you must:

a)   check the applicant’s original documents, or

b)   check the applicant’s right to work online, if they have given you their share code


Reminder: Retrospective checks

You do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports business during this difficult time.

 

RTW Checks: Full and complete copies

As part of the employer’s duty to conduct RTW checks, the relevant Home Office guidance confirms that you must make and retain clear copies of all relevant pages from the original List A or B document(s) you are checking. For example, both sides of a BRP card or a National Identity card. In addition, the guidance states Passports: any page with the document expiry date, the holder’s nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details, photograph and any page containing information indicating the holder has an entitlement to enter or remain in the UK’.


Ensure: 
where checks are conducted on passports, please ensure that copies of all relevant pages are taken. For example, both the photograph and signatory page are obtained should the signature appear on a different page to the usual photograph/details page.  

 

The deadline for applying under the EUSS is 30 June 2021: Are you ready?

The application deadline for EU nationals and most family members under the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. Whilst there is some prospect of being able to apply slightly later than this, for example, if the delay/failure to apply meets the relevant “reasonable grounds” test. However, it is important that every effort is made to submit an application before this deadline to avoid unnecessary risk of refusal. 


Employer action list:

  • transition to new systems to check right-to-work from 1 July 2021 in line with the new Home Office guidance.  In particular, undertaking online right to work checks for some of your new hires as a matter of course will require an adjustment to current processes                                                                                                                                                      
  • assess the immigration status of internationally mobile employees based outside the UK. For EEA citizens who have occasional duties in the UK, applications under the EUSS, the Frontier Worker Permit programme, Skilled Worker/ICT sponsorship or possible entry as a visitor are all potential solutions to explore depending on the facts of the case

 

Right to Work Checks: Guidance on completing RTW check on EU, EEA and Swiss citizens from 1 July 2021 

From 1 July 2021, the process for completing RTW checks on EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will change. Employers will no longer be able to accept EU passports or ID cards as valid proof of RTW, except for Irish citizens. The Home Office has issued new Right to work checks: an employer's guide confirming the new requirements for right to work checks which will ensure you attract a statutory excuse.

 

Note: Employers are not required to retrospectively check the status of any EU, EEA or Swiss citizens employed before 1 July 2021.

All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue using their passport and national ID cards to prove their RTW in the UK until 30 June 2021.

Digital status guidance: Evidencing immigration status for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens 

The Home Office have issued a guide for those who have successfully applied to the EU Settlement Scheme or have applied for a UK visa (including permission to stay) to assist them  with   accessing their immigration information online in the form of an eVisa and/or generating a share code. The guide outlines how EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can use the View and Prove   service to evidence their RTW in the UK.

 

Travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has produced a collection of guidance and advice documents for British citizens travelling for business to countries in the EEA and Switzerland. These include a range of country specific guides and travel advice documents.

COVID-19: Travel ban, quarantine requirements and traffic light system: how this affects sponsored migrants and visa applicants?


Recap: 
All travellers entering the UK from outside the Common Travel Area (unless exempt) must quarantine upon arrival to the UK. The government have released ‘Red, amber and  green list rules for entering England’ which sets out what travellers must do when they arrive in England with details of all countries and which categories they fall into. Each traffic  light category  has a set list of actions required before travel to England and on arrival in England. The guidance has been updated to reflect the changes in national restrictions which  clarifies length of quarantine periods and circumstances in which you are permitted to leave home during quarantine.

 


Similar guidance can be found for WalesScotland and Northern Ireland under Section 7: Return to the UK.

It should be noted that there are some exemptions: these job roles may be exempt from one of more of the COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

Reminder: It is important to monitor and regularly check the list of impacted countries and requirements for quarantine/entry, as countries are added/removed as do the rules for quarantine and entry to the UK which can impact your future recruitment and sponsorship processes. Recent additions to the 'red list' now include: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad & Tobago. Forward planning should be factored into sponsorship of individuals from these jurisdictions.

Other COVID updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents: The Home Office introduced the Covid Visa Concession Scheme for those who left the UK with valid leave before 17 March 2020 and intended to return to the UK to make an application for Settlement or Further Permission to Stay but were unable to do so as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions. The scheme is available to those impacted as a result of the restrictions for applications to be considered even after leave has expired. The concession deadline has been extended and the scheme is now available until 31 December 2021 (not from 21 June 2021 as previously mentioned).


News

Global Talent Route

This UK immigration visa category attracts talented and promising individuals in specific sectors seeking employment in the UK. The Global Talent eligible prize list, published on 5 May 2021, outlines eligible achievements that applicants can rely on to qualify for a visa under the Global Talent route. Qualifying prizes include those from science, arts, film & television, engineering, dance & theatre awarding bodies.

New laws to ensure the UK has the skills it needs

Parliament has introduced the Professional Qualifications Bill to ensure skilled professionals around the world will have their qualifications recognised in the UK. This will allow the UK to ensure it can respond to the demand for skills currently not being met amongst the current UK workforce. Discussions with international partners are currently underway to support workers with professional qualifications outside of the UK to avoid the hurdles they face in getting their qualifications recognised. It is likely this will impact and change the English language and qualification requirement currently needed for UK working and studying visas.

EU welcomes new scheme to entice highly skilled workers

The EU has announced it will be revising its Blue Card Directive to alter its rules for the entry and residence of highly skilled workers from outside the EU in a big to attract new skills and talent. The new scheme will include flexible admission conditions, qualifications and skills equivalency, flexibility in changing position or employer between EU Member States, family reunification and enhanced rights and beneficiaries.

One-year free extension for health workers

The Home Office have issued guidance to support health workers who may be eligible for a one-year extension to their visa for free as a result of COVID-19. The guidance outlines that the extension should be automatic, on the basis that individual have a visa that expires between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 and that they work for the NHS/independent healthcare provider in an eligible progression. Those who have applied for an extension and paid fees can be eligible to claim a refund. Those affected and eligible can contact UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk for further guidance.


Upcoming public courses

Right-to-Work in 2021 - helping you manage UK immigration

Commencing 21/06/2021 – 23/06/2021 & re-run: 29/06/2021 – 01/07/2021

Training course aimed at those who have responsibility for immigration issues providing guidance to HR, global mobility and legal professionals overseeing and implementing right-to-work checking processes or for those who intend to do so in the future. This course is comprised of the following two modules:

 

1) Module 1: How to exercise the functions of an Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 or Level 2 User.

2) Module 2: Handling right-to-work problems.

Immigration UK - Sponsor licencing modules

Commencing 14/09/2021 – 22/09/2021

This course is first in a series of modular immigration training sessions which we will be offering thorough 2021/2022. It is designed to assist HR, global mobility and legal professionals with understanding fundamental changes to the Immigration system and the impact this may have on compliance duties: compromising of the following four modules:

1) Module 1: Operating effective right-to-work checks.

2) Module 2: Meeting the UK Visas and Immigration Sponsor Duties.

3) Module 3: Introduction to the new Points Based System.

4) Module 4: Managing the new Points Based System.

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For Immigration updates select: Preferences > Service lines > Employment & Labor Law > Immigration and Global Mobility, and select United Kingdom under Jurisdictions of interest.


On the horizon: points to be thinking about

  • Prepare for the off-chance of a Home Office inspection visit following the resumption of sponsor licence compliancy activity reviews.  Ensure you are continuing to comply with your obligations and that you are prepared to meet your sponsor duties. See Gov.UK guidance on your responsibilities for employment and student sponsorship duties.