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Immigration round-up: March 2021

Immigration round-up: March 2021
  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration


Welcome to the first of our regular immigration round-ups, 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

EU Immigration Portal

Moving to the EU?

The European Commission has introduced a new EU Immigration Portal to provide practical information about working or studying in the EU for more than 90 days. The portal also includes information on how to join family in the EU and details on rights whilst in the EU for those already residing in an EU jurisdiction.

Home Office: Employer Partner Pack

The Home Office has launched an Employer Partner Pack which includes resources to support with recruiting under the new points-based immigration system for EU hires. The materials available include:  

Podcast: Providing overview and practical steps to understand The Business and Future of Immigration in 2021

Factsheet: With guidance for employers on Becoming a licenced sponsor of skilled migrant workers

Guidance:  An introduction for employers covering the new immigration routes and an over view on Frontier Worker Permits for EU Citizens

Factsheet: With key information for employers on the UK Points-based Immigration System.

COVID-19: Travel ban, quarantine requirements and red list: how this affects sponsored migrants and visa applicants?

All travellers entering the UK from outside the Common Travel Area (unless exempt) must quarantine upon arrival to the UK. Please see guidance if you are arriving in England and have not been in a ‘red list’ country in the last 10 days. Similar guidance can be found for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. For anyone travelling through or visiting a 'red-list travel ban’ country in the 10 days before arrival to the UK, there is now need to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel for 10 days upon arrival 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.  

Deadline for collecting BRP and registering with the police

As a result of the quarantine requirements, applicants must prioritise self-isolation upon arrival to the UK. Your BRP will be available for collection once the applicant is in the UK. However, as a result of Covid-19, the collection window has been extended and the BRP card will be held at the Post Office/collection point for 90 days from the start date on the vignette.

We understand that those who need to register with the Police, are still required (in UKVI correspondence) to do so within 7 days of arriving in the UK or obtaining a new BRP card. There are no published changes to this as a result of the quarantine rules but we recommend that you seek consent to attend the station before doing so to ensure appropriate safety steps are taken if needed.

Updated advice for UK applicants and temporary UK residents

The Home Office have further updated their Covid-19 guidance for visa customers and applicants in the UK and outside the UK. It is important to keep up to date with this guidance as it is continually updated by the Home Office to reflect the ever-changing pandemic.

If you are in the UK: applicants are expected to take reasonable steps to leave the UK where possible to do so or regularise their stay. For those whose visa expires by 30 June 2021, can request additional time to stay in the UK if they are unable to leave by applying for exceptional assurance. Details on submitting exceptional assurance applications can be found under the ‘If you’re in the UK’ section of the guidance.

Rule Changes to Shortage Occupation List 

The Home Office have announced changes to the Shortage Occupation List to provide greater opportunity for foreign workers in key health and care roles to come to the UK. Some of the roles to be added to the List include: Pharmacists; Laboratory Technicians; Senior Care Workers; Health Services and Public Health Managers and Directors and Nursing Assistants.

Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (4 March 2021)

The Home Office have published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC 1248. Some of the main changes outlined in the policy paper include:

  • Updates to the Shortage Occupation list – See ‘Rule Changes to Shortage Occupation List’ for full details.
  • Changes to EUSS – From 1 July 2021 further guidance and changes to the EU Settled Status Scheme are to be enforced surrounding the eligibility of EEA family members.
  • Applicants who apply under the Global Talent route will be eligible to bypass the endorsement requirement if they have received a prestigious prize as set out in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prize.
  • Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas) – Amendments are to be made to visa conditions under this route.
  • New hourly rate minimum for Skilled Workers – The salary for the job which an applicant is being sponsored for under the Skilled Worker route must equal or exceed all of the following:

(a)  £25,600 per year; and
(b)  £10.10 per hour; and
(c)  the going rate for the occupation code.

Graduate Route to open to international students on 1 July 2021

The new Immigration Graduate Route is for eligible international students who want to work following the successful completion of a course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above.

Key points of the Graduate Visa:

  • The Route will be available to all international students who have completed a degree 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.

Hong Kong BN(O) visa: UK Government launch a digital process

The Home Office have announced that as of 23 February 2021, applicants for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa with certain biometric passports will be able to apply using the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone ‘ChipChecker’ app to scan their passport and biometric data instead of attending a visa application centre.


Landmark EU Settlement Scheme reaches five million applications

The Home Office recently announced it has hit the milestone after receiving five million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme with 4 months still to go before the deadline of 30 June 2021.

Alerts, webinars and resources

In our latest ‘Brexit: Understanding the outcome of the UK-EU trade deal’ podcast, our international panel of lawyers discussed the key points of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement, and the vital aspects of trade and governance between the EU and UK that will impact in house teams in 2021 and beyond, including Immigration & Labor standards; Data; Trade; Single Energy Market and State Aid/Subsidies.

Bookmark: Brexit legal publication hub: resources and guides

Upcoming public courses

Sponsor licencing modules - helping you manage UK immigration: Training course aimed at those who have responsibility for immigration issues providing guidance to HR, global mobility and legal professional overseeing and operating the Sponsor Management System or who intend to do so in the future. This course is comprised of the following four modules:

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

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.

Subscribe to receive training updates, briefings and event information

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

  • Key date: EU Settlement Scheme deadline: 31 June 2021. Download the Home Office materials from the EU Settlement Scheme Employer Toolkit and share them with EU workforce to inform them about the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Review: The Right to Work: Employer Factsheet to understand the key points on undertaking right to work checks for EEA nationals from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.
  • Consider: Future recruitment campaigns and vacancies for current students in line with the launch of the Immigration Graduate Route from 1st July 2021.