UK immigration changes
There are some significant changes in the pipeline for the UK immigration system. The focus is on the High-skilled migration as the government’s purpose is to drive innovation, and support UK jobs and growth.
The upcoming changes are designed to help the UK attract and retain the most highly skilled, globally mobile talent from around the world particularly in academia, science, research and technology.
The government intends to do the following:
- introduce, by March 2022, an elite points-based visa. Within this visa there will be a ’scaleup’ stream, enabling those with a job offer from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa;
- reform to the Global Talent visa, including to allow holders of international prizes and winners of scholarships and programmes for early promise to automatically qualify;
- review the Innovator visa to make it easier for those with the skills and experience to establish an innovative business to obtain a visa;
- launch the new Global Business Mobility visa by spring 2022 for overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK;
- provide practical support to small firms that are using the visa system for the first time;
- modernise the immigration sponsorship system to make it easier to use;
- establish a global outreach strategy by expanding the Global Entrepreneur Programme, marketing the UK’s visa offering and explore building an overseas talent network.
High potential individuals
High Potential Individual route is to make it as simple as possible to come to the UK for internationally mobile individuals who demonstrate high potential. Eligibility will be open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university. The UK government will explore the scope to expand eligibility to other characteristics of high potential. There will be no job offer requirement, giving individuals the flexibility to work, switch jobs or employers and make contributions to the UK economy. The route will also allow eligible individuals to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements.
Scale up route
A scale-up route will also support UK scale-ups by allowing talented individuals with a high skilled job offer from a qualifying scale-up at the required salary level to come to the UK. Scaleups will be able to apply through a fast-track verification process to use the route, so long as they can demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a three year period greater than 20%, and a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the three-year period. UK Government will explore whether scale-ups who can demonstrate an expectation of strong growth in future years may also qualify following a review. The route will allow eligible individuals to work, switch jobs or employers. Individuals will be able to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements. Scale-up Visa, launching in spring 2022 will help the UK’s fastest-growing businesses to access overseas talent. The visa will be open to applicants who pass the language proficiency requirement and have a high-skilled job offer from an eligible business with a salary of at least £33,000.
Global Business Mobility
The new Global Business Mobility visa will also allow overseas businesses and innovative companies greater flexibility in transferring workers to the UK, in order to establish and expand their businesses. Based on the information disclosed so far, this new route will be a hybrid between the current Intra Company Transfer visa and Sole Representative visa, and will involve the use of the online Sponsor Management System. The Home Office is yet to publish more details about this route.
A revitalised Innovator route will allow talented innovators and entrepreneurs from overseas to start and operate a business in the UK that is venture-backed or harnesses innovative technologies, creating jobs for UK workers and boosting growth. The purpose is for the Innovator route to be a competitive offer.
The government plans to do this by:
• Simplifying and streamlining the business eligibility criteria. Applicants will need to demonstrate that their business venture has a high potential to grow and add value to the UK and is innovative.
• Fast-tracking applications. The UK government is exploring a fast-track, lighter touch endorsement process for applicants whose business ideas are particularly advanced to match the best-in-class international offers. Applicants that have been accepted on to the Department for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme will be automatically eligible.
• Building flexibility. Applicants will no longer be required to have at least £50,000 in investment funds to apply for an Innovator visa, provided that the endorsing body is satisfied the applicant has sufficient funds to grow their business. We will also remove the restriction on doing work outside of the applicant’s primary business.
The already introduced Graduate Route for international students with UK degrees allows them to obtain 2 years visa, or for those with PhDs 3 years visa, in order to work in the UK post-graduation.
Global Talent Network
Global Talent Network – Alongside immigration system reforms, the government will launch a Global Talent Network to bring highly skilled people to the UK in key science and technology sectors. This network will work with businesses and research institutions to identify UK skills needs and source talent in overseas campuses, innovation hubs and research institutions to bring to the UK. A concierge service will also be available to support people moving to the UK. The Global Talent Network will launch in 2022 in the Bay Area and Boston in the US, and Bengaluru in India. The government will also maintain the expanded Department for International Trade (DIT) Global Entrepreneur Programme. This will allow the programme to continue to expand its global footprint to bring an extra 100 innovative, highly skilled entrepreneurs to the UK each year.
The above is a summary of what has been published about the planned changes so far and we are waiting for the details to be revealed by the Home Office in due course.
Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021: documents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
UK innovation strategy (publishing.service.gov.uk)