UK Government’s ‘White Paper’ – Key proposals for new UK Immigration laws Post-Brexit

September 14, 2023

The government’s ‘White Paper’ document which sets out proposals for new UK immigration laws post Brexit was published by the government on 19 December 2018.

The three main aims of the White Paper are:

  1. To end the freedom of free movement;
  2. For a single immigration system which will apply to all migrants wishing to enter the UK, with no preferential treatment for migrants from the EU; and
  3. For an emphasis on skills and talent rather than nationality.

The key proposals for UK businesses from the white paper are:

  • Scrapping the current Tier 2 cap on the number of skilled workers allowed to come and work in the UK

 Following recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (‘MAC’) earlier this year, the government intends to abolish the cap of 20,700 which is currently set under the Tier 2 skilled worker category.

  • A further consultation on a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking 5-year work visas

Under the Tier 2 (General) skilled worker category, the minimum salary threshold is currently set at £30,000 and £20,800 for new entrants, however, there will be a further consultation in the spring of 2019 whether the minimum salary threshold would continue to apply for skilled migrant workers.

  • Removal of the Resident Labour Market Test (‘RMT’) requirement on employers that sponsor skilled workers

Following the MAC’s recommendation, the proposed new immigration laws will no longer require employers under the Tier 2 category to carry out an RMT as a condition of sponsoring a worker i.e. no requirement to advertise the vacancy for a 28-day period.

  • To widen the skills threshold to include people with qualifications equivalent to ‘A Levels’

The current skills threshold under the Tier 2 skilled worker category is currently set at RQF Level 6, however, under the new proposals, the new skilled route will include workers at RQF 3-5 skill levels (A level or equivalent) as well as graduate and post-graduate levels.

  • Lower skilled workers

The government’s white paper has also proposed a transitional measure to allow low skilled workers from the EU and other Non-EU “low risk” countries to enter the UK without a job offer and seek work for a maximum period of 12 months.

This route will only be open to nationals of specified “low risk” countries with which the UK negotiates migration commitments and mobility proposals. Unfortunately, the government has not stated which countries are classed as “low risk”.

The low skilled worker system will operate until at least 2025 in a bid to ease the impact of Brexit.

The disadvantage for this proposed category is, there will be a “cooling off period” after the 12 months period e.g. the migrant will be required to leave the UK and will not be able to return to the UK to seek employment until after the 12 months “cooling off” period.

If your business requires further information in relation to the government’s ‘white paper’ and how it could affect your business, please feel free to contact us on 0161 8266922.

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