What is the UK Start-Up route and who is it aimed at?

The UK Start-up route is a business immigration visa aimed at individuals who want to set up a business in the UK for the first time. They don’t need to be a graduate or have secured any initial funding in order to apply for the visa. However, you will need to have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea that has been approved by an endorsing body. In this post, we look at what is the UK Start-Up route and who is it aimed at?


What is the UK start-up route?

The Startup Visa is a new visa route in the UK that allows entrepreneurs from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to set up a business in the UK.

The route replaced the previous Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa and is mainly aimed at entrepreneurs looking to establish a business for the first time.

Who is the start-up route aimed at?

The Start-up route is aimed at early-stage, but high-potential, entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in the UK for the first time.

Generally, Start-up route applicants will not already have started setting up their business in the UK. However, where they have, the new business should not yet have started trading. The only exceptions to this are if the applicant has already been granted leave under the Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) categories, or under the Tier 4 doctorate extension scheme.

If you are an experienced businessperson seeking to establish a business in the UK then the Innovator visa may be more appropriate. If you wish to join an already trading business, then the Skilled Worker visa may be more suitable.

What is the criteria for the UK Start-Up Route?

In order to qualify for a Start-up route, you will need to meet the following criteria:

-You are at least 18 years old;
-You have not previously established a business in the UK (unless you previously held leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur);
-You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has assessed your business idea for innovation, viability, and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend the majority of your working time in the UK on developing your business venture;
-Your endorsement letter was issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Start-up visa application;
-You genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in your application;
-You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening, and speaking);
-If you are outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months then you have at least £1270 to support yourself, plus £285 for a dependent partner, £315 for a first child, and £200 for each additional child

If you’re interested in applying for the UK start-up route, we can help. Our team of experienced business immigration lawyers are on hand to guide you through the application process. Contact us today to learn more.

UK Visa Processing and Decision Waiting Times

UK Visa Processing and Decision Waiting Times

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has recently published service standards for waiting times for decisions on visa and immigration applications.  Here, we look at UK Visa Processing and Decision Waiting Times, including the Home Office service standards for waiting times, current Home Office visa processing times, options for securing a faster decision on a visa or immigration application, and how to challenge a delay in the processing of a UK visa or immigration application.  

UK Visa Processing and  Decision Waiting Times – standard processing times

If a UK visa application includes all relevant information and supporting documents (and the Home Office does not need to request further evidence or explanation) then the following standardised waiting times should apply:

  • Non-settlement visa applications submitted outside the UK: 90% to be decided within 3 weeks; 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date (where 1 week is 5 working days);
  • Settlement visa applications submitted outside the UK: 98.5% of settlement applications to be decided within 12 weeks of the application date and 100% within 24 weeks of the application date (where 1 week is 5 working days);
  • Applications for leave to remain submitted within the UK, including as spouses, workers and students: 8 weeks to be decided;
  • Applications for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) submitted within the UK: 6 months to be decided;
  • Applications for no time limit (NTL) submitted within the UK: 6 months to be decided;
  • Organisations seeking to sponsor a worker: 8 weeks;
  • Organisations updating their sponsor licence details: 18 weeks.

The processing time standard for applications submitted via the priority service and super-priority service is 5 working days and the next working day respectively, where these services are available.  Applications for a sponsor licence submitted via the pre-licence priority sponsor licence service should be decided within 10 working days.

What Factors Affect UK Visa Processing Times?

There are a number of factors which can delay UK visa processing times including: 

  • The complexity of the case, 
  • Concerns regarding suitability requirements such as criminality; 
  • Consideration of any adverse immigration history; 
  • Any concerns regarding the authenticity of documents; 
  • The volume of documents provided; 
  • Whether further investigations are required or an interview is scheduled; 
  • The capacity of caseworkers; and 
  • The time of the year.

There is no published service standard for waiting times for more complex applications and UKVI has a wide margin of appreciation with regard to the timing of their decisions. 

Home Office decision-making is sometimes delayed.  In the last couple of years, many UK visa applicants have experienced extended waiting times during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Currently, as we outline below, decisions on some UK visa applications are being delayed again as the Home Office seeks to prioritise Ukraine Visa Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

For expert advice and assistance regarding a UK visa application, contact our immigration lawyers on here for a free, no-obligation consultation. 

The English Language requirement test when applying for a visa to work in the UK

The English Language requirement test when applying for a visa to work in the UK

To apply for a skilled worker visa, an applicant must meet the English language requirement. The way in which an applicant can satisfy this requirement will depend on their circumstances. Here, we discuss the English Language requirement test when applying for a visa to work in the UK.

Awarded a degree taught in English

Where an applicant holds a qualification that is equivalent to at least a UK Bachelor’s degree which was taught in English, this may be evidence of their English ability.

Country in which degree was taughtEvidence required
UKThe degree certificate, transcript, or a letter that confirms the qualification has been awarded.
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica,
Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica,
Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St
Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines,
Trinidad and Tobago, United States of
America
A degree taught in one of these countries will always be assumed by UVKI as having been taught in English.
However, applicants will need to apply for
confirmation their degree is equivalent to at least a UK
bachelor’s degree. Applicants must use Ecctis Visa and
Nationality service (English proficiency) to obtain this
confirmation.
Rest of the WorldIf the applicant was awarded their degree in one of these
countries, they must apply for confirmation that the
the degree was taught in English and is equivalent to at least a UK bachelor’s degree. Applicants must use Ecctis Visa and Nationality service (English proficiency) to obtain this
confirmation.

Passing an approved English language test at the required level

If the applicant has not been awarded a degree taught in English which is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree and they do not fall into one of the exemptions below, they would need to pass an approved English Language test. The English language test will assess the applicant’s ability in listening, speaking,
reading and writing. The applicant’s proficiency must be at least Level B1 on the CERF scale.

The approved test providers an applicant can choose from will depend on whether they are making their applicant in the UK or not.

Test providerLocation application shall be madePass requirements
Trinity College London Inside the UK-Listening: Pass
-Speaking: Pass
-Reading: Pass
-Writing: Pass
IELTS SELT ConsortiumInside or outside the UK-Listening: 4.0/9.0
-Speaking: 4.0/9.0
-Reading: 4.0/9.0
-Writing: 4.0/9.0
LanguageCertInside or outside the UK-Listening: 33/50
-Speaking: 33/50
-Reading: 33/50
-Writing: 33/50
PearsonInside or outside the UK-Listening: 43/90
-Speaking: 43/90
-Reading: 43/90
-Writing: 43/90
PSI Services (UK) LtdOutside the UK-Listening: Pass
-Speaking: Pass
-Reading: Pass
-Writing: Pass

Exemptions

Applicants are exempt from meeting the English language requirement if they:


-Are aged 65 and over;
-Are aged under 18;
-Have a disability (physical or mental condition) that prevents you from meeting the requirement.

Further, individuals who are citizens of one of the below-listed countries will automatically meet the English language requirement:


-Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America.

Applicants who have previously met the English language requirement as part of a previous visa application, for example, a student visa, will also automatically meet the English language requirement.


How we can assist

We hope that you have found this post on The English Language requirement test when applying for a visa to work in the UK useful. At Davenport Solicitors, we’re experts in business immigration and advise many businesses on the immigration and employment aspects of recruiting and employing overseas nationals in the UK and individuals with the requirements of work visas. If you would like to speak to a member of our team, you can contact our team here.

Thinking of hiring migrant workers? Here is what you need to know

hinking of hiring migrant workers? Here is what you need to know

For some business owners, hiring foreign workers is almost essential due to the nature or requirements of their business.  Whatever your pre-requisite for employing someone from outside the UK, you must be mindful of certain rules and requirements that foreign workers need to adhere to if they want to work in the UK. Is your business is thinking of hiring migrant workers? Here is what you need to know

The UK Immigration System

Since 1 January 2021, everyone (except for UK and Ireland nationals) has required immigration permission if they want to work in the UK. 

Following Brexit and the end of freedom of movement, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals (and certain family members) who arrived in the UK before 11 pm on 31 December 2020 had until 30 June 2021 to apply for (pre-)settled status under the EUSS in order to retain the right to live and work in the UK. It is still possible to apply under the scheme if individuals meet one of the criteria for the later deadline apply, or have reasonable grounds for not applying before the deadline, but this will only apply in limited circumstances.

All nationals from outside the UK and Ireland looking to work in the UK who are not eligible to apply under the EUSS and do not have an alternative route of entry (for example, eligibility for a visa as a spouse/civil partner of a UK or Irish national or person settled in the UK) will need to obtain a visa under the Points-based system (PBS).

Points Based System

The main business immigration routes under the PBS include:

  • Skilled Worker – for individuals in skilled roles sponsored by a UK employer. This route replaced the previous Tier 2 route.
  • Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) – for overseas employees moving to a linked UK entity. This route replaced the previous Intra-Company Transfer route. 
  • Global Business Mobility (UK Expansion Worker) – for senior managers or specialist employees who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK related to a business’s expansion to the UK. This route replaced the previous Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.
  • Global Talent – for leading individuals in academia/research, the arts and digital technology, who have been endorsed by a Home Office-approved body.
  • Start-Up – for entrepreneurs who have been endorsed by a Home Office-approved body to set up a business in the UK.
  • Graduate – for individuals who are already in the UK under a student visa and who meet various eligibility criteria. The visa allows the graduate to stay in the UK for 2-3 years to look for, or undertake, work. There are no restrictions on the type of work that graduates can do under this type of visa and it does not require sponsorship.
  • Innovator – for individuals who have been endorsed by a Home Office-approved body to set up an innovative new business in the UK, which is different from anything else on the market.
  • Scale-Up (opens from 22 August 2022) – for individuals with a skilled job offer from a “qualifying UK scale-up” (broadly speaking, a fast-growing business that holds a sponsor license and meets certain criteria).
  • High Potential Individual (opened from 30 May 2022) – for individuals who have graduated from a top global university within the last 5 years. This visa allows individuals to obtain a work visa for between 2 and 3 years without the need for a sponsor.

Right-to-work checks

All UK employers (whether sponsors or not) are required to prevent the employment of illegal workers by conducting a “right to work check” on all employees before the start of their employment. If an employer is found to have employed an illegal worker and has not conducted right-to-work checks, they risk a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and potentially criminal sanctions in certain circumstances.

Employers will need to make sure that they have systems in place to conduct and record right-to-work checks in a legally compliant way, and that they avoid any discriminatory treatment of individuals in how these checks are carried out.

At Davenport Solicitors, we’re experts in business immigration and advise many businesses on the immigration and employment aspects of recruiting and employing overseas nationals in the UK. We hope that you’ve found this blog post on ‘Thinking of hiring migrant workers? Here is what you need to know’ useful. To learn how we can help you, contact a member of our team here.

What is the High Potential Individual (“HPI”) Visa?

The High Potential Individual (“HPI”) visa is one of several new immigration routes introduced by the Home Office this year. It is designed to attract “the brightest and best” to the UK, the HPI visa appears to form part of the Government’s wider plan to deliver an ‘elite points-based system’, as announced in their ‘Build Back Better: Plan for Growth’, to ensure the UK maintains its status as a “leading international hub for emerging and disruptive technologies”. In this post, we look at What is the High Potential Individual (“HPI”) Visa?

An Overview of HPI

To be eligible for the HPI visa, applicants will need to show that within the last five years, they have been awarded an overseas degree-level academic qualification from an institution on the ‘Global Universities List’.  Separate lists have now been published for each of the last five academic years, to enable applicants to determine whether they’re university-qualified at the time they graduated. They include overseas universities that have been ranked in the top 50 on at least two of the following global ranking systems in the relevant year:

(i) Times Higher Education World University Rankings;
(ii) Quacquerelli Symonds World University Rankings; or
(iii) The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

In addition to this, applicants will need to meet the usual English language requirement, and be able to show that they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves while in the UK.

Successful bachelor’s and master’s degree applicants will be granted two years of permission in the UK, while Ph.D. graduates will be granted three years.  Before the expiry of their visa, applicants will either need to leave the UK or have switched to another visa route.

On the HPI visa, applicants will also be able to bring dependent partners and children under the age of 18.

The HPI route appears to be the global equivalent of the Graduate visa, which was introduced in July 2021 for applicants graduating within the UK, from a Home Office-approved higher education provider.  Applicants applying for the Graduate visa must apply from within the UK and must be switching from a Student or Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

They must also have successfully completed their course by the date of application. The Graduate visa is also not limited to those graduating from universities that are top-ranked in the UK.

What will the launch of HPI mean to businesses?

In many ways, the HPI route is a welcome addition to the UK’s current array of visa offerings.

With no need for sponsorship, the HPI visa offers applicants the flexibility to work, study or be self-employed in the UK, as they wish. In this respect, the HPI visa sits alongside the Global Talent and Graduate visas as a rare route allowing applicants the flexibility to do as they please for up to two (or three) years.

However, as with many of the new visa categories launched in the last 12 months, the HPI visa is not a route that leads to settlement. This means that any time spent on this visa cannot be used to count towards the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain, and will ultimately add further costs to what is already a very expensive journey for individuals looking to settle in the UK.

How to apply for the High Potential Individual Visa

An individual will need to apply online, submit a number of supporting documents and pay the relevant fee (£715 as of 31 May 2022) here. They will also need to attend a biometrics appointment.

Summary

The number of potential applicants under the HPI route will likely be significantly reduced by the requirement to have graduated within the last five years. Under the UK’s previous MBA visa scheme, the simple fact of having graduated from one of the top 50 MBA schools(in either the UK or abroad) was considered a significant enough achievement to enable applicants to qualify for a visa, and potentially settlement in the future – provided the educational establishment was on the Home Office list of approved institutions at the time the MBA was awarded.

It remains to be seen whether the HPI route will invite an influx of applications from the world’s best and brightest. While this is certainly a welcome addition to the current list of UK visa categories, what is clear is that there is definitely room for improvement.

We hope that you have found this post on What is the High Potential Individual (“HPI”) Visa? useful.  If you have any further questions with regards to HPI, contact one of our business immigration experts today.

The new Global Mobility Routes are now live – what has changed?

On 11 April 2022, the new Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes went live and aim to provide new solutions for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or moving staff to, the UK. In this post, we look at The new Global Mobility Routes are now live – what has changed?

What are the changes?

Common to all the GBM routes is that all require sponsorship via a licensed UK employer and none will lead to settlement. Within the new GBM routes, there are five sub-categories:

Senior or Specialist Worker: This route will replace the existing Intra-Company Transfer route and is for senior managers and specialist employees being temporarily transferred to a UK business linked to their employer. Save for a couple of tweaks, including to the salary threshold (an increase to £42,400), it’s only the name of the route that’s changed.

Graduate Trainee: This route will replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route and is applicable to workers who are required to transfer to the UK to undertake graduate training courses leading to either senior management or specialist positions within international businesses. Again, apart from an increase to the salary threshold (£23,100), there are no changes.

UK Expansion Worker: This route replaces and expands the Representative of an Overseas Business route and is aimed at overseas senior managers or specialist employees that are assigned to undertake business presence expansion work in the UK. This route can only be used where the business has not begun trading in the UK. Whilst the English language requirement has gone, a new (more cumbersome) requirement is that sponsorship is required. A further, in our view off-putting change, is that unlike its predecessor, time spent in the UK under this category cannot count towards settlement.

Service Supplier: This route replaces the Temporary Workers – International Agreement route and, again, there’s not much that has changed. This route is applicable to overseas workers who are to undertake temporary UK assignments (as an employee of an overseas business or a self-employed industry expert) to provide services under existing international trade agreements between the UK and other countries.

Secondment Worker: This is a new route for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where they are being seconded as part of a ‘high-value contract or investment’ by their employer.

What is the impact of the changes?

This new points-based route is intended to attract the “brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies”. Applicants to this route must have either a Bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from one of the top global universities outside the UK, as published in the specific annual Home Office “Global Universities List”, which was awarded during the five years immediately preceding the date of application.

This route is also subject to English language and financial requirements.

Successful applicants of this route will be granted permission to live and work in the UK for a period of two or three years, depending on whether they are relying on a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s/Master’s level degree, or to a UK Ph.D., respectively.

Looking further into the future, the Home Office’s broad aims over the next few years include simplifying the business immigration routes. The Home Office’s points-based immigration system: sponsorship roadmap (published in August 2021), sets out plans to modernise the immigration system through developments such as making the sponsor license application “fully paperless”, building a new sponsorship IT system, and introducing automated checks against data held by other government departments such as HMRC and Companies House to expedite the application process.

If you require further advice on the recent amendments to the Immigration Rules or would like to discuss potential business immigration routes for your own workforce, please contact our business immigration law specialists here



Key changes to right-to-work checks coming into force on 6 April 2022

There are a number of key changes to right-to-work checks coming into force on 6 April 2022, which we will seek to explain and explore in this blog post.

What are right-to-work checks?

Freedom of movement between the UK and the EU has now ended and the UK has introduced a new immigration system. As an employer, you must check that job applicants have the legal right to work in the UK before they start their employment. The EU Settlement Scheme ended on 30 June 2021 (although applicants may still apply after this date where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for making the application late).

A right-to-work check is used by the Home Office to verify that workers have the right to work in the UK. Employers must check that an applicant is allowed to work in the UK before they employ them, or they could face a penalty.

Employers should carry out a compliant check before the employment commences, or could face a penalty. There is no requirement to carry out retrospective checks for staff already employed prior to 1 July 2021.

What is changing on 6th April?

From Wednesday 6th April 2022, the following changes will occur:

Migrants who have a standard work or residence permit can only be checked online, not manually. This applies to people with a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit.
Adjusted right-to-work checks will no longer count. These were always intended as a temporary concession to the pandemic but were extended several times as the coronavirus situation dragged on.
In place of the adjusted checks, a new system of digital checks is being introduced as an alternative to manual checks. This still involves people submitting “images of their personal documents” rather than bringing in the original, but using “Identity Document Validation Technology” instead of a scan or copy.

The new digital checks are aimed at British and Irish citizens. Online checks don’t work for non-migrants — i.e. the majority of workers — because they won’t show up in Home Office immigration records. If the adjusted checks had been simply abolished without being replaced, employers would have been back to checking most of their new employees manually. This new digital validation system maintains a remote alternative.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which appears to have been involved in or consulted on digital checks, says the Home Office intends to charge for them: “This could vary from £1.45 to £70 per check”. It doesn’t seem that digital checks will be compulsory, so employers would be able to opt for manual checks if they begrudge the cost. This and other details should be addressed in “changes to legislation” — presumably to further amend the Immigration (Restrictions on https://www.davenportsolicitors.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpEmployment) Order 2007 — before the system is rolled out.

Broadly speaking, from 6 April 2022, right to-work-checks on most migrants will be online (and free) and checks on British or Irish nationals will be manual (and free) or digital (and maybe charged for).

For more information on the changes, view the Home Office guidance papers here.

For more details on the upcoming right to work,or any other immigration law matters, please contact one of our Immigration Law specialists here

Investor Visa Scrapped!

Investor visa scrapped

The UK Government announced yesterday that the Investor visa would be scrapped with immediate effect due to money laundering concerns. In this post, we look at ‘investor visa scrapped’.

What was the Investor Visa?

The Investor visa provided a route for high-net-worth individuals to live and work in the UK if they invested at least £2 million in the UK. Known as the “golden visa” this route permitted applicants to bring their family to join them in the UK and apply for permanent residency, in some cases after as short a time as 2 years. The route to settlement could have been expedited by increasing the amount of funds invested in the UK.

Why has the Investor Visa been scrapped?

The Investor route has been under review for some time due to concerns about how it may be abused. When closing the route, the government stated the route “failed to deliver for the UK people and gave opportunities for corrupt elites to access the UK”. Instead, these worries lead London to be seen by some as a “laundromat” where dirty money could be cleaned before being withdrawn back to the country it originated from.

The concerns that this route was linked to money laundering and organised crimes resulted in the route being suspended temporarily for a few days in December 2018. Money laundering concerns were most recently addressed in 2019 when the Home Office added an additional requirement to the category to crack down on money laundering.

The Investor visa has been granted to over 2,500 Russian citizens since the scheme opened in 2008 and consequently, given the political climate surrounding Russia, this may be seen as a political move. However, the visa category was open to and had been granted, to individuals from other non-EEA and Swiss nationals.

How are those who currently hold the visa affected?

Those who are currently in the UK will be able to remain in the UK in line with the conditions of their leave and will be eligible to apply for permanent residency at the end of their current leave, should they meet the eligibility requirements. However, settlement will now be conditional on the applicant showing genuine job creation and other economic impacts. Simply holding an investment in the UK will no longer be enough to obtain settlement.

There will be cases where individuals have submitted their Investor visa applications to the Home Office but did not receive an outcome before the closure of the route was announced. In this scenario, the Home Office will consider the application in line with the rule and requirements in place at the time the application was submitted.

What are the alternative available routes?

It has become clear that the Government’s focus has switched from trying to attract investment in the UK through the visas available to attracting the ‘best and brightest’ visa the skilled-based visas. Individuals, who were considering submitting an Investor visa application may consider other business routes such as the innovator visa, which permits individuals to set up and run an innovative business in the UK which is different from anything else on the market, or the Scale-up visa which is due to be launched this spring. The Scale-up visa will permit fast-growing businesses to recruit migrant workers without applying for a sponsor license.

How can we help?

We hope that you have found this post on Investor Visa Scrapped useful.

Our team of expert immigration lawyers can work with you to ascertain your needs in order to advise you on the most appropriate route for you whether that’s setting up a business or working in the UK. Should you want to speak to a member of our immigration team about your potential routes to the UK, please contact us via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone via 020 7903 6888.

Autumn Budget 2021: The Impact on Employment and Immigration

autumnbudgetimpactonemploymentandimmigration

The autumn 2021 budget highlights changes in both employment and immigration sectors. We shall discuss these changes below. 

Employment 

While this budget did not include any significant changes to employment law, there are some key changes to note.  

National living wage 

The national living wage is the lowest hourly amount that an individual aged 23 or over can be paid. The lower national minimum wages applies to employees under the age of 23 and apprentices. From 1 April 2022, these rates shall increase to:

  • £9.50 per hour for those over the aged 23 or over
  • £9.18 per hour for those aged 21 to 22
  • £6.83 per hour for those aged 18 – 20 
  • £4.81 for those under the age of 18 and apprentices 

With less than six months before the changes come into effect, employers should begin to consider the financial implications of these increases and ensure compliance with this change. Should employers fail to pay the correct minimum wage, they may face an employment tribunal claim from any affected employee(s). 

Health and social care levy 

As a result of the government’s increased spending and borrowing due to Covid-19, a new Health and Social Care levy has been introduced to increase the amount of tax each employee pays with the levy going to support the NHS and social care bodies. The levy will increase national insurance contributions by a 1.25% from April 2022 which shall be replaced by a new payment, separate to national insurance, of 1.25% in April 2023. 

This increase in tax will leave employers facing an increase in costs and employees with a lower take home salary. As a result, employers may receive questions regarding the benefits they provide and flexible working options. Therefore, employers should review their existing work arrangements and benefits packages to assess if they are fit for purpose, should employees request remote/flexible working. 

Immigration 

The Autumn 2021 budget confirms that the government are continuing with their plans to reform the UK’s immigration system to focus on attracting highly skilled workers to the UK. 

Scale-up visa 

With 49% of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses having at least one foreign-born co-founder and approximately 40% of all fintech employees in the UK being from overseas, the budget recognised the need for innovative businesses to have access to the talented and skilled individuals they need for their business to succeed. As a result, to attract highly skilled individuals and support inward investment, the Scale-up, will launch in the spring of 2022. In order to be eligible to apply for a scale-up visa, individuals must:

  • Pass the English proficiency requirement
  • Have a high-skilled job offer from an eligible business
  • Have been offered a salary of at least £33,000. 

Global Talent Network 

One launched, the Global Talent Network, will proactively find and bring highly skilled people to the UK who specialise in key science and technology industries. Through working with businesses and research institutions, the network will identify the skills needed in the UK and source talent from overseas to provide these skills. Initially, the network shall focus on the Bay Area and Boston in the US and Bengaluru in India. 

High Potential Individual Route 

The High Potential Individual Route will be open to individuals who have graduated from a ‘top global university’ to come to the UK. While the government has yet to confirm the institutions that will be considered a ‘top global university’, and whether the route is for certain sectors only, it has clarified that eligible individuals will not require a job offer or sponsorship from a registered employer. This route may provide a path to permanent settlement in the UK. 

Global Business Mobility Route

Appearing to combine the Intra-Company Route and the Representative of an Overseas Business route, this route is aimed at businesses with no UK presence who would like to establish themselves in the UK. Via this route, businesses will be able to:

  • Send multiple workers to the UK
  • Second workers abroad to a UK business with whom they have a high value contract of investment
  • Send employees and graduate trainees to the UK entity of an overseas company. 

Much like the current skilled worker visa, it is anticipated that this route will require employees to be monitored by the Sponsor Management System. 

How we can assist

Should you have an immigration or employment law query please contact a member of our team via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone via 02079036888.

New immigration routes for 2022

newimmigrationroutes

As a result of Brexit, the UK is free to put in place its own immigration system. Consequently, the government has introduced a number of new visa routes which shall be effective from 2022.

The aims of the new system 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has declared that he intends to make Britain the “best place in the world for high-growth, innovative companies” by attracting outstanding talent in tech and science. In order to achieve this, the visa reforms announced are aimed “at highly skilled migrants”, making it easier for highly educated individuals to gain entry to the UK. 

As well as reviewing the routes into the UK, the government have also pledged to simplify the Immigration Rules to make them as “user-friendly and accessible as possible”, be flexible on how applicants can provide supporting evidence and the ability for certain applicants to upload their supporting evidence digitally. 

Reforms to the current sponsor routes 

With regard to the sponsor routes, specifically the skilled worker route, the government have vowed to improve the current system to permit employers to recruit overseas workers equipped to start work in the UK faster than any other G20 county. 

It is proposed the process will be speed up by allowing individuals to submit their passport and a facial image via their mobile phone rather than requiring them to attend an in-person appointment. Further, a sponsors use of the application system shall be simplified through the proposed introduction of automated checks with HMRC and Companies House to identify sponsors and users that can have fast track approval. However, the government have also announced that are consider introducing trust rating for sponsors based on their history of compliance. 

The introduction of an unsponsored points-based route

In spring 2022 a new, unsponsored points-based route will be introduced with the aim to attract the very high skilled and academically elite. Via this route, individuals with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa, without the need for sponsorship. However, applicants will still need to meet the minimum required points to apply.

The introduction of a Global Business Mobility route

In addition to the above, the government are planning to create a single Global Business Mobility route by spring 2022. The Global Business Mobility route will simplify the UK immigration offer for business by bringing together, reforming and expanding a number of existing routes already in place for this purpose. The new route will incorporate: 

  • Existing provision for intra-company transferees.
  • Existing arrangements implementing the UK’s trade commitments in respect of contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.
  • Arrangements for employees of an overseas business assigned to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary of that business. It is anticipated that the existing rules which restrict the overseas representation to one individual per business will be relaxed and the number of representatives permitted will depend on, for example the size of the investment the company makes into the UK. 
  • The addition of a provision to accommodate the import and export-related secondments.  

Expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme 

The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is a programme through which nationals of participating countries, aged 18 to 30, can live and work in the UK for up to two years. Migrants who come to the UK via the YMS can work in the UK without sponsorship, but they cannot bring their dependents to the UK. 

From 2022, Iceland and India will be added as partners to the YMS without deemed sponsorship status. This means that applicants from Iceland and India will be required to provide evidence of sponsorship which was issued to them no more than six months before the date of their application. There are 1,000 places on the scheme for Icelandic nationals and 3,000 places for Indian nationals. 

There is an additional requirement for Indian applicants which can be met through education or work experience. To satisfy the requirement through education, applicants will need to hold a qualification equal or above RQF level 6 (degree level) and provide written evidence confirming the institution they studied and graduate from. If the applicant would like to meet the requirement through work experience, they must have worked a minimum of three years in a professional role equivalent to an occupation in the appendix of skilled occupations. The applicant would need to provided supporting evidence, such as pay slips and/or a letter from their employer confirming their employment. 

How we can assist 

Our team of expert immigration lawyers can work with you to ascertain your needs in order to advise you on the most appropriate route into the UK. Should you want to speak to a member of our immigration team about your potential routes to the UK, please contact us via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone via 02079036888.