22 January 2020
All Tier 2 sponsors were contacted in early January 2020 about submitting their Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) allocation request, covering projected Tier 2 visa need in the 12 months starting 6 April 2020. You’ll have heard about this from us if we manage your licence, but if not we recommend UK employers make a request now to provide maximum flexibility for future recruitment need, especially with an expected further increase in demand linked to Brexit.
If, as expected, Parliament passes the Withdrawal Agreement legislation by the end of January 2020, all EEA/Swiss citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and needing an EU based immigration status due to Brexit will need to apply before 30 June 2021 to the EU Settlement Scheme. Do let us know if your workforce would appreciate any help with this or understanding what it means for them. In the meantime, during 2020 employers do not need to do anything differently with right to work checks and should not ask European colleagues for evidence of their status under the EU Settlement Scheme (although employees can share their status with you voluntarily).
The new UK government committed before the General Election in December 2019 to increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge which is paid by applicants applying for UK visas of more than 6 months' duration in order to give them access to NHS healthcare during the visa period – from £400 to £625 per year of the visa per applicant. From 2021 it will also be payable for the first time by European citizens applying for visas to move to the UK. The date of that change has not been announced so please keep an eye out for further updates.
The UK now has a majority Conservative government that is committed to its Brexit deal and introducing a new immigration system, so what does this mean for employers? We have summarised how the UK's future immigration system will look if the government's election and pre-election pledges are anything to go by.