UK offers more detail on post-Brexit visas

The UK government fleshed out details on Monday of the new, points-based immigration system that will come into effect when the the Brexit transition period comes to an end on December 31.

Proposals outlined by Home Secretary Priti Patel included the launching next summer of a "refined" visa route for overseas students, who will be allowed to stay in the UK for a minimum of two years after graduating to "help retain the brightest and the best students to contribute to the UK post-study".A policy paper from the Home Office said that while the minimum salary requirement of £25,600 - first unveiled in February - would remain, it would fall to £20,480 both for people near the start of their careers, and for some people in the health and education sectors.The paper also made it clear that all immigrants would have to demonstrate a high degree of language competency by being able to prove they had “passed a secure English language test” or that they had met the required level in a previous, successful immigration application. Students would have to demonstrate they had A-level or equivalent English, while skilled workers would have to have the equivalent of an AS-level pass.The Home Office also gave the first details of the government’s “global talent” route, which will be led by an Office for Talent based at the prime minister's office in Downing Street.Designed primarily to attract scientists, tech entrepreneurs and engineers, the Global Talent Visa will also enable prominent practitioners in the humanities and arts to get visa applications processed rapidly if they have the backing of organisations such as the Arts Council.In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Patel also announced a new "health and care visa" with reduced fees for those who are hired by the National Health Service.The visa will be open to workers who have a confirmed job offer in one of a number of defined roles in the NHS, such as doctors, nurses, radiographers and paramedics. But despite the name of the new visa, workers in the social care sector will not be entitled to apply for it."At a time where an increased number of people across the UK are looking for work, the new points-based system will encourage employers to invest in the domestic UK workforce, rather than simply relying on labour from abroad," said Ms Patel."But we are also making necessary changes, so it is simpler for employers to attract the best and brightest from around the world to come to the UK to complement the skills we already have."Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “Although of course we are going to be taking back control and we are controlling our immigration system we’re not going to be simply slamming the gates and stopping anybody anywhere coming into this country.“Where people can contribute to this country, where people want to make their lives and do great things for this country, of course we’re going to have a humane and sensible system.”The Home Office also confirmed that foreign criminals who have been jailed for more than a year could be banned from coming to the UK and that foreign nationals already in the UK who had been sentenced to less than even a year in prison would be considered for deportation.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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