The UK’s new immigration system: what does this mean for EU citizens? - | Hudson McKenzie

The UK’s new immigration system: what does this mean for EU citizens?

December 11, 2020 | Immigration, Latest Thinking, News, Travel

As of 1st December 2020, the UK’s new points-based immigration system went live. This means that all new visa routes under the new system are open for applications for non-EU nationals. This includes an extension for receiving applications from EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens for these visa routes, including the Skilled Worker route, so they can apply to work or study here in the UK.  This system treats EU and non-EU citizens equally and prioritises individual skills and talents over their backgrounds.

EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens already living in the UK or who are planning to live in the UK before 31st December 2020, can apply to continue living in the UK after 30th June 2021 via the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). They should not apply via the new points-based immigration system.

However, if they are not living in the UK from 1st January of next year, this option will not be available to them. From this date, EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens must satisfy certain requirements and pass the necessary checks, such as UK criminality checks, to either work or study in the UK.

EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens wishing to visit the UK can do so for a period of up to 6 months without requiring a visa. Throughout the duration of their visit, they can partake in many activities such as short-term study, tourism, visiting family members and so forth.

2021 applications

Such applicants can apply online via the UK government’s website. Applications must demonstrate that they meet the 70 points threshold and satisfy other surplus requirements depending on their chosen visa route.

The identity verification stage of the application process can be done in two ways. Either it can be completed digitally through the UK’s Immigration ID Check app which can be downloaded on a smartphone or physically, by attending a Visa Application Centre where they will submit their biometrics. This will depend on internet and smartphone accessibility and their chosen visa route.

In terms of costs, there is a standard visa application fee. If overseas citizens are applying to stay in the UK for more than 6 months, then the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is also payable, which grants them access to the NHS.

Visa options

The new immigration system’s visa routes are now open. There are different routes depending on whether overseas nationals wish to work or study in the UK.

  • Workers:
    i) Skilled Worker visa
    Individuals can apply for this visa route if they hold a job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor at level RQF3 or above (A-Level equivalent), meet the salary threshold for that job and have a respectable command of the English language.
    ii) Health and Care visa
    This is for workers in the health and social care sector who have a job offer from the NHS or employers under the umbrella of the NHS, have a good command of English and meet the skilled worker route criteria. Applicants and their families will benefit from fast-track entry and exemption from paying the IHS.  
    iii) Global Talent visa
    For highly skilled and talented applicants who are considered as ‘global leaders’. They will not require a job offer (requirement of the skilled worker route).
    iv) Other visa routes: Start-up and Innovator visas etc

  • Students:
    i) Student visa
    Students seeking to complete a course of study at a UK college or university can apply. Applicants must demonstrate certain requirements such as a genuine intention to study in the UK, sufficient funds to support themselves through their studies, a good command of English and an offer for a place on a study course.
    ii) Child Student visa
    This is applicable to students aged between 4 and 17 years old seeking to study at a UK independent school. This requires permission from the applicant’s parent or guardian.
    iii) Graduate visa
    Individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree or above in the UK and wish to stay and work in the UK afterwards can apply for this visa. This is for up to 2 years or 3 years for PhD students.

Should you have any questions regarding the above information or if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and require legal assistance with your visa application, please get in touch with a professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.