The new points based immigration system

This page answers questions, holds resources, and assists employers to navigate through the new system points-based immigration system.

1 January 2021

On 1 January 2021, when free movement ended, a new points-based immigration system replaced the one that the UK has managed inward migration with since 2008. It applies to everyone from outside of the UK (excluding the Republic of Ireland) wishing to live and work here.

The end of freedom of movement has implications for those who previously could freely come to the UK from the EU for work and study. EU nationals now require a visa to work and study here and for students previously undertaking short trust placements, alternative arrangements need to be put in place. For information on the governments new Turing scheme, designed to facilitate global work and study, visit our latest news article.

For individuals who arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020 and who meet the requirements of the EU Settlement Scheme, the new system does not apply. EU nationals have until 30 June 2021 to secure their pre or settled status. More information on the settlement scheme can be found on our website.

The new immigration system aims to attract and prioritise highly skilled migration and improve the experience for applicants and employers. It provides routes for skilled workers, students, global leaders, and innovators. It does not however provide a mechanism to recruit other key workers into health and care, for example care workers in social care.

To improve the experience for employers, the system includes a dedicated NHS support and visa processing which will enable HR teams to contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if there are any issues with the application process or eligibility queries for the new health and care visa. Sponsors can contact UKVI’s NHS team directly at

Employer resources

The Home Office has produced a dedicated suite of employer resources to support you. These include:

  • introduction to the points-based system
  • information on the new system and how to become a sponsor
  • podcast produced with Intelligence Squared outlining what the new immigration system and preparedness
  • key lines and guidance including information on right to work and frontier workers
  • guidance employers can share with EEA nationals helping them to understand their right to work responsibilities and processes
  • frontier worker permit information
  • overview of the sponsorship process
  • digital assets and animations to help you communicate to staff.

We understand that the system will continue to be refined with scope for additional flexibility and any changes will be reflected in this section.