On 1 January 2021, when free movement ends, a new points-based immigration system replaces the one that the UK has managed inward migration with since 2008. It will apply to everyone from outside of the UK (excluding the Republic of Ireland) wishing to live and work here.
For individuals already in the UK by 31 December 2020, the new system will not yet apply. EU nationals will still be able to apply to the EU settlement scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to do so. More information on the settlement scheme can be found here.
The new immigration system is aimed at attracting and prioritising 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 healthcare support workers or care workers in social care.
To improve the experience for employers, the system will include 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 UKVINHSteam@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Phased implementation of the system is underway and includes the introduction of a new fast track health and care visa, open for applications from 4 August 2020. We understand that the system will continue to be refined with scope for additional flexibility and any changes will be reflected in this section.