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Immigration: Visa applications open under UK's Post-Brexit system

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

New immigration rules will be "simple and flexible", ministers have promised, as the UK's points-based post-Brexit system went live.


From Tuesday most foreign nationals, including from the European Union, who want to work in the UK from 1 January will have to apply online for a visa. Those seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer, to be proficient in English and earn at least £25,600. Free movement from and to the EU will come to an end on 31 December.


The UK left the EU on 31 January but has been largely following its rules during the subsequent 11-month transition period, as the two sides try to reach agreement over a trade deal. As talks continue in London, the UK is stepping up its preparations for leaving the EU's single market and customs union at the end of the year. The government has announced it is setting up a new Border Operations Centre, which it says will ensure round-the-clock surveillance of goods and passengers coming in and out of British ports for the first time.


What is changing in immigration?

The UK's new immigration system will determine who can work in the country from 1 January. Online applications for visas via a range of new "routes" will open on Tuesday.

Applications for skilled worker visas will be judged on the basis of a points system, which is modelled on the system in place in Australia for many years.


Points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level in an eligible occupation, knowledge of English and whether applicants meet a salary threshold - which will typically be at least £25,600. Applicants will have to wait about three weeks to find out whether they have been successful.


Can people come to the UK to study?

There will be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to study. The new student visa application system allows them to apply six months before they are due to start a course if they are applying from outside the UK.


A new graduate visa will be launched in summer 2021, to allow students who have completed a degree to stay in the UK for two years. This will rise to three years for those who have done a PhD.



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