New Points-Based System - January 2021

On 19 February 2020, the government announced details of the ‘new’ post-Brexit UK immigration system, with significant changes to the rules governing entry to the UK due to take effect from 1 January 2021. Further details were announced on 13 July 2020.

Skilled workers

The new system will include a route for skilled workers (replacing ‘Tier 2 (General)’) who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

The required skill level under the new system will be Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF Level 3) or above (equivalent to A level), and the minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600. Applicants will still need to meet the appropriate ‘going rate’ for the role.

However, if prospective skilled employees earn less than this—but no less than £20,480—they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary. This will apply to persons:

  1. applying to work in a listed shortage occupation

  2. having a PhD in a listed occupation and which is relevant to the job (with additional credit for those with a STEM PhD)

  3. applying to work in a listed health/education role (who will instead have to meet the relevant national pay scale for their occupation)

  4. who are defined as ‘new entrants’, because they are:

◦ under 26 on the date of application

◦ working towards a recognised professional qualification in a regulated profession or protected job title, or

◦ who are switching into the category from the new Graduate route

In its determination to fulfil its manifesto commitment of introducing a ‘new points-based system’, a total of 70 points are required to qualify.

Intra-Company Transfer

The Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) route will be replaced with two new categories:

  1. Intra-Company Transfer, and

  2. Intra-Company Graduate Trainees

The eligibility criteria will broadly remain the same as currently (eg different salary thresholds, an RQF Level 6 skill requirement and no route to settlement).

A helpful change, introduced in the July 2020 further details paper is that an Intra-Company Transfer migrant who is switching to the Skilled Worker route will not be subject to a 12-month ‘cooling-off period’ when applying for entry clearance or leave to remain. Also, relevant cooling-off provisions will be simplified so that Intra-Company Transfer migrants can only have entry clearance or leave to enter in this capacity for a maximum of five years in any six-year period, except where they are granted leave for nine years, based on their high earnings.

For further information regarding the new Immigration System, please contact us on

+44 20 8895 6626


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Authorised to provide Immigration Advice at OISC Level 1 Registration number: F201700019

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