Julia Jackson’s comments are published in New Law Journal – 20/12/2018

20 / 12 / 2018

The article was originally published on New Law Journal, on December 20, 2018.

Visa shake-up after Brexit

The white paper, laid in Parliament this week, would let low-skilled migrants work in the UK for one year, sets a controversial £30,000 minimum salary for five-year skilled visas—many skilled professionals including nurses earn less than that—and abolishes both the cap on highly skilled migrants and the resident labour market test which requires employers to advertise jobs for four weeks. EU nationals would not require visas.

Julia Jackson, partner at Wedlake Bell, said: ‘This will both ease the bureaucratic burden on employers and speed up the recruitment process.

‘More broadly it’s difficult to see how the Home Office will achieve its twin aims of creating a “business friendly” system minimising the burden on employers while recovering the costs of running the immigration system from those who use it.

‘The White Paper specifies that employers will pay an immigration skills charge (currently £1,000 per worker per year for large companies reduced to £364 per worker per year for SMEs). In addition overseas nationals will continue to pay the immigration health surcharge (currently £200 per person per year but due to double this month). On top of this are visa fees and the cost of the sponsor licence itself. For employers who have not yet engaged with the sponsor licence regime the additional costs are likely to be an unwelcome shock.’

Claire Nilson, Counsel at Faegre Baker Daniels, said: ‘The aim seems to be to bring EU nationals seeking to work in the UK post-Brexit in line with non-EU nationals in the same situation.

‘A short term visa option will be available, with fewer restrictions, for all applicants from low risk countries irrespective of their skill level. However, this will come with a one-year cooling off period so that, after the visa expires, the individual is unable to apply to return to the UK during that time period.

‘The short term route would not permit either family members to join the visa applicant in the UK or provide a path for permanent settlement.’

Employment law solicitors have given a mixed reaction to Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s white paper on post-Brexit migration