What’s happening in the world of UK immigration from 29 March 2019?

SPEEDREAD: There will be a short extension to Brexit and from 29 March 2019, there are changes to the UK immigration system which affect UK employers who hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence.

Brexit

For many months, we have known that Brexit will take place on 29 March 2019 as enshrined in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. However, as the UK Parliament is yet to come to a consensus, the EU has agreed to a short extension to the Brexit date. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) Amendment) Regulations 2019 is currently in draft form though once approved, the new Brexit date will either be:

  1. 11pm on 12 April 2019 – if the UK Parliament does not approve the current draft Withdrawal Agreement, there is no further extension, and/or there is no other action taken/ agreed; or
  2. 11pm on 22 May 2019 – if the UK Parliament approves the current draft Withdrawal Agreement by 11pm on 29 March 2019, which might also see the “transition period” extend beyond the current date of 31 December 2021

Employers should therefore be mindful that EU free movement rights will continue past 29 March 2019 in the interim, as the UK will continue to be a member of the EU. In addition, as the EU Settlement Scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019, employers might begin to see a surge in “share codes” in order to carry out online right to work checks for workers who have (pre) settled status, and those who have a valid biometric residence permit.

UK Immigration Rules

Brexit aside, there were recent changes announced in relation to the domestic UK Immigration Rules which will become live on 29 March 2019. The changes primarily relate to the “Reforms to the UK investor visa category and new entrepreneur routes”. However, there are also changes which generally affect UK employers who hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence and Tier 2 migrants who submit a new visa application from 30 March 2019. For instance:

  • Certain jobs such as nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics, and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin will continue to be exempt from the minimum starting salary of £30,000
  • The minimum starting salaries table for “New Entrants” and “Experienced” workers are being updated generally
  • The points scoring system for the monthly allocation of restricted certificates of sponsorship is being updated

UK businesses who employ individuals, whether migrants or not, should therefore ensure that their UK immigration knowledge remains up-to-date to minimise exposure to risks. 

Summary

As detailed above, there will be many changes taking place in the near future to the various UK visa categories including those affecting EU/ EEA nationals and family members.

We can assist with all matters of business immigration including: obtaining a sponsor licence; assisting with maintenance of sponsor licence; employing/ transferring international staff; audit of systems and checking compliance with sponsor licence duties; challenging the suspension and withdrawal of a sponsor licence; conducting right to work checks; and challenging a civil penalty notice for illegal working. If you have any questions, require immigration assistance, and/or would like to subscribe to the immigration newsletter please do not hesitate to contact Vincent Chung: vincent.chung@dixcartlegal.com.

Published: 26 March 2019

Article Sections: Immigration


The data contained within this document is for general information only. No responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies. Readers are also advised that the law and practice may change from time to time. This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.