From 19th February 2020, the government set out the details of the UK’s points-based immigration system. These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.
Visa application process
New immigration routes will open from autumn 2020 for applications to work, live and study in the UK from 1 January 2021. You’ll be able to apply and pay for your visa online.
When you apply, you’ll be asked to provide your biometric information. The process for this is:
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
For most visas you’ll provide a digital photo of your face using a smartphone app. You will not have to give your fingerprints. For a small number of minor visa routes (to be confirmed later this year) you’ll need to go to an overseas visa application centre to have your photo taken.
You’ll continue to submit your fingerprints and a photo at an overseas visa application centre.
The points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor. From January 2021, the job you’re offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). You’ll also need to be able to speak English. The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600. If you earn less than this – but no less than £20,480 – you may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against your salary. For example, if you have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.
Global talent scheme
The global talent scheme will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. It will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.
There will not be an immigration route specifically for those who do not meet the skills or salary threshold for the skilled worker route. The seasonal agricultural visa pilot scheme will be expanded – recognising the significant reliance this sector has on low-skilled temporary workers.
International students and graduates
Student visa routes will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. You’ll be able to apply for a visa to study in the UK if you:
- have been offered a place on a course,
- can speak, read, write and understand English,
- have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course.
A new graduate immigration route will be available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021. You’ll be able to work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years.
Following the new and forthcoming immigration changes, citizenship will be among the affected parts. As many people want to acquire dual citizenship or are want to move to the UK there are several aspects that need to be observed. First, if you are born in the United Kingdom, it doesn’t give you a direct pass to become a citizen as it depends on the situation. However, you are qualified to become an applicant to the citizenship.The other factor that allows you to qualify to apply and become a citizen is through naturalisation where it depends on the following;
Marriage to a British Citizen
This requires the official documents that indicate you are recognised by the state and must have lived together for a period of at least three years. This gives you an automatic qualification for the application process.In the process of applying through this, you will need vital documents such as the indeterminate leave to remain. This entails an application which is done after staying in Britain for 5 years and ensure that you have resided there for 12 months after the request. This allows you to apply for the citizenship.
Another salient matter that will allow you to be a citizen is a permanent residential home that has the residence document to confirm your stay and a settled status under the EU settlement. The EU, EEA or Switzerland Natives get an automatic pass to permanent residence and can qualify to apply for the citizenship after 12 months of the acquisition.
If you are from a country that is under the commonwealth, you are eligible for the application of being a native citizen. This is possible under the Windrush Scheme if you and your parents arrived in the UK before 1973, and you have lived in the UK this adding up to not being away for two years. This gives you an upper hand in becoming a citizen.Additionally, in an instance where your parent was in the UK before 1973, you are eligible to be a citizen as you may have been born in the country or arrived when you were below 18. This gives you an added advantage as you may acquire the right of abode in the UK. This is a bigger advantage since you are not barred by the immigration restrictions that are in place.
These are some of the most important tenets that you should be familiar with before going to apply for citizenship. It is critical because it eases the application process.