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On 19 February 2020, the Government published a policy statement introducing an Immigration Bill to bring a "firm and fair points-based system that will attract the high-skilled workers we need to contribute to our economy".

The key changes for employers to note are as follows:

1. Employers who are not currently approved by the Home Office to be a sponsor should consider doing so if they think they will want to sponsor skilled migrants, including from the EU, from early 2021.

2. In order to be sponsored, the worker will need to be able to speak English and will need to obtain prior approval to come to the UK under the route.

3. Sponsored workers will need to be skilled to at least Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 (which roughly equates to A-levels). Currently, the worker must be skilled to degree-level (RQF 6).

4. Sponsored workers will need to have a salary of at least £25,600 per annum. Currently, the threshold is £30,000. If, however the role is an occupation listed on the shortage occupation list, the salary may be between £20,480 - £25,600.

5. There will be no resident labour market test and monthly restrictions on numbers will be 'suspended'.

6. Employers should also take into consideration the costs of visa fees, Immigration Skills Charges and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

To find out how you can prepare your business for the new change, call one of the telephone numbers at the top of this page to speak to one of our experienced law practitioners.

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