The UK’s New Points-Based Immigration System

Due to come into force on 1st January 2021 – 

Following the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020, the UK government has been taking steps to regain control of our borders. To achieve this goal, the government are introducing a points-based system to attract high-skilled workers, with the aim of creating a highly skilled and highly productive economy.

This new system seeks to prioritise the skills a person holds, rather than focusing on where they are coming from. This newly created immigration system will change the way that migrants come to the UK to work, study and visit.

It is anticipated that the overall level of migration will be reduced, and priority will be given to migrants possessing the talents most sought after by the UK, including: scientists, engineers, and academics. Under the points-based system for skilled worker, the applicants will be able to come to the UK through an employer-led system.

EU and non-EU applicants will be placed on an equal footing, and will have to be able to prove that they have the required characteristics. There is a list of tradeable characteristics that the applicant must meet, and a total of 70 points is required to be eligible to apply. These characteristics include:


Characteristics Tradeable? Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor No 20
Job at an appropriate skill level No 20
Speaks English at the required level No 10
Salary level, with more points for higher salary Yes 0-20
Taking up employment in a shortage occupation Yes 20
Education qualifications Yes 10-20


The new system will come into effect from 1 January 2021 as the starting point of a multi-year programme of change to the UK’s immigration system. The Home Office will not be implementing a route for lower-skilled workers, therefore employers need to begin adapting and adjusting to the end of free movement of migrants. Employers therefore need to invest in retaining staff rather than relying upon the immigration system to make up the shortfall.

If you would like to keep up to date with the New Immigration System as it develops and takes shape sign up for regular updates.

Usof Shah
Senior Solicitor, Immigration
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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