A raft of changes to the UK immigration system were announced before Christmas that affect both employers and individuals. We now have the exact go-live dates for these changes, which are shared below with links to relevant further reading and a summary of the actions employers should take.
Action for employers
Business Visitor rules officially allow remote working from the UK for overseas employees. They do not allow work for a UK company.
Amend travel policies.
The Electronic Travel Visa (ETA) has been extended to all Gulf countries. The ETA scheme will be extended on a country-by-country basis until it includes all UK visitors, including from Europe and the US, by 2025.
Update travel desk/policy and prepare for all visitors to the UK needing pre-travel permission.
The annual Immigration Health Surcharge has increased by 66% to £1035.
Note the increased cost for employees and any employers that choose to cover these costs.
The employer fine for a right-to-work breach will increase from £15,000 to £45,000 per worker.
Audit right-to-work systems to ensure compliance and avoid financial risk.
The Immigration Salary list, including any new occupations recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), is to replace the Shortage Occupation list.
Check if the roles identified in the Immigration Salary list apply to your sector.
Home Office to contact Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) holders to register for digital permission.
Consider notifying employees that are BRP holders.
Note deadline for applications based on lower salary.
Sponsor licence renewal requirement will be removed. All licences will be valid indefinitely from this point (but we expect a higher level of checks).
Consider how you will ensure sponsor licence compliance without the reminder of renewal.
The salary threshold for new Partner visa applications for British citizens, and for those settled in the UK, will rise to £29,000 (up from £18,600). For those applying for an extension to a current Partner visa, or for those who apply before 11 April, the threshold will be £18,600.
Expect fewer families to be able to use this route.
Expiry of Biometric Residence Permits – employees should have been contacted by Home Office to transition to for digital permission.
Record visa expiry date not biometric residence permit expiry date .
ETIAS (a form of electronic visa) will be required for UK nationals travelling into Europe.
Prepare for all employees needing pre-travel authorisation for business trips in Europe.