UK Immigration Routes After Brexit
The UK is due to leave the EU at the end of this year on 31 December 2020 to be exact. Many people are concerned about the changes to UK visas after Brexit. UK government officials on many occasions boasted about the new and fair UK immigration system post-Brexit and on many occasions referred to an Australian type point-based approach. Many of those promises have failed to materialise, even though there were a number of positive developments and announcements made over the past few months.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK is an immigration status that grants an individual the right to live and work in the country without any time restrictions. ILR is also known as settlement or permanent residency. It allows individuals to stay in the UK for an indefinite period and provides them with a wide range of benefits, such as access to public funds, healthcare, and education.
In this article, we plan to outline the main changes that have so far been announced by the UK Government to the Immigration Rules after Brexit. We wish to explore in details what UK visas will be available after Brexit. We will keep updating this article with new information once it is officially published.
What Visa Provisions Will Stay the Same After Brexit?
Most of the post Brexit immigration categories for visas will remain unchanged. For ease of reference, we will list the main ones below:
- Tier 1 (Investor) – Following the introduction of numerous changes in March 2019, the Home Office so far did not announce any plans to rework the category any further. We, therefore, expect it to remain unchanged.
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) – this category no longer exists for new applications, it is only possible to apply for an ILR at the end of the relevant qualifying period, please refer to our article on Global Talent visa for more information. The category has been renamed into a Global Talent visa route, however, most of the provisions from Tier 1 (ET) remain unchanged.
- Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) – We are not yet aware of any plans to discontinue those two categories of visas. It was announced that a new “skilled worker” route will be introduced, however, it is unclear whether it will completely replace Tier 2 or exist alongside it. We will find out more later in the year. For now, applications for Tier 2 visas are accepted as normal including Tier 2 (General) ILR applications.
- Tier 4 (General) student – We do not expect any changes to Tier 4 student visa route post Brexit.
- Tier 5 visas – We do not expect any changes to Tier 5 visas post-Brexit in 2021. There have been no announcements by the government or the Home Office to indicate otherwise.
- Innovator and Start-Up visas – Those categories were introduced in March 2019 following the closure of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. The categories were introduced with a view of Brexit, so we do not really expect any further changes to follow. I would not be surprised if the routes are relaxed a little, since at the moment they are overly restrictive.
- Sponsor Licences – Any employer who wants to sponsor a worker post-Brexit, both EU and non-EU nationals, will need to be an “approved” employer, meaning that they must hold a valid sponsor licence.
- Family Routes – We do not expect any upcoming changes to the family routes under UK Immigration Rules, those include applications for UK spouse visas under Appendix FM, Parent of a British/settled child applications, children of British/settled parents etc.
- UK Ancestry Route – Again, we do not expect any changes.
- EU Rules – Free Movement will end next year post-Brexit, so European Regulations will no longer be in force. Settlement scheme will still operate next year as it does now, anyone eligible must apply prior to June 2021.
A spouse visa in the UK, also known as a spouse visa / partner visa, is a type of visa that allows an individual to join their spouse or partner who is a British citizen or settled person in the UK. This visa category falls under the Family route of the UK immigration system.