UK Immigration Update - February 2020

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) – a points based system and salary thresholds for immigration

10 February 2020

The MAC published its report on Tuesday 28 January 2020 on the proposed changes to the Points Based System and salary thresholds.  A link to the full report can be found below:

Summary of proposed changes

The report was issued following completion of the calls for evidence in (to be confirmed).  It sets out the MAC’s recommendations for changes to the existing Points Based System that are likely to be implemented and in effect by the start of January 2021.  Please find a summary of the key changes below:

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Please refer to the section on the new Global Talent visa below.

Tier 2 route

  • removal of Restrictive Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) cap,
  • lowering of RQF level from 6 to 3, to capture lower skilled roles following Brexit,
  • abolishing the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) requirement,
  • lowering minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 General from £30,000 to £25,600,
  • not applying regional salary thresholds,
  • defining new entrant salaries and applying for five years not three and
  • adding/removing roles from RQF Level 3

Please note that these are proposed changes and have to be accepted by the current government before any form in implementation. If you have any questions in relation to the proposed changes and how they may impact your business please do not hesitate to contact us.


The UK left the EU at 11pm on Friday 31 January 2020.  A transitional period will now be in place until 31 December 2020.  As the UK signed a Brexit withdrawal bill there will be no implementation of the European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) category as this was designed specifically for if the UK left the EU without a withdrawal bill.

EU settlement scheme

At this time we recommend that any EU nationals and their family members present in the UK before the end of the transitional period (31 December 2020) should submit an application under the EU settlement scheme.  The scheme will remain open to initial applicants until 30 June 2021.  There will be no changes to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK until this date.

Any EU nationals that have not submitted an application under the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021 will be subject to the new UK immigration requirements (see above).

Bringing family to the UK after 31 January 2020

Close family members can join their EU spouse in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or 31 December 2025 for the spouses/civil partners of Swiss nationals) and will be required to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme once here.

It should also be possible to bring close family members after 31 December 2020 (or December 2025 for spouses/partners of Swiss nationals), however this will be dependent on a number of factors including when your relationship began and evidencing that the relationship is subsisting and genuine at the time the application to the EU Settlement scheme is made.

Global talent scheme

This scheme goes live on 20 February 2020 and is designed to fast track entry for mathematicians, researchers and scientists.  The route replaces the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will endorse applicants from the scientific and research community.

As an overview the route: The route will:

  • deliver a fast-track scheme, managed by UKRI enabling UK-based research projects which have received recognised prestigious grants and awards,  to hire the best global talent,
  • increase (potentially doubling) the number of eligible fellowships,
  • continue to ensure dependents have full access to the labour market
  • be a flexible route – applicants are not required to have an offer of employment before arriving in the UK, neither does the scheme tie them to one specific job
  • provide an accelerated path to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR/settlement) for those endorsed on the route

The route will also offer an exemption from the current absence rules for researchers, meaning that they should not be penalised at ILR stage if they have been required to work overseas for the purpose of their research.

Contact us

If you have any questions in relation to the above topics or require assistance and guidance in relation to immigration planning for Brexit please contact:

Sue Kukadia –
Director / Head of Immigration

Michelle Askew –
Senior Manager