Posted Wednesday 10th March 2021
In a year that has already seen significant reform of the UK immigration system, the 2021 Budget on 3 March announced further measures predominantly aimed at attracting highly skilled workers.
A new elite points-based system is to be introduced by March 2022, including a “scaleup” stream and opportunity to fast-track for those with job offers from recognised UK scaleups. Whilst the Budget emphasises a wider focus on highly skilled workers in academia, science, research and technology, the consensus is that this elite visa is aimed primarily at the FinTech industry.
The Global Talent route, which seeks to attract individuals with exceptional talent or promise in a variety of sectors, was most recently streamlined in December 2020. The 2021 Budget indicates that this is to be made more accessible, with many future applicants (such as those holding international prizes and winners of scholarships) to be made eligible for automatic qualification.
Further details of these changes are expected later this year.
Little detail has been provided at this stage for the new Global Business Mobility visa beyond the anticipated launch date of Spring 2022 and that it will encourage overseas businesses to establish a presence in or transfer staff to the UK.
It is unclear at present what this will mean for the current Representative of Overseas Business visa, which allows sole representatives of overseas businesses intending to set up a UK branch/subsidiary to come to the UK for up to 5 years.
The Government has committed to reviewing the Innovator visa, which currently requires at least £50,000 in investment funds and endorsement on the basis that the individual’s idea is new, innovative and viable. There is little detail on what this will entail other than that they intend to make the process easier. Reform will likely revolve around the endorsement stage and its requirements, which can be onerous for new applicants.
Other measures introduced in the Budget include providing more practical support for smaller businesses with little experience of the visa system, modernising the sponsorship system, and establishing a wider global outreach strategy to ultimately build an overseas talent network.
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