The UK’s new points-based post-Brexit immigration system came into force on Tuesday.
Free movement from and to the EU will come to an end on Dec 31, and all foreign nationals, including those from the European Union, who want to work in the UK from Jan 1 will have to apply online for a visa.
Online applications for visas via a range of new “routes” are now being accepted.
Applications for “worker visas” will be judged on the basis of a system under which points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level in an eligible occupation, knowledge of English and whether applicants meet a salary threshold.
For example, those seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer with a salary of at least £25,600 (RM140,000), and to be proficient in English.
All applicants, regardless of category of visa applied for, will have to show they have enough money to support themselves as well as having proof of identity. The process is planned to take about three weeks before applicants find out whether they have been successful.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the system would be “simple, effective and flexible” and enable employers to fill skills gaps while also placing a greater onus on firms to train and invest in British workers.
Patel and other critics of European free movement have long argued it has left British firms overly reliant on low-skilled European workers and put applicants from the rest of the world at a disadvantage.
Applications also opened on Tuesday for Global Talent, Innovator and Start-Up visas designed to attract “those who have an exceptional talent or show exceptional promise in the fields of engineering, science, tech or culture”.