Last week the UK’s transition period with the EU officially ended and on 1 January 2021, the Home Office published a new points-based immigration system for EU nationals. The new system prioritises skills and talent over where a person comes from. For the first time in over a decade, EU nationals and non-EU nationals must use the same set of Immigration Rules to submit a visa application. From 1 January 2021, EU nationals who do not have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will need to obtain a visa before travelling to the UK. There has been a lot of speculation regarding what EU nationals must do to work and reside in the UK and we provide an overview below to help EU nationals understand what options are available to them.
EU nationals who wish to work in the UK
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals must now apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK, unless they arrived in the UK before 1 January 2021. In order to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, applicants must show that they have been offered a job in the UK from an employer who holds a valid Sponsor Licence. Migrants must show that their job meets the relevant minimum salary threshold by the sponsor (normally £25,600 or the going rate for their particular job, whichever is higher). Migrants must show that they speak English at the intermediate level at B1 (on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages). Migrants who will earn less than £25,600 but no less than £20,480 may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points for specific characteristics against their salary.
Business visas for EU Nationals from 1 January 2021
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals can apply for a business visa such as the Innovator, Start-up, or Global Talent visa under the new points-based system. The Innovator visa is for high net worth business persons looking to establish a new innovative business in the UK and must have £50,000 to invest into the business and have been endorsed by an appropriate body. The Start-up visa is similar to the Innovator visa but there is no requirement to show the investment sum of £50,000. The key difference between the two visas is that the Start-up visa requires migrants to show that they have received an endorsement from a UK higher education institute or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. There is also no route to settlement through the Start-up visa, whereas there is through the Innovator visa.
The Global Talent visa allows the most highly skilled to come to the UK without a job offer. This route allows recognised global leaders, and the leaders of tomorrow in science, humanities, engineering, the arts (including film, fashion design, & architecture), and digital technology, with individuals’ unique skills enriching the UK’s knowledge, economy, and society. It is possible for top scientists and researchers to benefit from a quicker endorsement process as part of a fast-track STEM scheme process.
EU Nationals who wish to study in the UK
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals must now apply for a Student visa if they wish to study in the UK (unless it’s for a short-term course is less than 6 months). Students must have been offered a place by an institution that holds a valid Student Sponsor Licence. Students must also show that they can read, speak, and write in English. Students must also show that have enough money to meet the maintenance requirement and to pay for their course upfront. There is a separate Child Student visa for child students aged 4 to 17 years old who wish to study at an independent school.
How can EU nationals apply to bring their family members to the UK?
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals can apply for their family members (spouses, fiancés, unmarried partners, and children) to join them in the UK. If the relationship started after 31 December 2020, applications must be submitted under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. In order to apply under Appendix FM, EU nationals must show that there is a genuine and subsisting relationship with the Applicant. The Applicant must also show that they meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600 from a specified source under Appendix FM SE to the Immigration Rules and meet the English language at the intermediate level at A1 (on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages).
The Home Office takes a strict approach when assessing the evidential requirements and therefore these applications must be carefully prepared to avoid refusals. Applicants who are successful under Appendix FM will be granted 2.5 years which can be extended for a further 2.5 years. After 5 years, Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) in the UK. Following this can consider an application for British citizenship. If you do not meet any of the requirements under Appendix FM you can still submit an application and ask the Home Office to exercise discretion to grant your application under the 10-year settlement route.
EU Nationals whose relationship with their family member started prior to 31 December 2020
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who can show their relationship with their family member started prior to 31 December 2020 and if that relationship continues to exist at the date of the application, then they may be able to apply under Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules. In theory, applications under Appendix EU are much more straightforward as the requirements are not as stringent as applications under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. Applicants who are successful will be granted indefinite leave to enter or remain or limited leave to enter or remain.
Do EU Nationals need a visa for a short visit of fewer than 6 months?
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals may visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa as long as they are genuine visitors. There are a number of activities they can participate in whilst in the UK such as tourism, visiting family and friends, short-term study, and business-related activities, such as meetings, events, and conferences.
Who is exempt from the New Points Based System?
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who arrived and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021 are exempt from the new points-based system and can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to apply for Pre-settled Status or Settled Status. However, applications under the EUSS must be submitted before the deadline of 30 June 2021. Anyone who fails to submit an application under the EUSS by the deadline will need to then apply under the new points-based system. Irish citizens’ status continues to be protected as part of Common Travel Area arrangements.
How our immigration solicitors can help EU Nationals with a visa application
Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in all visa applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of different clients in different categories. The key to submitting successful applications is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application ensuring a successful result. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.
Using our immigration solicitors to submit a visa application as an EU National
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a visa application as an EU National.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your visa application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your visa application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful visa application as an EU National with our immigration solicitors
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice, and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful visa application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.