The UK government has provided more details of the new immigration system that will apply from 1 January 2021.
From this date, free movement for nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will end. Non-British and Irish nationals not covered by the withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU will require visas for all but short-term visits to the UK.

Arrivals will require passports unless covered by the withdrawal agreement. National ID cards will not be acceptable. The government intends to introduce a universal ‘permission to travel’ requirement on a phased basis to 2025, which will mean that anyone other than British or Irish nationals looking to travel to the UK will need to seek permission to do so in advance. A visa, where held, will constitute permission to travel and the plan is to move towards a digital immigration record.

An electronic travel authorization (ETA) will be introduced for visitors and those transiting through the UK who do not need a visa for short stays in the UK, or who don’t have a UK immigration status before traveling.

Employers should now:

Review and plan ahead

Current sponsored migrants looking to extend their stay after 1 January 2021 will have to do so under the new rules – they will not only be relevant for new recruits.

Consider your recruitment needs

Consider whether the typical vacancies arising in your business will qualify under the new requirements. What impact could this have on your recruitment practices and costs? Recruiting EEA and Swiss nationals will undoubtedly be more complex, expensive, and time-consuming from January 2021, where possible at all. EEA or Swiss nationals recruited to the UK ahead of 31 December will be able to remain in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme rules, avoiding the new system


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