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Immigration system and social care

New points-based immigration system§

On 13 July 2020, the government set out further details on the UK’s points-based system. These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended.

It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

Care providers that are not already a licensed sponsor and think they will want to sponsor migrants through the skilled worker route from January 2021, they should apply now to become a licensed sponsor.

Care staff and providers should familiarise themselves with the following government resources. They may also wish to sign up for Government email alerts to get updates on the new immigration system:

Employing EU citizens in the UK- 14 October 2020 – Home Office

Information for employers on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, covering right to work checks, the EU Settlement Scheme and the UK’s new immigration system.

EU Settlement Scheme: community support for vulnerable citizens – Updated 14 October 2020 – Home Office

Organisations funded to provide support to vulnerable and at risk EU citizens applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. Updated contact details.

Coronavirus and the non-UK workforce – 8 October 2020 – ONS

New insights on the characteristics of non-British nationals and non-UK-born in the workforce between 2017 and 2019, including those who could be considered as key workers in the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Between 2017 and 2019, there were 32.3 million people employed in the UK workforce, of which 11% were non-British nationals (7% EU and 4% non-EU nationals).

During the same period, roughly a third (10.5 million) were employed in key worker occupations and industries.

The largest number of key workers worked in health and social care (3.2 million), of which 12% were non-British nationals with an equal split between EU and non-EU nationals.

Looking at the change over time from 2012 to 2019, the number of non-British nationals employed in key worker occupations and industries had grown (from 826,300 in 2012 to 1,097,100 in 2019); this was mainly driven by a steady increase in EU nationals working in health and social care (from 100,200 in 2012 to 192,300 in 2019).

Health surcharge reimbursement – 1 October 2020 – GOV.UK

Care staff may be able to be reimbursed for the immigration health surcharge (IHS) if they work in the health and care sector. Government guidance sets out: who is eligible; how to apply for reimbursement; and how to appeal a decision.

Government launches Health and Care Visa – 14 July 2020 – GOV.UK

Government has launched a Health and Care Visit programme. According to the Government press release: “The new Health and Care Visa will apply to eligible roles within the health and care sector. The events of recent months have illustrated just what a crucial role the care sector plays in UK society. The government is working closely with the sector to support and recognise the contributions of care workers. This includes a widespread focus on training and introducing a proper career structure to provide opportunities for those in the sector and makes it an attractive profession for prospective carers. The independent Migration Advisory Committee has been very clear that immigration is not the answer to the challenges in the social care sector and, as we implement the new immigration system, we want employers to focus on investing in our domestic workforce.”

As part of the launch of the Health and Care Visa, those who apply via the visa and their dependants will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Useful links on visas and immigration§