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The topic of immigration was in the spotlight during the Pre-Brexit period. Now that Brexit has actually happened and the transition period has been strictly defined with the end date of 31 December 2020, Home Office released its plans on the future immigration system. As of today, 19 February 2020, we are able to share with our readers a more comprehensive view of the future of immigration after Brexit.

As expected, UKVI will implement a universal points-based system for those who wish to work and settle in the UK. But what does it imply in the practicality of immigration in the UK? Let’s see what will become a history first.

The main demographics to be affected are the EEA and Swiss citizens. They will no longer have the freedom of movement and labour in the UK like they used to. They will be treated like any other nation. However, those who entered the UK before the Brexit deadline will be allowed to stay and granted Settled Status under EU Settlement Scheme.

Turkish Citizens will also be affected by the changes in the immigration system as they are currently enjoying particular rights derived from the ECAA, known as Ankara Agreement which gives them the right to set up a business in the UK or be sponsored in favourable conditions.

On the other hand, all the rights of current immigrants will continue, giving the EU citizens and Turkish citizens the right to extend their stay in the UK or apply for settlement as long as they can prove their eligibility.

For the EEA, Swiss and Turkish citizens the door is still open until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, so anyone thinking of living and working in the UK can still do so until this deadline.

This change says that the immigration rules will apply to anyone, irrespective of their nationality now. But what rules will apply to everyone? What is changed and what will be implemented as of 1 January 2021?

New routes were announced today, and they suggest changes to the current Tier system. There are two main routes that will be used in more mainstream employment terms. The first one is the Points-Based System replacing the Tier 2 General mainly.

Points-based system

The minimum salary requirement was decided to be £25,600 after the Migration Advisory Committee’s comment. Caps, quotas are lifted, and Resident Labour Market Test will no longer be required. A migrant with a job offer must reach 70 points, but the base 50 points must be met in any case. These 50 points are composed of English language requirement (10 points), a job offer (20 points) and an appropriate skill level (20 points).

However, if the job offered is listed on the Shortage Occupation List or if the candidate has a relevant PhD, they might be sponsored to work in the UK with a lower salary.

Global Talent Route

The second route that was highlighted in the Post-Brexit immigration system is the Global Talent Route. This route aims to attract more top tier professionals, especially on the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). This is an existing route, however, within the new rules, it is expected to be implemented in more flexible terms. These individuals will be welcomed to move to the UK without a job offer in place as before. Yet they are still expected to be endorsed by a higher education body or a registered endorser in the UK. This route will have further additions and updates on it, as explained in the statement issued by the Home Office.

The new immigration system offers more relaxed conditions for sponsored workers and sponsoring companies, but it closes the doors on the once free-moving low skilled labour of the EEA citizens.

The privileges of the EEA citizens and Turkish citizens are ongoing till 31 December 2020, so individuals from the EEA countries and Turkey with plans to work and live in the UK should ensure their arrival into the UK before this date.
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Recently announced new Points-Based System has been the cause of many arguments, which has now taken to a whole new dimension with the Brexit, and the new system, which puts people before passports, is supposed to be the future of the UK immigration.

According to unknown sources, Secretary of the State Priti Patel told the cabinet that they will be implementing a new system similar to ones in Australia and Canada and it will be implemented before the end of the transition period, she added. These new statements caused a lot of question marks across the public and the commons. The new Points-Bases System is planned to arrive at the end of this year, and it is based on grading new immigrants on pre-determined categories and exceed a pre-determined threshold.

It is also stated that the aim is to attract talents across the globe while denying entrance of the low-skilled immigrants by relying on a pre-election system. Although we do not believe the new system will affect the already-existing low-skilled migrants, it is clear that these changes will affect potential immigrants who wish to live and work in the UK tremendously. However, it can’t be denied that the new system is expected to go a long way in attracting potential talents and qualified immigrants who wish to live in the UK. Similar systems to the new points-based system is already in place in countries like Australia and Canada and the system grades potential immigrants in categories like education, language and qualifications. Ones who exceed the threshold are then allowed to make an application.

Another highly discussed subject was Priti Patel’s statement that the new system would be in effect by the end of 2020 instead of in 2 years. The cabinet and the government officials have stated that this decision would deeply affect many already-existing institutions and systems from NHS to economy, two industries that are very dependent on immigrants, and there will be many changes required. Priti Patel’s statements not only point to a potential deprivation in manpower but also many specialists, law societies and government officials believe that rushing the deadline passed the original timeframe might cause the new system to be imperfect and flawed.

 PM Boris Johnson also stated in his speech at the UK-Africa Summit that the new system would put passports before people and favour an individual’s qualifications before their religion, race or nation. The notion that when done right, the new system can thrive and make the country a better place is also quite popular with the public.

For now, it is safe to say that ECAA, both Turkish Businessperson and Turkish Worker, applications’ extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications are safe. However, we also believe that the new Points-Based System is sure to cause a lot of confusion and conflict in its early ages.

We will keep you updated on all things Brexit. To read about the latest news, keep following our blogs and social media accounts.

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Rules governing the relations between states are defined by international, bilateral or multilateral agreements. These agreements ensure that countries have a set of rules defining reference points in the exchange of information, money, goods and people. Being a part of a trans-governmental organisation (as explained by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye) requires more than reference points. It requires submission to rules set by a non-nation state body, rather than defining them.

There is one international organisation that actually fits the definition of a trans-governmental organisation. That is the European Union. It is trans-governmental as much as it is trans-national. I have given you this initial explanation in order to explain the gravity of the situation regarding any types of Brexit. The European Union does not only define the rules set within the EU, but also each countries’ relationship with third parties (other states and international organisations) Meaning once Brexit happens, all of the UK’s relationships will have to be redefined, to the smallest detail.

This information it scary when each time a politician talks about a Brexit deal with no practical consideration of its implementation, even scarier when some politician speaks of the ‘no-deal’ so comfortably. As much as it is extremely remarkable that such people can actually become next prime ministers of a Kingdom that invented diplomacy as we know it, this is what the United Kingdom is left with.



The UK is left with a massive workload and a foreign policy to redefine. Amongst the most important are the immigration policies. Despite not being a part of the Schengen visa regime, the UK still has to abide by the rules governing its borders concerning the EU citizens. In addition, the UK is bound by the EU’s agreements made with other states (such as Turkey’s ECAA deal) Although the Irish border issue makes the headlines most due to the historical issues between the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the rest is going to be nearly as complicated to deal with.

The White Paper on Immigration published on December 2018 by the UK Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) promised to introduce a single immigration system based on skills and talent. There is no clear indication of how to define skill or talent in addition to the lack of any indication of implementation. Is there going to be a salary threshold? How can the educational background be interpreted (i.e. will an American Ivy League University be treated the same as a Malawian Higher Education Institution?)

There is clearly a lot of questions to be answered by whoever will be the next prime minister, yet there seems to be no connection with reality on their part. I find it chaotic and depressing to even consider a no-deal Brexit. I am sure reasonable politicians and bureaucrats within the UK and the EU agree. At least let’s hope so.
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Earlier in May, politics left the UK mainstage for a while. Then came the Conservative – Labor talks negotiating a sound Brexit plan to back in the parliament. Then those talks broke. Then May announced her exit on June 7. Then came the EU parliamentary elections.

 

May’s exit was wished upon by many and was merely surprising. UKIP successor Brexit Party’s victory was also expected, and probably not wished upon as much as May’s exit. These two outcomes stemmed from the same reason: Brexit was not delivered.


This resulted third of the population voting for parties that were openly supporting a no-deal Brexit, which adds up to 35% of the votes. Conservative and Labor leave voters have shifted a 5% of their votes to this bloc as well.



What was not as much expected though, was the amount of votes going into the remain bloc. Openly remain parties such as Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru gained 40% of the votes, which gives them an overall advantage over leave bloc. In addition to that, knowing most Labor voters are remain voters, you can make a claim that the public is more supportive of a remain position on the Brexit issue.

 

As hard as it is to make a strong claim about pushing a second referendum in political terms, it was comforting to see that remain is more likely to win in case a public vote takes place. And it is certain that most of the Westminster politicians are aware of it, like the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn changing his attitude on the referendum stance.

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On April 30th Tuesday, day before the Labor Day, Labour Party had a meeting amongst themselves to decide upon their stance for Brexit. They had various topics to discuss over Brexit, but most highlighted outcome of the meeting was the one concerning a potential second referendum. Many were hoping that Labour Party would adopt a firm stance asking for a second referendum, but the outcome was not as expected.

Many would assume that Labour Party and its supporters would support the EU and the remainers, thus pushing for a pro-second referendum agenda. This is a common misconception. There is also a left-wing argument for Brexit which opposes the EU on the basis of their liberal economy policies. Left wing Brexiteers oppose the free flow of money but support the free flow of people. This is vice versa for the right wing Brexiteers arguments, as they support the free flow of capital but oppose the free movement of people.




What does this mean in relation to the meeting?

Labour Party announced that in case there is no change to May’s Brexit plan or a promise of general election, they would be pushing for a referendum. Referendum is a third option. Labour is not acting as a body taking its stance with reference to Brexit in the upcoming elections.


General scheme of the whole saga

Brexit is going to come back to the news stories as frequent as it used to be in no time again. The European Parliamentary Elections appears in the horizon, yet no deal has been reached. Expect a few more attempts on a deal, but nothing suggests a plan that can go through the parliament. Even if it does, it will have some strings attached, such as a confirmatory referendum.


For those concerned about their immigration, settlement or visa status

Forecast looks as if there won’t be a storm but expect a few showers. Current visa and immigration regime seem to be still valid and in place. Third country agreements that UK is bound by via EU agreements, such as Ankara Agreement with Turkey, will not be subject to change in the foreseeable future.

Family, visit and study visa system will all remain the same for now. There has been changes to the procedures for efficiency purposes, yet no major changes have been introduced yet.


Mid-term and Long-term changes to the visa regime

Government published a paper, known as the ‘White Paper’ that outlines the future immigration system of the UK. This is a paper in which Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises changes to the immigration regime for the post-Brexit UK. Her Majesty’s Government agrees with most of the paper, meaning that when Brexit happens this paper will be the future guideline of immigration to the UK.

To sum-up, the UK intends to treat all other countries on an equal basis. Instead, the emphasis will be on the skill level of the immigrant. As the free flow of labour will diminish overall due to the cease of free labour influx from the EU, there are plans to lower the skills quota.
This raises a question: if the UK is aiming to attract higher skilled labour rather than any labour from the EU, why lowering the quota? The answer lies within itself: because there will be all kinds of labour shortage.

So Brexit creates a problem that itself wanted to correct in principle. It is controversial, just as expected from the Brexit itself.
You can remind yourself that the capital requirement that was introduced six years ago for the spouses of British citizens was proposed by Theresa May herself. Today, still many families suffer from the separation due to this unexpectedly introduced capital requirement.
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MP’s have taken a long Easter break after EU’s decision on delaying Brexit until Halloween 2019, 31st of October. Without questioning whether this was an intentional joke or just a coincidence, a long break to what has become an inconclusive period of talks moved Brexit discussions away from British public’s minds.

Many claim uncertainty is worse than any bad decision. Some claim that it is just an escape sentence for some people to feel better about their history of making bad decision. Regardless, Brexit is still a big question mark. And the break might have taken Brexit away from the public, but it would not be a surprise to see many MP’s come back from the break with an agenda to push.


May’s May

First on the agenda for Conservative MP’s would be the leadership race once PM Theresa May leaves office. May promised to leave office in case a deal is passed through the Parliament and Brexit is agreed to be delivered with a plan she brings to the table. On the other hand, if she continues to fail, there is a big chance that she will be ousted by her own party. In the first case we have a Brexit plan. Probability of a leadership change though, will bring more uncertainty. Depending on whether a hard-Brexiteer or a leader with a milder approach taking over, there are many novelties a leadership change can bring to the table Brexit process.


Elections in May

 23rd of May is the next deadline for yet another decision in case a Brexit plan has not passed through the parliament yet (which is very likely): European Parliament elections in late May. If UK. Decides not to take part in these elections, a no deal Brexit will happen on 1st of June. As the UK promised the EU to behave and play along as long as they are not officially out of the Union, it is safer to argue that UK will take part in this election. Only if Theresa May is replaced by a hard-Brexiteer Conservative leader, then this becomes higher odds.


What about the People?

 You can take the UK out of the EU, but you can’t take the EU out of the UK. Many EU and EEA citizens in addition to many non-EEA migrants here under the EU related special agreements, are living in the UK still, and they will be subject to regulatory change. Even though British bureaucrats and civil servants are working long hours to be prepared for any scenario to guarantee a smooth transition for all, there are questions in everyone’s minds about their future in the UK.


What Should EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens Do to Stay in the UK?

 EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK and their dependents can apply to stay further within the UK even after Brexit happens. This is called the EU Settlement Scheme. This is a simple procedure if you meet the criteria and your records are in the government records. If not, you can contact an immigration adviser. There are ways to prove your stay and claim your settlement through further documentation. Those who fulfil the requirements will be granted ‘Settled Status, this requires 5-year residence in the UK, in line with the EEA regulations as a qualified person. EU citizens and their family members can make the application and receive the result straightaway via their mobile. If their stay is less than 5 year they will be granted ‘Pre-settled Status’ by the system. However, the system does not recognise some periods and some evidence might be required to prove the right.


What Should non-EEA Citizens Do?

 UK government mostly agreed to the white paper on immigration of December 2018, a long advisory document that gives the government a path towards what should be the next steps once Brexit happens. Here a single migration scheme is suggested, which confirms that UK will rearrange its agreements that were previously set by the EU. Any special agreements, such as Ankara Agreement is expected to be dissolved or majorly reshaped as a result of this. This also depends on how UK will exit the EU. We will keep you informed as soon as more information is available on how & when Brexit might happen.


What Should EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens Do to Stay in the UK?
 


EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK and their dependents can apply to stay further within the UK even after Brexit happens. This is called the EU Settlement Scheme. This is a simple procedure if you meet the criteria and your records are in the government records. If not, you can contact an immigration adviser. There are ways to prove your stay and claim your settlement through further documentation. Those who fulfil the requirements will be granted ‘Settled Status, this requires 5-year residence in the UK, in line with the EEA regulations as a qualified person. EU citizens and their family members can make the application and receive the result straightaway via their mobile. If their stay is less than 5 year they will be granted ‘Pre-settled Status’ by the system. However, the system does not recognise some periods and some evidence might be required to prove the right.


What Should non-EEA Citizens Do to Stay in the UK?


UK government mostly agreed to the white paper on immigration of December 2018, a long advisory document that gives the government a path towards what should be the next steps once Brexit happens. Here a single migration scheme is suggested, which confirms that UK will rearrange its agreements that were previously set by the EU. Any special agreements, such as Ankara Agreement is expected to be dissolved or majorly reshaped as a result of this. This also depends on how UK will exit the EU. We will keep you informed as soon as more information is available on how & when Brexit might happen.

Author: Yigit Cem Ozturk
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