Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Introduction to the new UK Immigration system

Q1. What is the new Immigration system?

The UK Government has introduced a new immigration system from January 2021. This system replaces the previous system of Tiers 1 to 5 that had been in place since 2008.

Under the new system, there are a number of immigration routes which provide permission to live and work in the UK.

The main route for those who wish to come to the UK to work is the Skilled Worker visa route. A list of occupations which are eligible for sponsorship under this visa are here.

For academics and researchers, the Global Talent visa route may be applicable. These are classed as highly skilled roles.

The new Immigration system provides visa routes for skilled and and specialist occupations, but does not provide a specific route for general low-skilled work.

Q2.Can someone obtain a visa for work that is not classed as skilled?

As there is no specific route for work not classed as skilled, it may not be possible to obtain a UK visa to undertake this work.

However, the person may be eligible for one of the other UK visas routes that allows them to undertake work. Examples of this are the UK Ancestry visa route, the Youth Mobility Scheme route, being the dependant of a visa holder and certain temporary worker routes if eligible. The webpage has further information for individuals to check what visa they may be eligible for.

Q3. How are European nationals affected by the new UK Immigration system?

The new rules apply equally to any European and non-European nationals who require a visa to work in the UK from January 2021. Whether you need a visa depends on when you started living in the UK.

European nationals already in the UK by 31 December 2020 will not need to apply for a UK visa to work but should apply instead for settled/pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline of 30 June 2021 if they have not already done so.

European nationals arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021, most (except Irish nationals) will need to obtain a visa in advance of arriving to be able to come to work in the UK.


Contact the HR Immigration team if you have any queries.

The University also has a dedicated a Brexit webpage Please note this information is subject to change.