Brexit: Everything you need to know about UK work visas

Beginning 1 January 2021, Brexit will trigger many changes in immigration and mobility between the European Union and the United Kingdom. To make it easier for foreign workers to travel and settle across the Channel, they can already apply for visas now.

The countdown has begun. Brexit comes into force on 1 January 2021, and with it come many formalities for British and European nationals alike. For example, any foreigner wishing to travel to the UK to work will need a visa from 1 January.

In order to anticipate this date and to make the process easier, visa applications under the new immigration system have been open since 1 December. The new system is based on points awarded according to selection criteria predefined by the United Kingdom.

Specifics for skilled workers

To hire skilled foreign workers, the recruiting company must be registered in advance as an approved sponsor of the British administration. Future recruits will have to submit a job offer from this sponsor, who will provide a certificate of sponsorship.

The offer must correspond to the required level of skills (RQF 3 or higher / level A or equivalent). The applicant will also have to speak English to the required standard. Finally, the job offer must meet the applicable minimum wage threshold – approximately £25 600 per annum or the threshold at the current rate of pay in the profession.

Other types of visas

For other categories of workers, there are other work visas for which they can apply. Among them, intra-company transfer (ITC) is intended for established employees who are transferred by their company to perform a skilled role in the UK. The Global Talent Visa is for individuals who can demonstrate that they bring rare expertise in science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture.

Entrepreneurs wishing to set up a business in the UK for the first time are also eligible for the Start-up Visa. For those setting up a business based on innovative, viable and scalable business ideas, the Innovative Visa will allow them to move to the UK to set up shop.

Other visas are expected to be offered soon, for example to British nationals from Hong Kong.

For more information, please visit the UK government website:, and listen to the podcast Business and The Future of Immigration in 2021 on Spotify and Apple. These are good resources to prepare your business for this new era of immigration and mobility.

Need support? Our mobility experts Carly and Marianne are at your disposal:

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