Effective April 6, 2022, all Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders in the United Kingdom are now required to provide proof or evidence of their right to work via the government’s newly instituted Home Office online service. As a result of this, all individuals who have newly emigrated to the U.K. for work will no longer be allowed to use their valid BRP, BRC or FWP permit, regardless of the document’s expiration and issue date. Additionally, employers will no longer be able to accept the permits or monitor the work status of BRC or BRP holders who acquired their permits before the revisions passed. Instead, in order to avoid any future civil penalties, employers will now maintain a statutory excuse against employee right-to-work permits secured before April 6.
In the U.K., before offering up any employment opportunity, employers must conduct a check of all job applicants who are currently holding lawful immigration status. There are currently two types of right to work checks: a manual and an online check, with the type varying depending on the job applicant status. Additionally, every few months, the Home Office releases an updated Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 1118). The revisions, often released several times a year, extend a new immigration route to the public as well as rebranding already existing paths to legal immigration. The most recent release, which has been in place since the beginning of April, introduces “bespoke immigration routes which will ultimately contribute to U.K. economic growth,” according to the new Statement of Changes report.
Dubbed the Global Business Mobility route, this newest of three immigration categories was introduced to foster economic growth in the U.K., and heavily leans on the idea of transferring staff from surrounding countries to support specific, U.K.-based business purposes. The route consists of five different subcategories: Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, U.K. Expansion Worker, Service Supplier and Secondment Worker, which combine all existing regulations while also setting a new salary threshold between each group. Additionally, this route only focuses on applicants who are coming to the U.K. to accept temporary or contract work assignments and do not allow for the addition of family dependents or entrance into the country without at least a year of sponsorship from an employer.
The second route, the Scale-up Visa route, only requires an individual to be sponsored for the first six months of their stay, also offering them the opportunity to continue working without a sponsor for an additional 18 months, penalty free. Lastly, the final route, called the High-Potential Individual route (HPI), is primarily designed for recent college graduates from the top universities around the world and is the U.K.’s most frequent form of immigration route. In order to successfully meet the requirements, applicants must complete and receive a degree equivalent to that of a bachelor’s degree in the UK.
Unlike the Global Business Mobility route, HPI does not require applicants to obtain sponsorship or a job offer from a company before coming to the UK. Moreover, HPI applicants are also allowed to bring as many family dependents as they want to accompany them, without the fear of deportation. Long before these changes were instituted, U.K.-based international students, who account for roughly $26 billion of the British economy every year, warned that frequent revisions could put a damper on international student recruitment in the future.
Moving forward, with the removal of the post-work study Visa now reversed, the British government aims to create a much more streamlined immigration process for individuals looking to start or further their career in the U.K.