New UK Immigration System: More South Africans May Qualify for Work Visas

In the wake of Brexit and the United Kingdom’s (UK) new skills-based immigration system, South Africans will have increased access to UK work visas.

According to Move Up, the new immigration system will see South Africans given access to work visas – in some cases with a path to permanent UK residence – based on their skills and qualifications, rather than their nationality.

“The UK is scrapping their dual EU and non-EU visa system in favour of a more streamlined immigration and work visa process.  This is aimed at attracting talent from around the world to keep the UK globally competitive,” says Move Up managing director, Ryan Rennison.

More South Africans will be able to apply for work visas under the new immigration rules.

“The playing field has now been levelled – all nationalities will be required to apply for visas under the same skilled worker’s route.  The major difference is that applicants need to have sponsorship from a UK employer before applying,” he adds.

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While workers were required to earn a minimum salary of £30,000 per annum to be eligible for this visa, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been making headlines for wanting to reduce this threshold even further to £25,600.  

According to the Home Office’s UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department these are the most significant changes:

  • The skills threshold has been lowered to intermediate level skills at RQF 3-5 level (A-level or equivalent);
  • The Resident Labour Market Test for the Tier 2 (General) visa has been scrapped;
  • The cap on the number of work visas issued annually has been removed.

A new UK visa type that will allow workers of any skill level to live and work in the UK for one year has been created.  However, the UK Home Secretary has stated that this option will only be available to passport holders from specific countries. 

“With the South African government chasing the revocation of UK visitor visas for South African tourists and seemingly meeting some resistance, it’s unclear whether South Africa will be on the list for the one-year work visa,” says Rennison.  

Workers on this scheme will not be able to bring family with them, or access any benefits; furthermore, they will not be allowed to switch to another visa or live in the UK permanently.  Once the visa has expired, they are legally not allowed to return to work in the UK for one year.

Each visa has different rules that apply to living and working in the UK.

Move Up’s free online visa assessment is designed to work out which visas applicants may be eligible for, whilst offering clients a more efficient way to apply for their UK visas. 

“Our online visa assessment technology applies the UK government’s visa rules to determine which visas clients may qualify for.  We then offer our representation services to each applicant, applying our decade of experience in dealing with the UKVI Sheffield office to ensure applicants’ documents are in order and that their applications are successful, the first time around,” says Rennison.

The online assessment also helps to reduce the amount of paperwork involved in a visa application, making it the most efficient way to get a UK visa with agency assistance.

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