Arriving after Brexit

The status of, and rules for, Europeans and their family members already resident, or arriving, in the UK before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will not change. Those coming to the UK from January 2021 onwards will need to apply for a visa under a new immigration system starting in January 2021.

The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) is involved in discussions and consultations with the Home Office as well as other universities and organisations within our sector (such as the Russell Group, UK Research and Innovation, the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and Universities UK) on the requirements of the new immigration system.

Some details on what has been published so far about the new immigration system are provided below, and this will be updated as more details of the new system, and the new requirements for Europeans and their family members, are published.

The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) is happy to help with any queries and discuss what may be required depending on when Europeans and/or their family members will be coming to the UK.

The UK government published a policy paper in February 2020 which set out their plans for a new UK points-based immigration system. They then published a further policy paper in July 2020 providing further details on the new system which it is expected will launch on a trial basis in the Autumn of 2020 before coming into effect in January 2021.

Under the new immigration system European nationals, and their family members, coming to the UK from January 2021 onwards will have to apply for visas under the same rules as non-Europeans and will have to pay the same visa and Immigration Health Surcharge (NHS) fees.

The new points-based immigration system when launched will be based largely on the current immigration system but over time more points-based elements will be introduced. An overview of the new immigration system is provided on the Home Office website. The main elements of the new system, of relevance within the collegiate University, are:

  • a Skilled Workers visa which will be the main work route and will be very similar to the existing Tier 2 visa. Tier 2 is for those coming to the UK who have a job offer from an employer which holds a Tier 2 sponsor licence. Within the University the Tier 2 visa route is used mainly for research roles but also covers statisticians, bioinformatians, lecturers, engineers, and other specialist roles including those in IT. The main changes are that the strict requirements on retaining proof of advertising and selection (referred to as the 'Resident Labour Market Test' or RLMT) will no longer apply, the salary thresholds will be lower in some cases but higher in others, and a wider range of roles will be sponsorable under the new Skilled Worker route;
  • the Global Talent visa route will be retained and may be expanded further. The Global Talent visa route is used for senior academic appointments, such as Associate and Statutory Professorships, and researchers who hold certain fellowships or whose roles are funded by certain 'endorsed funders', and some technical roles which are essential to research projects funded by certain 'endorsed funders';
  • a Government Authorised Exchange visa route which will be used for training and work experience. This route should include visits to participate in collaborative research which we expect to be based on the existing Tier 5 Sponsored Researcher route;
  • a Student Route based on the existing Tier 4 student visa route;
  • a new Graduate Route to be launched in summer 2021, under which students will be able to stay and work, or look for work, for two (undergraduate and Masters students) or three (PhD students) years after they graduate;
  • Visitor visa routes which will probably be based on the current Visitor visas, however, details have not yet been published; and
  • some other visa routes which will remain largely unchanged or will be based on the existing visa routes (such as Tier 5 Youth Mobility, UK Ancestry, creative, sporting and religious worker routes, which are not seen as often within the collegiate University).

Family members will be able to apply for Dependant visas under most of these visa routes and under the new immigration system it may be easier to switch from one visa route to another (as long as the relevant visa requirements can be met) without having to leave the UK, although switching from a Visitor visa will still not be permitted.

The main difference Europeans will encounter is that they will, in most cases, need to apply for and be granted a visa before coming to the UK and will have to pay visa fees and the NHS Surcharge. Current visa fees are detailed in the 'Costs' pages of the guidance on the current visa routes found at the links above. The Immigration Health (or NHS) Surcharge is a charge per year for the length of the visa, which must be paid in full when applying for the visa, and then ensures access to treatment through the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS Surcharge is currently £400 per year, but will increase to £624 per year, and £470 per year for Dependants under 18, in October 2020.

More details will be provided about the new visa routes as they are released later in 2020, but those with queries can contact the department, faculty, or college offering employment or hosting a visit in the first instance, or the Staff Immigration Team.

Who to contact

James Baker
Head of Staff Immigration 

tel: 01865 289908


Tim Currie
Staff Immigration Officer

tel: 01865 289903

Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: 

James Galloway Tel: 01865 289927 Email:


MPLS / Social Sciences

Nina Song Tel: 01865 289926 Email:

Solveig Alsaker Tel: 01865 289912 Email:




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