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POINTING OUT

Can you work in the UK under its new points-based immigration system?

A man leaning out of a scoreboard.
AP Photo/Jon Super
To be scored.
  • Youyou Zhou
By Youyou Zhou

Things reporter

Immigration in the UK will soon look very different. The country is implementing a points-based immigration system to select “the brightest and the best” people to let into the country for work. It follows the UK exit from the European Union.

The new system takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Barring a few exceptions, it will only grant immigrant workers residency if they speak English and have a job offer with an annual salary over £20,480 ($26,400) from a UK employer. That’s less than the UK’s median income for households in 2019 of £29,400.

Besides the minimum requirements, the system will assign scores to applicants based on a range of factors including the salary of the job offered, English-language skills, and education. An applicant with a high enough score is allowed to immigrate.

Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, among others, are already using points-based immigration systems. Use the calculator below to see if you’d be qualified to immigrate to the UK, or if there are other places where it would be easier to move.

Points-based immigration calculator

Compared to the other points-based systems around the world, the British version has the most strenuous employment requirement. While other countries give points to immigrants with a job offer, only the UK will require it. Top science and technology researchers are an exception. They will not need to have a job offer to immigrate to the UK.

The new system will be used by officials to evaluate both EU and non-EU nationals.

The UK’s Home Office says it’s working on refining the system, which “might include a greater range of qualification levels or other factors such as age or experience studying in the UK”. It also says that immigrant workers approved under the system will be allowed to come to the UK with their families.

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