The plans laid out by the government will make it harder for low-skilled workers to enter the UK and for migrants to access benefits unless they have been granted indefinite leave to remain, usually after 5 years.

Anyone wanting to live and work in the UK from 1 January 2021 will need a minimum of 70 points to qualify for a visa. The same points-based system will work in the same way for people coming in from EU or non-EU countries.

There are three mandatory criteria for earning points:

  • A job offer with a ‘sponsoring’ company – 20 points
  • Job at appropriate skill level – 20 points
  • Ability to speak English at the required level – 10 points

Once the mandatory criteria have been met, other criteria allow applicants to top up points including:

  • Minimum salary of £20,480 but to earn points the salary must be £23,040 to £25,599 (10 points) or more than £25,600 (20 points)
  • Job on the government’s jobs shortage list – 20 points. The list currently includes nursing, civil engineering, psychology and classical ballet dancing amongst others
  • A doctorate level degree (PhD) in a subject relevant to the job (10 points) or in a science, technology, engineering or maths subject (20 points)

Hilary Hall, NHBF chief executive, said: “The government has set criteria which link low pay to low skills.  We know that people working in hair and beauty often earn minimum wages, but that certainly does not mean they are low-skilled.  But under the new system it’s unlikely that many hair or beauty applicants will meet the points-based system criteria. Salons looking to fill vacancies from overseas should make those appointments before 31 December 2020 as the new criteria will make it much harder to recruit foreign workers, whether they are EU or non-EU citizens.”