Each year, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) make changes and updates to the UK’s immigration system and rules. This year has brought a variety of changes interrelated with politics and immigration. The most significant ones relate to Tier 1, Tier 2, EU Settlement Scheme and introduction of Start – Up and Innovator visas. 

2020 promises to bring new immigration developments in relation to international students, graduates, new business opportunities and inevitably higher application fees and other costs related to the immigration applications. After January 2020, it is very likely that the current regulations concerning EU nationals in the UK, as comprised in Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules, will become settled law.

A new graduate immigration route will be opened to international students, applicable to those entering the UK in 2020-21. This category will allow students to remain in the UK for up to 2 years after graduation, and, although it will not lead to indefinite leave to remain on its own, it will provide an opportunity for graduates to carefully consider and plan their career in the UK. It should be noted that currently graduates have only 4 months after their graduation to find employment in the UK, this short time-limit resulting in a majority of students either applying for a higher education course or coming back to their home countries.

Since the UK is about to exit the EU, new provisions and regulations are coming into place concerning EU nationals and businesses in the UK. Although these provisions are not written in stone yet, businesses which export goods between the UK and EU need to be clear on the role they take in the supply chain and consequent VAT implications. Countries such as The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany have already adopted measures to minimise the direct tax impact of Brexit for domestic taxpayers. The aim of the provisions is to prevent legal disadvantages for taxpayers and businesses arising solely as a result of Brexit in connection with the EU and the UK. Further developments with regards to the tax and trade agreements should be coming next year. 

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that a special focus will be placed on the International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students and graduates coming to the UK. The most relevant visas which STEM graduates should consider are Tier 1 Highly Skilled migrants, Tier 2 skilled workers (shortage occupation list), Tier 4 student and Start-Up visas.  Opportunities around STEM workforce are expected to grow next year regardless of the applicants’ nationality. 

It appears that the immigration to the UK will become more relaxed in the upcoming year. The new positive developments in relation to post-study work visa, settlement scheme, and STEM subjects will create successful opportunities for talented and bright people carrying an economical and cultural developments along with them. 

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