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Immigration reform at the heart of the UK Government’s plan for growth

To accompany this week’s budget, the UK Government published a 110-page policy document entitled Build Back Better: our plan for growth. The document sets out a detailed prospectus of how it proposes to rebuild the British economy following the COVID crisis and deliver on its promises to level up the country by distributing investment and opportunity equally across the four nations.

In his forward, the Prime Minister also promises to:

“Seize the new opportunities of Global Britain outside the European Union to make our own regulations, to access global talent, and to forge new trade deals for Britain all around the World.”

The document identifies the three core pillars of growth as Infrastructure, Skills and Innovation.

Attracting global talent and boosting investment

The document indicates a major shift in approach to immigration policy:

“High-skilled migration can boost growth and drive the international competitiveness of the UK’s high-growth innovative businesses.

“As international demand for talent grows, the UK Government will build on this system with a set of targeted and tailored reforms, alongside a proactive global outreach strategy, that will ensure the UK can attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile talent, particularly in academia, science, research and technology from around the world.”


Reforms announced include:

  • introduce an elite points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging and disruptive technologies;
  • create a ‘scale up’ stream within the new points-based route that will allow those with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa;
  • reform our Global Talent route by expanding the criteria in Spring 2021 so that global prize winners automatically qualify and broadening this by Autumn 2021 to include winners of scholarships and other elite programmes for early promise;
  • review the Innovator route to make it easier for those with the skills and experience to found innovative businesses in the UK to obtain a visa – the conclusions of the review will be set out in the Innovation Strategy in Summer 2021;
  • launch, by Spring 2022, a single sponsored Global Business Mobility route for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence here or transfer staff to the UK;
  • support small firms who are navigating the sponsorship system for the first time;
  • modernise the immigration system by streamlining sponsorship processes. The UK Government will publish a delivery roadmap in the summer;
  • expand the Global Entrepreneur Programme, actively market our visa offering and explore building an overseas talent network in global talent hotspots.

These reforms represent a paradigm shift away from the controls and constraints of the immigration policy of the last decade towards a more open, supply-led approach.

We will be analysing and commenting on these reforms over the coming days. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your Magrath Sheldrick representative for guidance.

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