Virginia, US

Dec 19 2018

White Paper on Post-Brexit Immigration Published

United Kingdom

The situation

The UK government published a White Paper today detailing plans for the post-Brexit UK immigration system, which is expected to be implemented starting January 1, 2021.

A closer look

The White Paper proposes a single, skills-based immigration system, focused on talent and expertise rather than country of origin. The White Paper includes the following positive changes, among others:

  • Removing Tier 2 quota. The White Paper proposes to remove the cap on the number of Tier 2 (General) Restricted visas that can be granted, which is currently set at 20,700 per year divided in monthly increments. The quota was exceeded each month between December 2017 and July 2018, resulting in time-consuming re-filings and delaying employment of foreign talent. 
  • Removing labour market testing. The White Paper proposes to remove the requirement for employers to complete a Resident Labour Market Test before sponsoring a foreign worker for a Tier 2 (General) Visa. Currently, employers are required to publish a vacancy for 28 days to confirm that no British or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are suitable for the role.
  • New short-term visa for low-skilled workers. The White Paper proposes to create a new visa category for low-skilled workers, allowing initial visas up to 12 months that will not require employer sponsorship.
  • No visa for EU visitors. The White Paper proposes that EU nationals would be able to enter the United Kingdom for short-term trips as tourists or business visitors without a visa.
  • Consultation on salary threshold. The White Paper confirms that UK authorities will launch a public consultation on the current minimum salary requirement of GBP 30,000 for Tier 2 (General) Visa applications.


The proposed changes would address a number of key concerns expressed by businesses over the past months, including the anticipated drain of low-skilled workers after Brexit. It would also make the system much quicker – the absence of a cap and labor market testing would reduce the lead time of many Tier 2 (General) Visa applications by two to three months.


The White Paper is the official approval by the government of the recommendations set out in the independent Migration Advisory Committee report, published in September.

Looking ahead

Fragomen will shortly publish a summary of the White Paper which will provide a detailed analysis of the proposed changes. Visit Fragomen’s Brexit site for this summary and other Brexit updates.

The next step will be for the UK government to adopt the proposals set out in the White Paper into draft laws, which would need to be accepted by the UK Parliament before they could take effect. Fragomen will report on these steps as they occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].