UK work permits: Kenyans who have good skills but no degrees will from next year be allowed to apply for work permits in Britain.
This is a shift in the issuance of work permits under post-Brexit immigration rules. According to a report that appeared in a local daily, “Britain’s new points-based immigration system, set to be implemented from January 2021, has lowered the requirement for job applicants to minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent from degree-level under the 27-member EU bloc system.”
The report quotes Britain’s Home Office as saying that the new system has been engineered to provide greater flexibility and ensure UK business has access to a wide pool of skilled workers.
“The relaxed visa rules will enable Kenyan professionals in fields such as IT, accountancy, plumbing and electrical works to compete with other migrants,” says the report.
“An applicant’s job must be at the minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent, rather than degree level under the current system,” said the British home office.
The report further says that Britain has also lowered the minimum general salary threshold for skilled migrants by 26.67 percent to £22,000 (Sh. 2.97 million) per year, or £1,833 (Sh. 247, 628) a month, from £30,000 per year currently. This follows a January 2020 proposal by Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent entity that advises the British government, which had recommended £25,600 (Sh. 3.46 million) minimum annual pay for migrant skilled labourers.
“Under the new system, those wishing to live and work in the UK must gain 70 points – and points are awarded for criteria such as having a job offer, holding a PhD relevant to the job, speaking English and earning more than £22,000 per year,” says an advisory by Britain’s Home Office.
The report explains that the relaxed visa rules will also benefit Kenyan students who will now be allowed more time after completing studies in the UK universities.
“Under what Britain’s Home Office calls “Graduate route”, which opens in the Summer 2021, Kenyan students, just like other international ones, will be allowed more time to stay in the UK to look for jobs than the four months under the EU rules. International students completing undergraduate or master’s degrees will be able to stay in Britain for two years and those completing a PhD three years,” says the report.
It quotes the British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott as saying:
“Leaving the European Union means the UK will be open to the brightest and best from around the world – and Kenya is very much a part of that. I’m particularly pleased that the new Graduate Route will be opening in summer 2021, allowing Kenya and the UK’s fantastic and talented minds to work even more closely together.”