Brexit Update

Brexit Update 2021


Overview of the key UK Immigration Routes from January 2021


EU citizens and non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the country when visiting. All migrants looking to enter the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance. Anyone who comes to the UK as a visitor will not be able to apply for a visa to work once in the country.

The UK does not operate a biometric border entry and exit system. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, described in The Telegraph the limited data UK’s Border Force has on people travelling to the UK from the European Union as a ‘grave terrorist risk’ for the country.


Government policy does not provide an immigration route specifically for those who do not meet the skills or salary threshold for the skilled worker route.


For workers to work in temporary roles with an organisation in the UK.

Tier 5 has been used for the Seasonal Workers’ Pilot in edible horticulture.

The ‘Seasonal Workers’ Scheme Code of Good Practice Multi-Stakeholder Working Group’ has provided recommendations to ensure that good work practices and protection of workers are designed into any future scheme.


Allows young people, aged between 18 and 30, to travel to the UK to work as a cultural exchange to promote the UK overseas and to encourage trade and tourism.


For skilled workers who meet the requirements of the new Points Based System. To recruit these workers, employers will need to be approved by the Home Office as a sponsor.

Applicants will need to be able to speak English and have a job offer from an approved sponsor at RQF 3 skill level or above in a role that pays at least the minimum salary threshold.


Students with a valid Tier 4 visa and graduates who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021 will be able to work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years.

Immigration and Visa Costs under the new system

The Border, Immigration and Citizenship System including asylum and enforcement charges currently costs the Government £2.8 billion a year to run and £2.3 billion a year is raised through visa and passport fees.

Income generation through fees and charges will continue to underpin the future system, contributing significantly towards funding. These charges comprise sponsor fees, various visa costs as detailed at the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Annex A, and the Immigration Health Surcharge payable by applicants (with some exceptions) as part of their immigration application and for each year of the visa.

When taking into account all visa costs, sponsorship costs and additional immigration charges outlined in the new system, companies will face a bill of nearly £10,000 in order to hire a skilled worker on a five year visa as follows:

Brexit Update December 2020

The UK Immigration Points Based System is one of the most expensive of any country globally. Analysis by Fragomen LLP identifies that the total costs for a skilled worker in a family of five under the UK system are over £21,000. This is nearly four times as expensive as the United States, over twelve times as expensive as Canada and nearly eighteen times as expensive as Germany.

EU Settlement Scheme Updated Data

The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was launched on 30 March 2019 to enable EU residents, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members to obtain UK immigration status. Further information can be found here.

The scheme is a simple digital system which allows EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK to obtain, free of charge, settled status or pre-settled status in the UK. Find out more about what settled and pre-settled status means here.

The latest headline figures from the Home Office internal management information show:

Total number of applications as of 30 June 2021

6.02 million

Concluded applications by outcome type as of 30 June 2021

5.45 million

Applications by nation as of 30 June 2021

England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
91.65% 4.98% 1.69% 1.68%

Concluded applications by outcome type as of 30 June 2021

Settled Status Presettled status Refused Withdrawn or Void Invalid
52.29% 42.76% 2.01% 1.48% 1.46%

Migration statistics

Brexit Update September 2021

The chart shows the key dates when passenger arrivals to the UK were impacted by travel restrictions:

1. 23 March 2020 UK first lockdown announced
2. 8 June 2020 Health measures introduced at the border
3. 10 July 2020 International Travel Corridors introduced
4. 5 November 2020 2nd national lockdown in England starts
5. 5 January 2021 3rd national lockdown in England starts
6. 18 January 2021Travellers from abroad required to show proof of a negative Covid 19 test. International Travel Corridors suspended 10 days self-isolation
7. 15 February 2021Introduction of Managed Quarantine

Additional contributing factors included restrictions imposed by each of the devolved administrations and travel bans to or from the UK imposed by destination countries.

Typically, around half of air passenger arrivals in the UK are British nationals (although this can fluctuate from month to month). Other arrivals include foreign nationals who are UK residents returning to the UK, non-British dependants of UK residents and other non-British nationals including those who are visiting or working in the UK.

There were 447,300 air passenger arrivals to the UK in April 2021 (according to Advanced Passenger Information (API) data). This is four times (298%) higher than the total number of air arrivals for April 2020, immediately following the start of the first UK lockdown when there were 112,300 arrivals. However, this remains around 5% of the number of arrivals in April 2019 (9,120,400).

The percentage number of arrivals across all routes (air, rail and sea) from April 2020 was considerably lower than the same period in the previous year. The reductions were greatest in April and May, around the time of the first lockdown in the UK (all routes had reduced by 87-99% in April).

Labour Market

Employment Rate

Employment rate (all aged 16+ to 64)

Quarterly change: 0.1pps
Since Dec-Feb 2020: -1.8pps

Employment rate

Employment measures the number of people in paid work or who had a job that they were temporarily away from (for example, because they were on holiday or off sick).

Workers furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or those who are self-employed but temporarily not in work, have a reasonable expectation of returning to their jobs after a temporary period of absence. Therefore, they are classified as employed under the International Labour Organisation definition.

2.4 million people remain furloughed or flexi-furloughed - down from a peak of nearly 9 million at the height of the pandemic in May last year.

Following an increase in the employment rate from early 2012, the rate then decreased at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, there was an increase from the end of 2020.

The quarterly increase in employment was mainly driven by a rise in the number of full-time workers, which reached its highest level since the pandemic began. This was partly offset by a decrease in the number of people working part-time, which reached its lowest level since 2009.

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment rate (all aged 16+)

Quarterly change: -0.2pps
Since Dec-Feb 2020: 0.9pps

Unemployement rate

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the past four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks.

From late 2013 until the start of the coronavirus pandemic the unemployment rate was decreasing. It then increased up to the end of 2020 and has since decreased.

The quarterly decrease in unemployment was driven by a reduction in short-term unemployment (those unemployed for up to six months), which reached its lowest level prior to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of people in long-term unemployment (those unemployed for over 12 months) continued to increase and the number of people who had been unemployed for between 6 and 12 months was down slightly on the quarter.

Inactivity Rate

Economic inactivity rate (all aged 16+ to 64)

Quarterly change: -0.1pps
Since Dec-Feb 2020: 1.1pps

economic inactivity rate

Economic inactivity measures people without a job but who are not classed as unemployed because they have not been actively seeking work within the past four weeks and/or they are unable to start work within the next two weeks.

Since comparable records began in 1971, the economic inactivity rate has generally declined. However, it has increased during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Additional notes from the ONS to consider in regards to the economic inactivity:

  • Discouraged workers are those who are not looking for work because they believe no jobs are available
  • Other reasons for being economically inactive include those who are waiting for the results of a job application; have not yet started looking for work; do not need or want employment; have given an uncategorised reason for being economically inactive; or have not given a reason for being economically inactive

On 14th January 2021, 6 million people were claiming Universal Credit - up 2% from December 2020 and a 98% increase from March 2020.

Redundancy Rate

Redundancy rate (per 1000 employees)

Redundancies decreased on the quarter and have returned to pre-pandemic levels

Redundancy rate

Redundancy rate is the ratio of the redundancy level to the number of employees in the previous quarter, multiplied by 1,000

Hours Worked

Total actual weekly hours worked

Total actual weekly hours worked increased on the quarter, reflecting the decreased coronavirus restrictions but still below pre-pandemic levels

Total actual weekly hours worked

In March to May 2021, total actual weekly hours worked in the UK increased by 23.3 million hours from the previous quarter to 981.4 million hours. This coincided with the relaxing of coronavirus lockdown measures, which had stalled the recent recovery in total hours. However, this is still 6.7% below pre-pandemic levels (December 2019 to February 2020).

Job Vacancies

Number of job vacancies

Vacancies increased on the quarter and are now above pre-pandemic levels

Total actual weekly hours worked

In April to June 2021, the estimated number of vacancies reached its highest level since August to October 2018, with growth continuing in the most recent quarterly estimates in all industries except public administration, defence and compulsory social security.

The Best Connection Response

A lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes in researching and analysing what Brexit means for our industry and how it will impact our business. Through a prompt and consistent initiative, we established a head start for when the reform happened in January 2021. This entails collective monetary investment in digital and workforce management technologies, with the result that we are the agency of choice for the industrial and driving sectors, both for employees and employers.

Brexit Update December 2020

Maximising the labour pool

Anticipating a tightening of the labour market from as far back as 2017, The Best Connection has been pursuing a clear strategy during that period to cement its market position. This includes looking at emerging markets and trying to remove any employment barriers

Brexit Update December 2020

Adding to this, listed below are the important steps we are constantly taking to optimise and increase our workforce:

  1. Regularly cleansing our database, ensuring all our workers’ availability/circumstances are updated correctly, allowing us to plan and forecast efficiently
  2. Engaging with all our workers on how to improve through surveys. We believe that listening, acting and improving is the best way to retain individuals
  3. Having a fair and balanced approach in allocating assignments and overtime for all our workers
  4. Ensuring flexible skills through extending the appropriate training and development opportunities to agency workers, particularly where they are on medium or long term assignments
  5. Having a just and open absence management policy
  6. Looking at how we onboard and making it easier for thousands of candidates to use our platforms simultaneously to apply for jobs. Ensuring we do not ask for too much upfront, the tests are relevant to the job role and multi-language options included
  7. Working closely with our clients to make their assignment the ‘assignment of choice’ for temporary workers by:
    • Providing a great place to work
    • Focusing our attention on improving their experience
    • Defining and living with the brand values – using them in advertisements and highlighting the positives of working on the assignment
    • Promote work within all website/social media channels available via a joint campaign
  8. Constantly checking how easy is it for candidates to find our job – ‘walking a mile’ in the job seeker’s shoes
  9. Putting in place various referral schemes across our workforce
  10. Fostering strong relationships within the community: schools, universities, etc., that can help us promote our client’s business and the opportunities that are available
  11. Settng up a comprehensive training program for all our permanent staff, ensuring that the candidate’s experience with TBC is positive
  12. Looking at providing our workers with the level of work that they want and need:
    • The ONS Labour Force Survey estimates that 8.7% of the UK workers are underemployed – therefore not gettng as much work as they want
    • Conversely, 10.1% of the workers are estimated to be overemployed – working more hours than they want

As a leading representative in the recruitment industry, we have engaged with hundreds of companies and thousands of workers over the past year to increase awareness about the EU Settlement Scheme and Brexit and we have worked relentlessly to identify and minimise the impact on our clients’ businesses.

Information station for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen ( EU citizen ), or a family member of an EU citizen, then please click here to bust some myths!

If you are one of the EEA and Swiss citizens ( EU citizens ) who are travelling to the UK for the first time from 01 January 2021 or have broken your continuous residence in the UK and are no longer eligible to apply for or receive an immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme please have look here to understand more about the new immigration systems.

EU citizens who commenced a period of residence in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 and maintained that continuous residence should have applied for pre-Settled or Settled Status by 30 June 2021. If you are eligible for this scheme, please consider a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme instead. For more information, please access this link.

Please feel free to contact your local TBC office to discuss any concerns that you may have.

Brexit Update December 2020