New Immigration Routes to Form Part of Points-Based System

Ministers joins 70 members at NFU Scotland migration webinar

A number of new immigration routes that will form part of the UK Government’s new points-based system were unveiled when UK Home Office’s Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster MP, joined a successful NFU Scotland and Home Office webinar on the post-Brexit immigration system yesterday (Tuesday 1 December).

From the extensive consultation carried out with members since the referendum outcome in 2016, it is clear there is a significant number of non-UK citizens working in highly skilled, permanent positions on dairy, arable, livestock, pigs, egg and poultry units, as well as the wider food and drinks processing sector.

As of 1 January, the new Skilled Worker route will be the primary channel through which agricultural businesses can recruit international workers into these permanent positions on Scottish farms. Employers will also be required to become licenced sponsors to bring workers in from overseas. These are major changes with implications for overseas recruitment.  All employers will need to put preparatory measures in place if they plan to recruit from outside the UK after the end of the transition period.

Speaking at Tuesday’s webinar, the Minister outlined the features of the new system and the simplifications that have been made to the sponsorship and visa processes. Minister Foster was joined by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office, David Duguid MP, who discussed the main implications for agricultural businesses in Scotland. 

Minister Kevin Foster said: “I was delighted to attend yesterday’s event, set up to ensure NFU members across Scotland are ready for the end of the transition period. There was a great deal of useful information shared on our new points-based immigration system and the EU Settlement Scheme. There were also some excellent questions asked by an engaged audience which made for a really productive discussion.”  

The event was chaired by NFU Scotland’s Political Affairs Manager, Clare Slipper, who said: “For farming, food and drink, significant changes on immigration are quickly coming down the track.  It was hugely beneficial to have such a high-profile panel provide guidance to more than 70 members on what measures they should put in place if planning to permanently employ non-UK workers in the future.

“The seminar coincided with the launch of various immigration routes under the UK’s new points-based system, which will come into force on 1 January.  Our members had the opportunity to hear from and question two Government ministers whilst familiarising themselves with major changes which will impact upon employment practices across all agricultural sectors as well as the food and drink supply chain.

“Given our high-value soft fruit, field vegetable and ornamentals sector, the webinar also provided a platform to restate the importance of a seasonal workforce coming from outside the UK to complement the permanent workforce.  With the Immigration Minister in attendance, we were able to impress upon him the vital importance of a prompt decision on a Seasonal Workers Scheme being put in place for 2021 to allow vibrant sectors of our rural economy to plan ahead.

“The key message to all NFUS members who recruit from outside the UK is that change is coming. We encourage all members to visit our Brexit preparedness pages at  to familiarise themselves with the features of the new system and put the necessary preparations in place.”   

Notes to Editors

  1. The Government has launched several immigration routes under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, including the Skilled Worker route.  Details available at: Other visa routes include Global Talent, Innovator, Start up and Intra-company Transfer.  Applicants for the new routes can now start to apply under the points-based system.
  2. European Economic Area (EEA) nationals that arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 remain eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.  Details at  They have until 30 June 2021 to make an application.  Over 4.2 million have already applied and others have until 30 June 2021 to do so.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 164/20

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