This morning, the Home Office has released the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System which will come into effect from January 2021.
The HPA is in the process of assessing the potential impact on polo and will be engaging with the Home Office in order to establish how these proposed changes will affect the sport and how the sport can adapt to those changes. They will update members in due course.
According to the BBC website, the main points of the proposed system are as follows:
• Under the plan, the definition of skilled workers would include those educated to A-Level/Scottish Highers equivalent and will see the removal of waiting staff and certain types of agricultural worker from the new skilled category. New additions to the skilled category include carpentry, plastering and childminding
• Overseas citizens will need to reach 70 points to be able to work in the UK
• Speaking English and having the offer of a ‘skilled’ job with an ‘approved sponsor’ will give them 50 points, whilst more points are awarded dependent on qualifications, salary on offer and proposed working sector
• Workers from the EEA countries have an automatic right to live and work in the UK until 31 December 2020
• Salary threshold for skilled workers will decrease from £30,000 to £25,600, but could be lowered further for those intending to work in ‘specific shortage occupations’
It has been widely documented that concerns have been raised by those in the equine and farming sectors, with industry representatives flagging a failure to recognise seasonal workers’ necessity.
When it comes to polo, players currently fall under a different classification bracket, ‘Sports & Entertainment’, with grooms also falling under this same bracket, with each visa assessed on an individual basis. It is our understanding they will be considered under the new points-based system from January 2021 onwards.
It is hoped that there will be further clarity on this in due course, which will be reported on in Polo Times in full.
For more information on the points-based system, the BBC website, has a clear and concise breakdown here