What are the main points of the Immigration White Paper for ELT?
3 April 2019

All visitors

  • "Everyone will be required to obtain permission (the ETA) if they want to come to the UK and to work or study here."
  • "There will no longer be one immigration system for non-Europeans and another for EU citizens. The future system will apply in the same way to all nationalities, EU and non- EU citizens alike, except where there are objective grounds to differentiate. This could, for example, be in the context of a trade agreement or on the basis of risk."
  • Visitors from the EU don't need a visit visa before travelling, and will be able to use e-gates.
  • Tourists have a "generous entitlement" to spend up to six months in UK. However, the date of arrival and departure will be compared and if the permitted stay has been exceeded, this "will be taken into account next time they want to travel to the UK."


"We will continue to welcome and encourage international students and place no limit on their numbers." All visitors will need to get an ETA before travelling to the UK, and non-visa nationals will be able to enter as short-term students for courses of up to six months without permission to travel, as now.

Tier 4 students

  • All masters and degree students at an institution with degree-awarding powers are eligible for six months post-study leave, a year for PhDs. Students doing a BA or above can apply to switch into the skilled workers' route up to three months before the end of their course in the UK, or up to two years after graduation from outside the UK.
  • "We do not propose to lower standards in the study route, which is working well after the reforms which stopped the unacceptably high levels of immigration abuse encountered a decade ago by non-genuine students. Individuals must demonstrate that they [are} a genuine student, meet English language and maintenance requirements and have a proven academic track record."
  • "We will maintain rules that to undertake further study a student must demonstrate academic progress.  It must be a route to allow access to our world-leading institutions, not a back-door route to work or settlement."

ID cards

  • We intend to phase out the use of insecure national identity cards as soon as practicable and will give fair notice of moving into a different arrangement. [English UK understands the use of ID cards will end in December 2020.]
  • For EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status…. They will be able to continue to travel on national identity cards until 2025 and thereafter if the cards meet the relevant International Civil Aviation Organisation biometric standards.

Youth mobility

  • A UK-EU youth mobility scheme has been proposed


Two new routes are proposed: skilled, with workers entitled to stay for longer periods, and temporary, with short term workers at all skills levels, not sponsored.

"We will engage extensively with business and stakeholders as part of the engagement process on the duration and cooling off periods."

  • Minimum qualification for skilled workers is proposed to fall to RQF 3 (A Level standard) and while the MAC recommended a minimum salary of £30k, the government has made it clear it is listening to consultation on this.
  • The unskilled route proposal would give workers visas for a year at a time, with a year's cooling-off period in between. These workers would have to be from low-risk countries.
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