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UK announces new point based immigration and visa policy

The new system will treat European Union and non-European Union citizens equally.

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EU plans to impose visa restrictions on Nigeria

The UK government has announced a new set of immigration rules and visa policy with effect from January 1, 2021 after the Brexit transition period.

The details of the new system as announced by the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, include special fast-track visa for healthcare workers, skilled workers, and international students and graduates, among others.

The new system, which will be points based, will treat European Union (EU) and non-European Union (non-EU) citizens equally. The aim is to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy, just as Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do right now.

Visa applicants must also have job offers from a list of eligible occupations and speak English, to earn them at least 50 points.

READ ALSO: EU to invest in Nigeria’s automotive industry 

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The Visa application process can be made and paid for online as the applicant will be asked to provide his or her biometric information.

For the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens, they will provide digital photos of their faces using smartphone app. They do not have to give fingerprints but will need to go to an overseas visa application centre to have pictures taken if it is for low volume routes.

For the non-EU citizens, they will continue to submit their fingerprints and photos at overseas visa application overseas.

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For Skilled Workers, the points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have job offers from an approved employer sponsors.

From January 2021, the job you’re offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). You’ll also need to be able to speak English and be paid salaries at the threshold of £25,600 or the going rate for your job, whichever is higher.

If you earn less than this – but no less than £20,480 – you may still be able to apply by trading points on specific characteristics against your salary; for example, if the job offer is in an occupation that is short of skilled workers, or you have a PhD relevant to the job.

The Global Talent Scheme will be opened up for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. It will also allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers into the UK without any job offer.

READ MORE: UPDATE: President Trump has been sued by MIT, Harvard over foreign students ban

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International Students and Graduates

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Student visa routes will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. They will be able to apply for visas to study in the UK if they have been offered a place on a course, can speak, read, write and understand English and have enough money to support themselves and pay for their courses.

A new graduate immigration route will be available to international students who have completed degrees in the UK from summer 2021. They will be able to work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years, or 3 years if they are PhD graduates.

Visiting the UK

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require any visa to enter the UK when visiting for up to 6 months. All migrants looking to enter the UK for other reasons (such as work or study) will need to apply for entry clearance in advance. Also, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK before December 31, 2020, can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021.

READ ALSO: Outflux of skilled workers is a dent on the local labour market

Proving Immigration Status in the UK
EU Citizens

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will use an online service to view their immigration status and to prove their status to others. Employers, landlords and public service providers will continue to accept EU citizens’ passports and identity cards as evidence of their immigration status until 30 June 2021.

Non-EU Citizens

Non-EU citizens can continue to use physical documents to prove their immigration status. Those with valid, current Biometric Residence Permits, Biometric Residence Cards or status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme can also prove their right to work to an employer using an online service.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Energy

25 million Nigerians to pay N4,000 monthly for solar power system

25 million Nigerians will be expected to pay about N4,000 monthly over a 3-year period to benefit from the FG’s Solar Power Naija project.

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US-based solar company to invest $300m in Nigeria, 25 million Nigerians to pay N4,000 monthly for solar power system

The Presidency has disclosed that an estimated 25 million Nigerians that will benefit from the Federal Government’s Solar Home Systems which is expected to commence this week will be expected to pay about N4,000 monthly over a 3-year period.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, through a statement on Sunday titled “25m Nigerians to own 5m solar systems at N4, 000 monthly.”

While giving further insight into earlier reports that the Federal Government will from next week commence the process of installation of 5 million solar-home systems in underserved and off-grid communities across the country, Akande said the solar programme nicknamed Solar Power Naija, whose installations would start in December, is being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency.

The Presidential media aide who pointed out that the programme was designed to boost ongoing efforts to fix Nigeria’s energy supply challenge, also said that priority would be given to Nigerians residing in rural areas and urban settlements either under-served or cut off the national grid.

(READ MORE: World Bank approves $2.2 billion loan for Nigeria)

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He said an important aspect of this scheme is the option of outright ownership by beneficiaries at a cost ranging from N1, 500 per week to N4, 000 per month depending on the capacities for the 3 years.

He noted that that the arrangement allows as many as 25 million Nigerians to own personal solar systems in their homes.

He added that, as indicated in the Economic Sustainability Plan, the 5 million connections initiative is a private sector-led electricity access acceleration scheme to be facilitated by a low-cost loan facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria and implemented by REA.

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Akande said, “The programme will include the assembly or manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing industry. In view of the scale of materials required, solar equipment manufacturers/assemblers will be incentivised to set up facilities in Nigeria, thereby offering additional job opportunities to Nigerians.’’

“In addition, installation, servicing, and payment collections are expected to provide thousands of other jobs. In all, at least 250, 000 jobs will be created.”

Optics: If religiously implemented, this will help provide affordable energy to the under-served Nigerians in rural areas with the objective of improving social, economic, and environmental welfare of 25 million Nigerians while generating jobs, increasing revenues, and import substitution.

However, the fear is whether this will go the same way as other government’s programmes or initiatives in the past.

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Hospitality & Travel

Indian High Commission facilitates another air bubble flight in Nigeria

The Indian High Commission in Nigeria has facilitated Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight.

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The Indian High Commission in Nigeria has facilitated Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight on Sunday, November 29, 2020.

India created an air bubble arrangement with Nigeria in September 2020.

This was disclosed by the High Commission via its Twitter handle on Sunday.

It explained that the “Transport Bubbles” or “Air Travel Arrangements” are temporary arrangements between the two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.

It tweeted, “Glad to have facilitated travel in Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight @airindiain 1903/04 on 28/29 Nov. Thank all the concerned 🇮🇳 & 🇳🇬 authorities for their continuous support.”

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What you need to know

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), via its official website, had announced on September 17, 2020 that it established an air travel bubble with Nigeria.

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What it means

Indian and Nigerian carriers are now permitted to operate flights between India and Nigeria and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:

A. From India to Nigeria:

i. Stranded Nigerian nationals/residents, foreign nationals destined for Africa and transiting through Nigeria or spouses of these persons, whether accompanying or otherwise;

ii. Any Indian national holding any type of valid Nigerian visa and destined for any country in Africa. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter the destination country before issue of ticket/ boarding pass to the Indian passenger; and

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iii. Seamen of foreign nationalities; Seamen holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.

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Click here for the details of the air buble arrangement

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Around the World

Canada extends travelers’ restrictions to January 2021

The Canadian Government has extended a temporary travel restrictions for all travelers seeking entry into the country.

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Canada to receive over 1.2 million immigrants in next 3 years, Canada invites fresh 3,500 candidates to apply for permanent residence, Canadian Study Permit: Nigeria ranks 8th highest receiver in 2019, Canada invites 4,500 Express Entry Candidates, as cut-off score drops to 470, COVID-19: Canada shuts borders to ALL countries except US

The Canadian Government has extended the mandatory isolation order and temporary travel restrictions for all travelers seeking entry into the country, except the United States, to January 2021.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, on Sunday.

In a statement seen by Nairametrics, he explained that the travel restrictions for US citizens and foreign nationals arriving from the US would remain in place until December 21, 2020 and might be extended at that time.

The decision was taken to protect Canadians from COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the disease in Canada. Blair said: 

“Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is my most important responsibility. We have introduced a number of policies to keep Canadians safe but must remain flexible and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation, while keeping your health as our top priority.

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“The ability to align US and international travel extension dates, as well as the Mandatory Isolation Order, beginning on January 21, 2021 will enable the Government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, US and international travelers.

“In addition, the Government is amending its order and creating a framework for considering applications from high-performance amateur sport organizations seeking to hold International Single Sport Events.”

To be considered, applicants are expected to include written commitments of ongoing support from provincial/territorial and local public health authorities and provincial/territorial governments, as well as a robust plan to protect public health and the health of participants.

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The authorization would be issued by the Department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

“Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or who has recently come into close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, should continue to quarantine or isolate for 14 days. At all Canadian ports of entry, the final determination on a traveler’s admissibility is made by border services officers who base their decision on the information presented and available to them at the time of entry,” he added.

Quick Facts

  • The Department of Canadian Heritage will determine which foreign nationals can receive accreditation to enter Canada to participate in an International Single Sport Event.
  • An International Single Sport Event includes World Championships, Olympic or Paralympic Qualifications, as well as World Cups.
  • A high-performance amateur athlete is defined as an athlete competing at the international level and affiliated with his or her country’s national sport federation.

What you need to know

In March, 2020, the Government introduced several measures, including prohibitions and restrictions on discretionary and optional travel from the United States (US) and all other countries, to minimize the introduction and spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of Canadians.

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The measures included the requirement for all travelers entering Canada to quarantine or isolate for 14 days.

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