The Government set out its proposals for the future skills-based immigration system in the White Paper published on 18 December. It states that those wishing to base themselves in the UK to work on a self-employed or freelance basis will continue to able to do so where they are able to qualify under the exceptional talent, business start-up or innovator routes. In addition, those skilled professionals who are technically self-employed but effectively filling a position with a UK-based business, for example, barristers, will continue to be able to be sponsored under the new route for skilled and highly skilled workers.
The UK has existing commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services and bilateral free trade agreements concluded between the EU and third countries which provide for the admission of contractual service suppliers and self-employed professionals where they are coming under contract to supply a service to a UK client. These commitments, which the UK expects to continue to be bound by following the UK’s exit from the EU, are currently implemented through existing provisions in the UK immigration system, and these arrangements will continue after the UK leaves the EU. The Government expects to build upon these existing commitments in future trade agreements with the EU and other key trading partners.
The White Paper on the UK’s future relationship with the EU sets the Government’s intention to agree reciprocal mobility arrangements with the EU that support businesses’ ability to provide services.