Friday, 21 February 2014



The points-based immigration system is the means of regulating immigration to the United Kingdom from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). The scheme was phased in between 2008 and 2010. It is composed of five "tiers" which replaced all the previous work permits and entry schemes, including Scotland's Fresh Talent Initiative. The system is administered by the UK Border Agency.


  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

(Open) The Entrepreneur subcategory is for those wishing to set up or take over a business (or businesses) in the UK that they will be actively involved in running. It grants three years leave and those applying must have over £200,000 of funds. This may lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK provided that the business established has generated two full-time jobs or equivalent and has maintained tax and other financial records.

  • Tier 1 (Investor)
The Investor subcategory is for those who wish to invest £1,000,000 in the United Kingdom. Like the Entrepreneur type, it offers three years grant of leave.

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
The Exceptional Talent sub-category is for those who are recognised or have potential to be recognized as exceptionally talented leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering or the arts. This visa is issued for an initial maximum period of three years and four months.

  • Tier 2
Tier 2 covers skilled workers with a job offer from a UK-based employer and was introduced in November 2008. It replaced the provisions for work permit employment, ministers of religion; airport-based operational ground staff, overseas qualified nurse or midwife, student union sabbatical posts, seafarers, named researchers, Jewish agency employees, and overseas representatives (news media).

There are several categories under Tier 2, these are:-

  • General (Subject to annual limit of 21,700, not including those switching to Tier 2 from within the UK);
  • Minister of Religion;
  • Sports and Creative workers;
  • Intra Company Transfer (ICT);

There are three sub-categories in the ICT category, these are:-

  • Established staff. This route is for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation to fill a post that cannot be filled by a settled worker.
  • Graduate trainee. This route allows the transfer of recent graduate recruits to a UK branch of the organisation, for training purposes.
  • Skills transfer. This route allows the transfer of new recruits to a UK branch of the organisation to acquire the skills and knowledge that they will need overseas, or to impart their specialist skills or knowledge to the UK workforce.

However, before you can apply under this category you need a valid certificate of sponsor, which can only be issued by a sponsor who is registered with the UK Border Agency.

Points Scoring

Points are awarded under the points based system for the following:

  • Qualifications (this ranges from GCSE A-Level equivalents to PHD's);
  • Future Expected Earnings (the salary that is received by the applicant);
  • Sponsorship (the type of sponsorship you are applying under);
  • English language skills;
  • Available maintenance (funds used to support yourself).
  • Tier 4
New restriction were implemented on the 6th of April 2012. To get a full rundown of the process, requirements and types of student visas see this Get Started guide or visit the Border Agency website.
All student visas are classed under Tier 4 of the points-based system. To qualify, visa applicants must have already been offered a position at an educational institution. The duration of Tier 4 visas varies, taking into account the time needed to conclude studies and attend graduation.

  • Tier 5
(Open) Tier 5 began in November 2008 and covers temporary workers and youth mobility. It replaced the previous schemes of Working Holidaymaker, au pairs, BUNAC, the Gap Year entrants concession, the Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme and the concession for research assistants to MPs.

This category comprises five sub-categories and the Youth Mobility scheme. The sub-categories are: Temporary workers - International Agreement; Temporary Workers - Charity Workers; Temporary Workers - Creative and Sporting; Temporary Workers - Religious Workers; and Temporary Workers - Government Authorised Exchange. Of the general requirements for all of these sub-categories, a major requirement is that individuals are able to come to the UK for a maximum of 12 months (except for the Youth Mobility and International Agreement Schemes where successful applicants will get 24 months) in order to seek temporary and short-term work, after which they will be expected to leave. Applicants under all Tier 5 sub-categories need to score 30 points for a valid certificate of sponsorship from a licensed UK employer (except the Youth Mobility Scheme), and 10 points for maintenance (having enough funds to support themselves in the UK) – currently this is £800.
However, before you can apply under this category you need a valid certificate of sponsor, which can only be issued by a sponsor who is registered with the UK Border Agency.



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