points based system

Points Based System


The provisions in British immigration law relating to people coming to work or set themselves up in business have radically changed in 2008 and 2009 with the introduction of a points-based system. Different tiers within that system correspond to previous categories for workers and self employed individuals in the immigration rules.

The Tier System is broken down into five tiers. Each of these tiers will require the migrant to score a sufficient amount of points to gain entry in the UK and remain there. These points are awarded for various criteria specific to each tier. All of the points that will be awarded in each of these tiers will be done so to indicate that an individual is likely to comply with immigration requirements. Points are awarded to reflect aptitude, experience, age and also the level of demand in any given sector.


  • Tier 1: of the UK immigration tier system has replaced Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) but is still designed to attract top talent from outside the European Union who can contribute the most to the UK economy. (please note the general tier 1 is now closed with investor and entrepreneur remaining open)


  • Tier 2: covers migration into the UK for skilled migrants who have a job offer. This tier is used to fill jobs where there are shortages in the labour market, i.e. engineering, information technology, education and nursing.


  • Tier 3: of the new UK immigration system allows migrants who are unskilled/low skilled to apply for work within the UK. Tier three however only allows applicants to apply for temporary work, which is largely seasonal work. (currently closed)


  • Tier 4: is exclusively for students hoping to conduct thier studies within the UK. Migrants hoping to study within the UK under tier four of the new UK immigration system will require the need to get sponsorship from a university or other qualified UK educational institution.


  • Tier 5: is for use by youth and mobility workers. The tier allows people to work in the UK for a temporary period of time.



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