Foreign citizens who need to enter the UK for study, work and/or investment purposes are subject to immigration control and hence, they need to apply for a UK visa.
The UK Border Agency overlooks matters related to immigration.
The agency uses a five-tier Points Based System for granting visa and individuals must choose the respective tier that is most appropriate for the type of visa that they require.
In the Points Based System, there are 5 tiers each of which represents categories of visas of various types (mostly dealing with visa applications for visiting, investment, study and work).
In a nut shell, it can be understood that Tier 1 visa is for high-profile migrants; Tier-2 deals with visas of skilled workers; Tier 3 is for allowing unskilled workers entry to the UK on short-term basis; Tier 4 is for students; and Tier 5 is dedicated for youth mobility and temporary skilled workers.
Who is Eligible for Applying under Points Based System?
As noted above, under this system, the UK Border Agency and Immigration department has separated applicants into five tiers or categories.
To become eligible for visa in any of the five categories it is important to pass a points based assessment criteria. This means, applicants must possess points that meet the minimum points required for submitting an application. The minimum points’ requirement is determined according to the Tier under which you aim to apply.
Usually, minimum points required for work visa applications are granted according to the age, experience and skill level of the applicant.
However, there are salient requirement that remain universal and are applicable on all Tiers of Points Based System. These eligibility requirements are as follows:
English Language Requirement: Applicant must be able to speak fluently in English
Maintenance Requirement: Applicant should be able to support himself/herself financially and must not seek support from the government
Qualification: Applicant has to meet certain qualifications in order to apply for visa to get hired at a particular job, enrol in a course and/or training program
Previous Experience in the UK: If an applicant has studied or worked in the UK then he/she will receive additional points
Harding Mitchell is a reliable legal advisory, consultation and case representation facilitating firm willing to offer guidance in all sorts of legal issues/disputes. Our qualified immigration solicitors in Central London can provide credible help in applying for visas under the unique point based system of the UK.
Please note that UK’s point-based five tier system is the key route that is to be followed by individuals/enterprises from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). This system allows aspiring individuals to gain legal entry permit to the UK for a variety of purposes from investment, training, employment or study.
Understanding the Five Tiers of Points Based System:
UK’s Points Based System is not only complex but also quite confusing. A lot of applicants find it difficult to decide about the category under which they need to apply. We have simplified the five categories of visas under the Points Based System for your convenience.
Tier 1: High-Value Migrants from outside the EEA must apply for Tier 1 visa. These migrants include investors, entrepreneurs and those who fulfil the criteria of Exceptional Talent visa.
Tier 2: This category is for skilled workers from outside the EEA. You can apply for Tier 2 visa on the condition that you already have a job offer in the UK. Skilled Workers include workers transferred to the UK by a multinational or international firm/organisation and/or people who can fill the gap of employment where there is a proven shortage in the UK, religious ministers and sportspersons.
Tier 3: Low-skilled workers apply for Tier 3 visa. It allows them to fill temporary labour shortage in the UK. However, at the moment this category is not effective.
Tier 4: Aspiring students above 16 years age, non-EEA nationals or Swiss nationals willing to study in the UK can apply under Tier 4 visa on the condition that they have already registered with a UK-based educational institution prior to applying. There are two categories of Tier 4 visa:
Child- It accepts applications from those under 17 years age
General- For students above 16 years age
Tier 5: There are 6 additional sub-categories or sub-tiers of this visa. It basically allows entry to temporary workers in following domains:
Sports (coaches and sportsperson who are highly acclaimed in their field)
Creative Arts and Entertainment
Religious Workers (preachers and pastoral workers)
Youth Mobility Scheme
Individuals who fall into any of these domains can obtain work permit and enjoy working holidays. Under the Youth Mobility Scheme, around 55,000 young adults are granted the opportunity to work in the UK temporarily. This scheme is applicable on young people hailing from countries who share reciprocal arrangements with the UK (including Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand and Taiwan).
Points to be Noted:
Tier 5 Visa is granted for two years’ period.
Tier 1 is the only category of visas that does not need applications to obtain sponsorship from an employer or academic institution in order to apply
Tier 1 visa’s General category (which is for highly skilled workers) is no more open
Graduates from outside the EEA who studied in a UK educational institution and were recognised as having “world class innovative ideas” can switch from Tier 4 to Tier 1
Graduate Entrepreneur is a new category of Tier 1 visa under which individuals who want to develop a business idea soon after graduation and are recognised as having world-class entrepreneurial and innovative skills can apply. This special category would entitle those who aren’t eligible for Tier 1 visa at the time of graduation to apply.
Tier 1 visa also accepts applications from “exceptionally talented” individuals in diverse fields including humanities, science, arts and engineering.
Tier 2 visa can be applied for by non-European migrants who have already obtained employment from employers having an active Home Office Certificate of Sponsorship.
To apply for Tier 4 (General) student visa, applicants must apply at least 3 months before their course starts.
How Harding Mitchell’s Immigration Solicitors can Help you?
You can count upon our expert immigration solicitors at any and every stage of visa application. We will offer you apt and updated guidance on all related matters as well as inform you about which is the perfect visa category to apply in your case. We can also offer excellent guidance on legal formalities related to dependants who you want to bring to the UK during your stay.
Moreover, if you want to extend your visa or switch the category of visa, without any hesitation you can contact us. If you wish to prepare a fool-proof application for gaining entry permit and/or leave to remain in the UK as a worker, entrepreneur or student, then our immigration solicitors are just a call away.