Uk Tier 1 Point Based System (PBS) Immigration- Recent Changes
On 22nd February’2009, the UK Home Secretary’s announced new measures that raise the qualification benchmarks for foreign workers wishing to work in the United Kingdom. Following is a brief summary of significant changes that have been introduced with effect from 31 March 2009 to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the points based system for General Tier I applicants:
- For Tier 1 (General) the applicant will need to have at least a master’s degree and have earned at least GBP20, 000. . The changes to Tier 1 (General) will apply to both- initial applications for entry from outside the UK and to applications to switch into Tier 1 (General) – from another category.
- The academic and financial requirements for Tier 1 (General) and Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) will come into effect for all applications submitted on or after 31 March 2009
- Applications for Tier 1 (General) extensions will be unaffected by the changes.
- Changes to the resident labor market test for applications under Tier 2 will mean that skilled jobs will need to be advertised in the UK before being offered to migrant workers.
- Changes to the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category mean that applicants will not be awarded points for Postgraduate Diplomas or Postgraduate Certificates other than Postgraduate Certificates in Education.
From 31 March 2009, an employer wishing to sponsor a migrant to do a job under Tier 2 (General) will not pass the test unless the job has been:
- advertised to settled workers in Jobcentre plus; and
- advertised using one other method permitted by the relevant code of practice
Summary of Tier I point based system (PBS), incorporating announced changes to the PBS applicable with effect from 31st of March’2009
Tier 1 of the Points Based System or PBS in the UK is designed to allow non-EEA nationals who will contribute most to the economy to immigrate to the UK. Unlike the rest of the Tier immigration system, a Tier 1 visa application requires no sponsor and is based on the applicant successfully achieving a point’s threshold of 75.
Tier 1 visas are divided into four subcategories for General applicants, Entrepreneurs, Investors and the Post-Study Work category.
This article discusses only subcategory related to General applicants.
Tier I – General applications- Eligibility
UK visa applicants in the general stream must be able to satisfy the language and maintenance requirements both of which have a pass mark of 10. Under the PBS, emphasis in placed upon the ability of non-EEA nationals migrating to the UK to be proficient in the English language.
In tier 1 with the exception of those entering the UK as investors, this requirement is particularly important.
Skilled migrants are required to prove their English language ability by demonstrating one of the following:
- They come from a country in which English is the main language.
- They have passed an English language test which is equal to or exceeds level C1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning.
- They have successful completed a degree course which was taught in English.
Highly skilled migrants relocating to the UK under any of the tier 1 subdivisions must be able to support themselves and any dependents joining them in the UK. The total sum necessary to satisfy this requirement for the main applicant is £2,800. The first dependent will require 2/3 of this sum with any further dependents requiring 1/3.
Applying for a Tier 1 Visa in the General category is based on many of the same criteria as the previous Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or HSMP taking into account the applicant’s qualifications, previous earnings, age, and any work experience or qualifications earned in the UK. As with all sub divisions of tier 1 the overall minimum pass mark required in order to qualify is 75 points.
Applicants will be awarded points for their highest qualification as follows:
- PhD – 50 points
- Master’s degree – 35 points
(Non-sterling currencies are converted to sterling – the overall figure takes account of regional differences between earnings)
- 40,000 + – 45 points
- 35,000-39,999 – 40 points
- 32,000-34,999 – 35 points
- 29,000-31,999 – 30 points
- 26,000-28,999 – 25 points
- 23,000-25,999 – 20 points
- 20,000-22,999 – 15 points
- 18,000-19,999- 10 points
Candidates will be awarded points depending on their age as below. No points are awarded in this category for applicants aged 32 or older.
- Under 28 – 20 points
- 28 or 29 – 10 points
- 30 or 31 – 5 points
Previous Earnings or Qualifications in the UK
In addition to the points outlined below, applicants may be eligible for a further 5 points where they can show proof of earnings or of qualifications gained whilst in the United Kingdom.
Tier 1 Visa Extension
Tier one visas are granted for an initial period of three years. The one exception to this is visas granted in the Post-Study Work category which are granted for two years, and are not extendable. In all other subdivisions candidates may extend their leave by a further two years. However, it will be necessary to pass the version of the tier 1 requirements that are current at the time of applying for an extension.
In the General category, the requirements will remain largely the same. However, points originally awarded for the applicant’s age at the time of their first application will be carried over intact. No further evidence will be required of the applicant’s English language ability and no additional proof will be required with regard to maintenance unless the applicant intends to switch their tier category.