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UK Immigration – The New Points Based System

london_park_640_200The UK has adopted a new five Tier points-based system for assessing immigration applications. This is the biggest change in UK immigration history for many years.

The new system was launched on 29 February 2008. It radically changes the way individuals from outside the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) can work, train or study in the UK.

The points system has overhauled over 80 different routes to employment and education in the UK to just five tiers:

Tier 1: highly skilled individuals, entrepreneurs and investors.
Tier 2: skilled workers with a job offer to fill gaps in the UK labour force.
Tier 3: low skilled workers to fill labour shortages.
Tier 4: International non-EU students wanting to study in the UK.
Tier 5: youth and temporary workers.

Migrant workers and students must gain points to qualify for each specific tier before they can apply for permission to enter, or remain in, the UK. Points are awarded, depending on the tier, based on the qualifications, experience, age, earnings, maintenance and language competence.

Pursuant to the points-based system, the UK Border Agency will decide who is authorised or allowed to stay in the UK.

A distinct advantage of a Tier 1 Visa is that it not restricted by the need to have an offer of employment in place within the UK however you still need to provide evidence that you can meet all the necessary criteria. (Please note: Tier 1 General is now closed for new applicants).

In order to qualify for an Investor Visa you must be able to provide £1 million in disposable income held in a regulated financial institution, alternatively show evidence of £2 million in personal assets and a loan of £1 million.

An Entrepreneurial Visa is available to those investing in the UK by establishing or taking over one or more businesses based in the UK. It is a further requirement that the Entrepreneur get directly involved with the management and operation of these business.

In order to qualify for a Tier 2 sponsored Visa or a student Visa, a migrant will need to provide evidence of a sponsoring employer or educational institution in the UK licensed by the UK Border Agency.

The UK remains one the most popular destination for international students. The revenue stream from International students studying in the UK, profoundly contributes to the UK economy annually. The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy with a population of over 60 million.

Mari du Toit is a UK based Immigration advisor at Immigration Secure Limited advising on all aspects of Level 1 UK Immigration. She is approved and regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

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