Points Based System

In 2008 the government established a Points Based System which is used to determine the rights of non EEA nationals to enter and work in the UK. The Points Based System replaced over 80 routes to work and study in the UK, including the work permit system, with five tiers (and several sub-tiers).

    1. Tier 1: Highly skilled individuals to contribute to growth and productivity

a) Tier 1 (General)
b) Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
c) Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
d) Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
e) Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
f) Tier 1 (Investor)


Out of these Tier 1 (General) and Tier 1 (Post –study work has been permanently closed, only applicants under Tier 1 (General) can extend their stay. From 6 April 2018 applications for settlement will no longer be accepted in Tier 1 (General) category so those who wish to do so must submit a settlement application (ILR) on or before 5 April 2018


    2. Tier 2: Skilled workers with a job offer to fill gaps in UK labour force

a) Tier 2 (General)- this offers a route of Employment for medium to highly skilled workers who have received a job offer in the UK.

b) Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)- this gives overseas company a route to transfer medium to highly skilled employees to work for the part of the same company in the UK. There are 4 types of Intra-company Transfer visa.

i) Long-term Staff– This visa is for transfers of more than 12 months into a role that can’t be filled by a UK recruit. You need to have worked for your employer for at least 12 months.

ii) Short-term Staff– This visa is for transfers up to and including 12 months into a role that can’t be filled by a new UK recruit. You need to have worked for your employer for at least 12 months.

iii) Graduate Trainee– This visa is for transfers into graduate trainee programmes for specialist roles. You need to be a recent graduate with at least 3 months’ experience with your employer.

iv) Skills Transfer– This visa is for transfers that allow people to gain skills and knowledge needed to perform their role overseas, or to pass on their skills to UK colleagues. You don’t need to have been with your employer for a set period of time.

c) Tier2 (Minister of Religion)- this offer a Minister of Religion who have a pastoral role, a route to take employment within the faith community in the UK. English Language skills must be at B2 of CEFR(Common European Framework of Reference) because of the need to speak to and on behalf of the religious community.

d) Tier 2 (Sports Person)- this gives elite players and highly skilled coaches a route to take up employment in the UK. The English requirement is A1 of CEFR.


    3. Tier 3: this Tier is suspended with no immediate plans for introduction.


    4. Tier 4: Students – Many students select tostudy in UK because of the most popular study destinations for education in the world. There are two categories in this route Tier 4 General student and Tier 4 child student


    5. Tier 5: Tier 5 consists of two main categories under the points based system; the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) and the Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) which is made up of five sub-categories, in this category people are allowed to work in the UK for a limited period of time to satisfy primarily non-economic objectives these categories are as follows:

1. Tier 5 Youth Mobility

2. Tier 5 Temporary Workers

a) Temporary workers – creative and sporting

b) Temporary workers – charity workers

c) Temporary workers – religious workers

d) Temporary workers – government authorised exchange

e) Temporary workers – international agreement