Tier 1 General

This has replaced the HSMP for highly skilled migrants. People seeking to enter the UK in this category require entry clearance. To qualify for entry clearance they will require 75 points for a combination of attributes - made up of their qualifications, age and previous earnings. Details of how these points are scored are set out in Appendix A of the Immigration Rules.

In April of 2009 the Home Secretary made changes to the attributes requirements of Appendix A whereby only migrants whose qualifications are equivalent to a UK Masters' degree (or above) and whose previous earnings are equivalent to £20,000 (or above) will be able to achieve the necessary 75 points to qualify for entry clearance.

The age criterion operates to award more points to younger applicants and less to older applicants.

Applicants also need to have 10 points for English Language. These points are awarded by reference to the criteria listed in Appendix B of the Immigration Rules which are (alternatively):

  • production of an English Language test certificate from a provider approved by the Secretary of State,

  • production of an academic certificate deemed by the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a UK Bachelors' or Masters' Degree or a PhD, or

  • being a national of one of a list of countries whose first language is English, or by having obtained an academic qualification to the necessary level from one of those countries.

Lastly applicants require 10 points under Appendix C which is concerned with the applicants' ability to maintain themselves. Currently to qualify applicants must have £2,800 to obtain the necessary 10 points.

If successful, applicants for entry clearance under the Tier 1 (General) subcategory will be granted leave to enter the UK for three years, during which time they will have free access to the UK labour market, with one exception - which is that they are not allowed to take employment as a doctor in training. At the end of this period they can apply for further leave to remain in the same category or in any other Tier or sub category of the points based system.

Following completion of a total of five years' leave to remain applicants can apply for settlement in the UK - in the form of indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 (General) Migrant. They must meet the additional requirement at this stage of satisfying the Secretary of State that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK. If successful they can then apply after 12 months for UK nationality.

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  • Tier 1, for which the Highly Skilled
    Migrant Programme (HSMP) was a forerunner, enables highly skilled
    individuals to enter the UK to contribute
    to its economic wealth and productivity. Read more ....

  • Tier 2, is for skilled workers who
    have been offered employment in
    the UK. It has replaced the previous
    Work Permit scheme. Read more ....

  • Tier 4 is for those wishing to study in the
    UK. It has comprehensively replaced the
    Immigration Rules relating to students.
    Read more ....

  • Tier 5 is for youth mobility and temporary
    workers. Their reasons for coming to the
    UK are non-economic. Read more ....


There were 53,935 PBS applications in 2008/2009.

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