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UK Points based work permits

From 2008, a points based system will begin to operate in the United Kingdom. This will manage the flow of individuals wishing to come to or remain in the United Kingdom to work, train or study. The points based system will be introduced on a phased basis. Tier 1, which aims to attract highly skilled migrants to the United Kingdom, will be the first phase to be introduced from the first quarter of 2008. This will take over from the current Highly Skilled Migrant Programme [HSMP] – all extensions for HSMP will fall under the new rules post 2008 changes.

One of the requirements of the points based system will be that, in most cases, migrants coming here to undertake skilled or highly skilled work must provide evidence to demonstrate that they have an acceptable standard of English. One way in which applicants can demonstrate this will be by providing evidence that they have passed an English language test. Only tests that have been assessed as meeting the Border and Immigration Agency’s requirements will be accepted as evidence that the applicant meets this requirement. We will publish a list of these tests, so migrants will know whether the test they propose to take will be acceptable to us.


What will happen to old applications?

The 5 Tier system will make the process more transparent and will be similar in theme to the currently used Highly Skilled Migrant Programme HSMP and Sponsored Work Permits.


The new tier categories:

  • Tier 1 visa - Migrants with desirable professional skills. [HSMP]
  • Tier 2 visa - Skilled workers with an offer of employment.
  • Tier 3 visa - Temporary, low skilled workers.
  • Tier 4 visa - Students.
  • Tier 5 visa - Youth mobility schemes / temporary workers.

Legal Assistance:

For more information about current schemes please click here. The first release of guidance for Tier 1 of the points based system will be published during the first quarter of 2008. As it stands, the new 5 tier system has not been fully implemented so make sure you seek appropriate legal advice on the basis of current immigration laws.


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