UK-BorderUK Immigration – Points Based System

The Points Based System (PBS) applies to nationals from outside the European Economic Area who plan to work or study in the U.K

The Points Based System (PBS) consists of five Tiers (or categories) which replace more than 80 existing routes for living and working in the U.K

Applicants will score points according to factors such as qualifications, age, experience, English language, ability to financially maintain themselves and in some cases the need for their skills in the sector in which they are seeking employment.

Tier 1

Tier1 covers highly skilled individuals and includes the highly skilled general sub-category (which replaces the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) , Post study work subcategory for international graduates graduating from U.K Universities (replacing the International Graduates Scheme,  Investors and  Entrepreneurs.

Tier 2

Tier2 covers sponsored skilled workers and replaces the existing work permit scheme. Within Tier 2 there are 4 subcategories of workers and these include skilled workers (general), intra-company transfers, sports people and ministers of religion. Employers must be licensed by the UK Border Agency to sponsor skilled workers and only if licensed will an employer be able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship which is a requirement for the application. In addition the individual applicant will need to be assessed against the points criteria for Tier 2.

Tier 3

Tier3 covers low skilled workers required to fill temporary labour shortages. At present there is no planned date for implementation of Tier 3 as many of the posts for which this Tier is designed are increasingly filled by European Union nationals who do not require permission to work in the U.K

Tier 4

Tier4 covers international students. Educational institutions will need to be licensed by the U.K Border Agency to sponsor and the individual applicant will need to meet the points requirements including confirmation of acceptance on a course and financial maintenance.

Tier 5

Tier5 covers temporary workers and youth mobility schemes intending to come to the UK for short term work. This includes creative and sporting workers, religious workers, charity workers, government authorized exchange workers, international agreement workers and workers under youth mobility schemes. Employers will need to be licensed to sponsor temporary workers in this category and applicants will also need to meet the maintenance requirements.


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