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The Points Systems for Working in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 29 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
The Points Systems For Working In The Uk

From 2008 onwards changes are being made to the UK immigration process. One of the major changes is the introduction of a points-based application system for those who wish to come to the UK to work. As well as introducing a points system for people applying to work in the UK the new system also redefines many of the existing work categories.

The Points-Based System

Under the new system foreign citizens applying to live or work in the UK will have to score a certain number of points in a range of categories in order to secure their visa or permit. The number of points that must be scored and the areas they relate to will vary depending on the type of visa that is being applied for.

The UK Border Agency website has a “points calculator” so that potential applicants can find out in advance whether their application is likely to be successful. Points are given in three general areas:

  • Age, qualifications, salary, experience of the UK, sponsorship – different criteria apply to different categories of worker. Some applicants must be sponsored, or have a job offer, in order to apply. Others may be entitled to apply because of the skills and qualifications they have;
  • English language skills – the importance of being able to communicate in English is a prominent feature of the new immigration system;
  • Available funds – applicants may have to show that they can support themselves once they arrive in the UK.
Under the new system immigrants will be divided into five categories:
  • Tier 1 – Highly skilled workers;
  • Tier 2 – Skilled workers;
  • Tier 3 – low-skilled workers;
  • Tier 4 – Students;
  • Tier 5 – Applicants under the youth mobility scheme and temporary workers.

Tier 1 – Highly Skilled Workers

Tier 1 applies to highly skilled individuals, investors, entrepreneurs and graduates of UK universities. The previous system for this category of worker ended on 29 June 2008. Applicants under Tier 1 must score at least 75 points for age, qualifications etc and 10 points each for English language skills and available funds.

Applicants in Tier 1 can subsequently switch to a different immigration category and may bring dependents with them.

Tier 2 – Skilled Workers

Tier 2 applies to sponsored skilled workers with job offers who are needed in the UK due to a shortage of that type of worker. This replaces many of the previous work permit categories and is due to come into force in November 2008. Ministers of religion and sports people will also apply under this category. General workers in Tier 2 will need a total of 70 points made up of 50 points for qualifications, salary etc and 10 points each for funds and English language skills.

Workers in Tier 2 may switch to another immigration category and can bring dependents.

Tier 3 – Low-skilled Workers

This immigration category is intended to provide workers to fill a short-term gap in the labour market. Workers in this category would not be able to switch to another immigration category and cannot bring dependents to the UK. This Tier is not currently in operation as at October 2008.

Tier 4 - Students

This category is due to be implemented in spring 2009 and will introduce stricter requirements for foreign nationals wishing to study in the UK. Students may switch to a different immigration category and can bring dependents but dependents may not work if the student’s permission to stay is for less than 12 months.

Tier 5 – Youth Mobility and Temporary Workers

This Tier applies to a range of temporary workers including au pairs, students on gap years and voluntary workers. This category is due to be introduced in November 2008. Applicants in most categories of worker covered by this Tier will need 40 points divided between sponsorship and available funds.

Workers in this Tier cannot switch to a different immigration category and dependents are allowed but may not work if the temporary worker is permitted to be in the UK for less than 12 months.

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olivka - Your Question:
HI, I'm Polish nationality in the UK from 2003. Unfortunately, I didn't register my self in WRS when Poland joined EU. I would love to apply for a residence card and maybe for a British citizen. Do you think this will matter taking in consideration fact that we don't need to have any registrations from 2011? Best Regards

Our Response:
EU members who have been continuously living in the UK for five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means these citizens will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and apply for British citizenship. You can see more via the gov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 1-Aug-17 @ 9:41 AM
HI, I'm Polish nationality in the UK from 2003. Unfortunately, I didn't register my self in WRS when Poland joined EU. I would love to apply for a residence card and maybe for a British citizen. Do you think this will matter taking in consideration fact that we don't need to have any registrations from 2011? Best Regards
olivka - 29-Jul-17 @ 9:18 PM
hello,people are stressing a lot about theirs residence in the uk for future,so it became important to my family as well.me and my wife are from LITHUANIA,and we are legally working and paying all taxes and national incurance contributions since 2011 september,do we need to worry about for example if we will go for our holiday back to our country,and when we will becoming back,is there any chance that we could be not allowed to come back to the uk?and do we need to get any residence permit to live and work in the uk?one more thing-my brother came to me in 2015 and started to work straight away,will he need any documents to get a permit to work in the UK?THANKS A LOT
azukauskas7 - 17-Mar-17 @ 11:46 AM
Hi everyone...... im a italian national living in the uk from last 2 and half year with my daughter whos also an italian nation and my partner who has a resident permit card. Me and my daught has also a registration certificate from 1 year... my question is .... did i need a Visa if i want to travel to europe after 15 march 2017???? I mean when artical 50 been triggered... I have searched all over the internet but didnt find anything. Please if someonw know anything please help me.. thank you so much
Sidra - 12-Mar-17 @ 10:47 PM
@elly - only if you have British citizenship or a permanent residence card. Once the Brexit policies come in you will have to apply for a spouse visa the same as a current non-EEA national. You could come back to the UK now, but you might be stuck to do the same in a few years time.
Maddy - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:57 AM
I am a Dutch national married to my British husband since 1968.Ilived from that date until 2006 in the UK where i worked for 40 years and brought up our 2 children.We moved to France in 2006.I am in receipt of a UK state pension.Should we wish to return would i have an automatic right to live there.
elly - 8-Feb-17 @ 3:22 PM
doubting - Your Question:
Hi all, It is going to be 3 years in October that I have been living and working in the UK as a secondary school Computer Science teacher. I have a permanent full-time job and am a lone mother of two children aged 15 and 10. What are the outcomes of the brexit vote and the implications it will have on my family? I was thinking of applying for a registration certificate however it costs £65 each applicant. I am in doubt about this and whether in fact I will be needing any form of documentation to prove my eligibility and that of my children for living and working in UK.Can anyone advise? Am I stressing too much, should I wait for new instructions from the government?Thank you in advance.Kind Regards

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk site here which will tell you more.
AboutImmigration - 16-Sep-16 @ 2:31 PM
Hi all, It is going to be 3 years in October that I have been living and working in the UK as a secondary school Computer Science teacher. I have a permanent full-time job and am a lone mother of two children aged 15 and 10. What are the outcomes of the brexit vote and the implications it will have on my family? I was thinking of applying for a registration certificate however it costs £65 each applicant. I am in doubt about this and whether in fact I will be needing any form of documentation to prove my eligibility and that of my children for living and working in UK... Can anyone advise? Am I stressing too much, should I wait for new instructions from the government? Thank you in advance. Kind Regards
doubting - 10-Sep-16 @ 4:28 PM
Thank you for the answer to the previous question. I wanted to ask does she require anything else i.e. a certain amount of money in the bank etc?
Sat - 18-Aug-16 @ 7:48 PM
Sat - Your Question:
Hungarian citizen wants to work and live in the UK, what does she need?She speaks fantastic English along with 4 other languages, would a highly skilled worker as she is a Marketing Manager.

Our Response:
Hungary is a member of the European Union, therefore your friend can still come and work in the UK without a visa despite the Brexit vote, as the UK/EU exit has not yet been enforced.
AboutImmigration - 18-Aug-16 @ 12:20 PM
Hungarian citizen wants to work and live in the UK, what does she need? She speaks fantastic English along with 4 other languages, would a highly skilled worker as she is a Marketing Manager.
Sat - 17-Aug-16 @ 7:39 PM
Maria - Your Question:
Can romanian citizens work in UK without National Insurance Number? Is it legal to work in UK without a contract?

Our Response:
If you are planning to come to work in the UK from abroad you must operate PAYE tax and NICs in the usual way, please see gov.uk link here. It is illegal to work without a contract.
AboutImmigration - 22-Dec-15 @ 1:54 PM
Can romanian citizens work in UK without National Insurance Number? Is it legal to work in UK without a contract?
Maria - 21-Dec-15 @ 11:17 PM
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