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Tier 1 - Highly Skilled Migrants

The TIER 1 (Point Based System) has replaced the old Highly skilled migrant programme (Tier 1 General), Business person visa (Tier 1 Entrepreneur), Investor visa (Tier 1 Investor) and SEGS and IGS schemes Tier 1 (Post study work visa).

We will now discuss each of the TIER 1 categories separately to have full understanding on the subject
TIER 1 (General)
TIER 1 (Entrepreneur)
TIER 1 (Investor)
TIER 1 (Post study work)

 

Tier 1 (General)   PLEASE NOTE the T1-GENERAL route is now closed to new entrants

If you already hold a T1-General visa then you may still aplly to extend your stay


Change of Criteria of Tier 1 General

The applicants are required to score at least 95 points in total to successfully apply for the required visa and they can claim following points under the various heads:

A. Scoring Sections

I Attributes

Initial Application
The applicant has to score 75 points under this section that can be claimed in the following manner:

By completing a Qualifying MBA under the Transitional Arrangements: 75 points (max.)

or

    * Qualifications (35 – 45 Points)
    * Previous Earnings: (5 – 75 points)
    * UK experience (5 Points max.)
    * Age: (5-20 points)

The applicant must claim 75 points either by doing a qualifying MBA under Transitional arrangements or a total of 75 points using any or all of the options given above.

Qualifying MBA: Applicants who have enrolled on an eligible MBA programme before 30 June 2008 and have completed the MBA within the 12 months prior to making his / her application may claim 75 points for “Attributes”. In this case, they do not require scoring points under any of the above sub sections.

Qualifications: An applicant having a UK equivalent Bachelors Degree will be able to claim 30 points, a UK equivalent Masters  Degree will be able to claim 35 points, or 45 points for having a PHD in any subject.  The maximum is 45 points that can be claimed under this section.

Past Earnings: Applicants will be able to use earnings earned in the 12 out of last 15 months from the date of application. The UKBA has now given a single list of earning levels that will enable the applicants to claim points according to the level of earnings instead of making different income bands for different set of countries. However, uplift multiples are available to enable the overseas applicants multiply their overseas earnings to assess the number of points they can get under this section. The applicants can get 5 points for having earnings of above £25K and 25 points for having earnings more than £40K in the 12 months out of last 15 months.Applicants with exceptionally high earnings will be able to claim more points e.g. £150,000 equates to 75 points.

There is an exception for those who were on maternity or adoption – related absence; they can earnings earned in the 12 months out of last 15 months, immediately before going on maternity or adoption – related leave.

UK Experience: Maximum 5 points can be claimed if an applicant scores points for past earnings and those earnings were made in the UK or has studied for at least one full academic year at a Bachelors degree level or higher in full time higher education in the UK.

Age: The maximum one can get is 20 points for being under 29 years of age; or 10 points for under 35 ; or 5 points for under 40.


Extension Application
The applicant, who first qualified before 6th April 2010  as a Tier 1 - general migrant, has to re-qualify under the pre-april 6th 2010 point based system and score 75 points that can be claimed in the following manner:

    * Qualifications (30 – 50 Points)
    * Previous Earnings: (5 – 45 points)
    * UK experience (5 Points max.)
    * Age: (5-20 points)

Qualifying MBA: Thos applicants who got their previous grant of leave on the basis of having completed a qualifying MBA must have to claim a total of 75 points under the sections mentioned above. They will not be given 75 points automatically as he got in their first application.

Qualifications: An applicant having a UK Bachelors Degree will be able to claim 30 points, or 35 points for having a Masters degree or 50 points for having a PHD in any subject. The maximum is 50 points that can be claimed under this section.

Past Earnings: Applicants will be able to use earnings earned in the 12 out of last 15 months from the date of application. The applicants will be able to use their earnings in the UK and also their income from overseas. But they will not be allowed to use multiples in extension applications. The applicants can get 5 points for having earnings of above £16K and 45 points for having earnings more than £40K in the 12 months out of last 15 months.

There is an exception for those who were on maternity or adoption – related absence; they can earnings earned in the 12 months out of last 15 months, immediately before going on maternity or adoption – related leave.


UK Experience: Maximum 5 points can be claimed if an applicant scores points for past earnings and those earnings were made in the UK or has studied for at least one full academic year at a Bachelors degree level or higher in full time higher education in the UK.

Age: The maximum one can get is 20 points for being under 31 years of age while the minimum is 0 for being over 34 years of age. The applicants of age 31-32 can get 10 points while applicants of age 33-34 can only get 5 points.

The applicant can only claim a total of 75 points if he can provide the relevant documentary evidences and claim points under any of the sub sections mentioned above.

II English Language

For Tier 1 (General), applicants are required to provide evidence that they speak, communicate and understand English language to a certain level. This requirement can be met in one of the following three ways:

    * By being a national of one of the English speaking countries i.e. USA , Australia , Canada etc.
    * By having a degree level qualification from an English speaking country
    * By having passed an English language Test (IELTS: 6.5)

This will give 10 points to the applicant.

Exemptions. Following persons however will automatically be given 10 points under this section:

    * The one who has got leave to remain / entry clearance under Tier 1 (General) or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and is seeking extension of leave to remain.
    * The one who has got leave to remain / entry clearance under HSMP after 05th of Dec. 2006 and is seeking to switch to Tier 1 (General).

III Maintenance

The applicant need to score 10 points under this section by providing evidences confirming that he has got sufficient amount of money for the maintenance and accommodation of himself and any of his dependants. He has to provide evidences that he has maintained a specific amount of money for at least 3 months prior to making the application (initial or extension).

The applicant must provide evidences that he has got access to following amounts of money to make the visa application for himself and / or for his family members:

    * £2800, if the applicant is making an entry clearance application from outside the UK
    * £800 if the applicant is making an in-country application either to extend his existing visa or an initial application while remaining in the UK.
    * £1600 for each family member, in addition to the £2800 for his own, if he is being accompanied by his family members and all of them are making entry clearance applications from the relevant British Diplomatic posts
    * £1600 for each family member, if he is in the UK for less than 12 months and his family members are making an application from overseas
    * £533 for each family member, if the main applicant has been residing in the UK for more than 12 months

Please note that the funds for the maintenance of the family members can be available in the main applicant`s name or the dependant`s name. This is a very strict requirement and the application will likely to be refused even if the balance falls down the required threshold at any stage in the last three months.

There are no exemptions of this requirement.

B. Duration of Tier 1 (General)

The first time applicants will be given 2 years visa whether they apply for entry clearance or switch from another immigration category.

Those who are already on Tier 1 (General) will get extension for 2 years to enable them complete five years residence in the UK and apply for ILR.

C. Work Allowed

Applicants having leave to remain or leave to enter under the Tier 1 (General) will be allowed to take any employment or engage in self employment activities or work in a combination of both. The dependants will also be enjoying full rights to work in the UK similar to the main applicant. The only restriction that they will have is that they will not be allowed to work as a Training doctor.

D. Switching Rules

Into Tier 1 (General):

Following persons will be able to switch into Tier 1 (General):

    * A highly skilled migrant
    * A Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
    * A Tier 1 (Post – Study) migrant
    * A Tier 1 (Investor) migrant
    * A participant in the FT: WISS
    * A participant in the IGS
    * A Business Person
    * An Innovator
    * A student
    * A student nurse
    * A student re-sitting an examination
    * A student writing up a thesis
    * A post graduate doctor or dentist
    * A work permit holder
    * A self employed Lawyer
    * A writer, composer or Artist

Please note that the rules of switching are very strict and no one else is allowed to switch to Tier 1 (General) while remaining in the UK , unless there are truly compassionate circumstances.

E. Settlement Prospects

Although the persons on above mentioned visas are allowed to switch to Tier 1 (General) visa, only following will be able to use time spent on their previous visas towards 5 years residence criteria for ILR.

    * Highly Skilled migrant programme participant
    * Work permit holder
    * Innovator
    * Self employed lawyer
    * Writer , Composer or Artist

It means that if a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant having already spent 2 years on that visa, switches to Tier 1 (General) category, will lose that 2 years time for settlement purposes and have to complete 5 years on Tier 1 (General) to become eligible for permanent settlement.

Those who have completed a total of five years in a combination of any of the above mentioned immigration categories will be able to apply for Indefinite leave to remain one month before completing their five years.

F. Administrative Review (Entry clearance applications only)

If the entry clearance application is refused by the ECO in the British Diplomatic post, the applicant will be given a right of making a request for a review of the decision that must be exercised within 28 days of the date of service of decision. The applicant will only be able to rely on the information / documents already submitted with the application and will not be allowed to provide / submit any fresh documentary evidences with the review request.

It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help while making grounds for making review request.

G. Appeals (In country Applications only)

The applicants whose Tier 1 application is refused will be given full rights of appeal, provided they are not left with any leave to remain in the UK at the time of the decision. In these appeals, the applicant will however be allowed to make use of fresh documentary evidences / information in support of his appeal against the decision of the UKBA. The applicant will have 10 working days from the date of service of decision to lodge an appeal against that decision.

It is strongly advised to take independent professional assistance to lodge an appeal against the decision of the UKBA.

H. What services we can offer?

    * We can advise on the procedure, requirements and merits of making an application to the home office / British Diplomatic post.
    * We can provide assistance in completing the application forms and advise on the list of required documents.
    * We can advise and represent our clients in making representations in support of their immigration matters.
    * We can advise and represent our clients’ dependant to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
    * We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant`s entry clearance application is turned down for some reason.
    * We can advise in making permanent residence (ILR) applications for those who have already completed their five years period in the UK .

 

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TIER 1 (Post Study Work)

This would the sub- category of TIER 1 where the students who have done either a diploma or a Bachelors degree or Masters degree or PHD from a recognized or listed body in the UK, would be able to switch to a two – year post study visa.

Those who are currently on IGS having obtained their leave to remain for one year would be allowed to obtain further leave to remain for another year in line with the new Post Study work visa. Their applications would be dealt under the Transitional measures that would be put in place once the complete TIER 1 would be introduced.


A similar framework of points would be introduced as it is available for TIER 1 (General) category. The students would be required to claim 75 points under the attributes, 10 points under English language and 10 points for their maintenance.

The distribution of points would be as under:

Attributes

1. Having successfully completed one of the following: 20 Points

    * A UK recognized degree at Bachelors level; or
    * A UK recognized degree at post graduate level; or
    * A UK post graduate certificate or diploma; or
    * An HND from a Scottish Institution

2. Having completed one of the above mentioned courses / degree at a UK institution that is either a recognized or listed body - 20 points.

3. Having obtained the above mentioned qualification whilst in the UK with a valid student leave or as a dependant of someone with valid leave in an immigration category permitting the bringing in of dependants - 20 points.

4. Having made the application within 12 months of obtaining the eligible qualification - 15 points.

English language

All applicants who successfully claims 75 points as indicated above, would be deemed to have sufficient level of English thus would be given points under this section.

Maintenance

If a persons would like to switch to post study work category while remaining in the UK, he would be expected to have at least £800 for his maintenance and £533 for each dependant in the last three months` bank statements at all time.

If a person is seeking entry clearance the amount required for maintenance would be £2800 for the main applicant and 2/3 of this amount for first dependant and further 1/3 of the amount for other dependants - 10 points.

Successful applicants would be free to seek employment or engage in self employment activities without having a sponsor. But unlike the other highly skilled sub-categories, it is there only to provide a bridge to highly skilled or skilled work. People with post study work leave will be expected to switch into another part of the points system as soon they are able to do so.

It would not be possible to extend the visa for more than a total of 2 years, and the time period spent in this category would not be counted towards the threshold for being eligible to apply settlement. However, Post study workers can still return to their student visas, if they wish to continue their studies in the UK.

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