UK Immigration Process
The UK Border Agency as started the points based system in 2008 as a way of regulating UK immigration; on based on whether a person is eligible to apply for a UK visa for work or study purposes. The system was split into five main categories (known as tiers), each has their own separate criteria and requirements. A brief summary of each tier is explained below, which will help get you on the right track for submitting a successful visa application.
Tier 1 (Highly Skilled Workers) – This allows the candidates who are with the high skill set to live in the UK on the basis of work or self-employment opportunities. This includes entrepreneurs, investors, international graduates seeking to remain after their studies; or exceptional talented world leaders. This category does not require the migrant to have the sponsor, which is a real advantage. This visa can lead to settled status (indefinite leave to remain).
Tier 2 (Job Offer Secured) – Any person applying for Job offer Secured visa must have a skilled job offer from a UK employer; to take up a job in the UK that cannot be filled by a settled worker. For this application to be successful, your UK employer will require a valid sponsorship license. This is required by all employers that deal with UK immigration cases and allows them to create a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for that person to undertake a specific role. However, some applications will be subjected to the UK Government quota (immigration cap). Job Offer Secured is also split into subcategories which include general, intra-company transfer, sportsperson, and minister of religion. Similar to the High Skilled worker Visa, certain subcategories of Job offer Secured visa also helps you to become a permanent residence in the UK.
Tier 3 (Low-Skilled Workers) – This category is for those who have been offered employment in the UK for a low skilled job. As with Tier 2, the UK employer must hold a valid sponsorship license. However, at this time of writing, Tier 3 has been suspended for an indefinite period. The UK Border Agency believes that these labor needs can be met from within the European Economic Area (EEA). However, it is always important to keep updated with news on Tier 3 visas, as this could change in the future. Unlike Tier 1 and 2 visas, Tier 3 will not lead towards settlement and does not provide an opportunity to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Tier 4 (Students) – This is for international students who have a confirmed offer to study within the UK via an approved education provider. For many, this will involve moving to the UK to study at a university, studying in a UK school or students on work experience courses or placements. The educational institution must also hold a valid sponsorship license. The length of this visa will be dependent on the length of the studies and can be applied for from within the UK or overseas. In some cases, time spent in the UK on Tier 4 can lead towards settlement (on the basis of 10 years long residence, for example).
Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) – This final tier is a temporary category, for individuals who are looking to take part in a working holiday or cultural exchange in the UK. This allows certain nationalities into the UK for the specified period of time and has replaced the ‘Working Holidaymaker’ scheme. This visa applies to a wide variety of people, looking to enter the UK for a short period of time and could include athletes, musicians, charity workers, religious workers or as part of an international agreement. Similar to Tier 3, Tier 5 cannot be used towards an application for settlement or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.