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UK Visa Points-Based Immigration System

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The United Kingdom's points-based visa system (previously 5 tier visa system) is the main UK immigration route for migrants to come to the UK to work, study or train.  A number of significant changes have been made to the UK visa points based system since 1 December 2020, ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.  The Tier 2 visa has been replaced with the Skilled Worker visa and Intra-Company Transfer visa scheme.

The new UK visa points system is in many ways very similar to the previous four 'tiers' points based immigration system. In order to be eligible you must pass a points-based assessment. In Skilled Worker visa applications, points are awarded if the applicant is sponsored by an employer, is being paid the going rate salary, meets the English language requirements and meets the financial requirement.

You must reach a points score above a minimum threshold if your application is to be successful. The minimum number of points required varies for each UK visa category.

UK Points Based Visa System

The UK visa points based system consists of the following:

  • Tier 1 Visa: This visa category is for 'high-value" investor migrants able to invest £2 million in the UK.
  • UK Work Visa  This is for 'skilled workers' from outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK. It includes the Skilled Worker visa category, those who are transferred to the UK by an international company, ministers of religion and sportspeople.
  • Tier 3 Visa : This category was originally designed for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages and no longer exists. The Government never allocated any visas under this scheme. 
  • Student Visa: This category is for overseas students who wish to study in the UK. Applicants must have a place at a registered UK educational establishment before they can apply.
  • Tier 5 Visa : This category contains six sub-tiers of temporary worker including creative and sporting, charity, religious workers, and the youth mobility scheme which enables about 55,000 young people every year to work in the UK on working holidays.

Other UK visas

The UK tier visa system covers most work, study, and investment visas. But visitor visas, family visas, and some UK business visas fall outside of the five tiers.

  • UK Visitor Visas: This section has the information you need to enter the UK as a visitor, whether for business or pleasure 
  • UK Family Visas: Whether you want to bring your family to the UK, or join a family member already living there, this section covers the main UK visa options for families.
  • UK Business Visas: This section covers a number of long term business visas which fall outside of the UK visa points based system.

Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over thirty years of experience in international visa services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work in conjunction with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK sponsor licence application and visa application to UK Visas and Immigration at the Home Office. 

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at