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UK Visa Tier Points-Based Immigration System

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The United Kingdom's points-based 4 tier visa system (previously 5 tier visa system) is the main uk immigration route for migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to come to the UK to work, study or train.  However, changes have been made in the expectation that Brexit will eventually happen and the UK will eventually leave. For example the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa has been replaced with the UK Innovator visa.

The UK visa points system separates applicants into four 'tiers'. In order to be eligible for a visa in any of the four tiers you must pass a points-based assessment. In Tier 2 work visa applications, points are awarded if the applicant is sponsored by an employer, is being paid the appropriate salary, meets the English language requirements and meets the maintenance funds 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 tier.

UK Tier Points Based Visa System

The five tier visa system consists of the following:

  • Tier 1 Visa: This visa category is for 'high-value migrants' from outside the EEA and covers entry of investors, and those very few people who come under the 'exceptional talent' visa.
  • Tier 2 Visa  This category is for 'skilled workers' from outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK. It includes skilled workers who are transferred to the UK by an international company, skilled workers where there is a proven shortage in the UK, 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. 
  • Tier 4 Visa: This category is for students from outside the EEA 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 invesment 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 tier system.

Further information, help, and advice has been in the immigration services business for over thirty years, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. and its associated companies are acting under Section 84 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

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