2021 UK points system similar to current Tier 2 visa system

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

The Government has made a big thing about the “Australian Style Points System”.  However, it is not really that different to the current UK visa points based system.   In most cases in future you will need to be paid the same sort of salary as now.  You will also need to have a job offer and meet the English language requirements.

One difference is that jobs will need a minimum skills level of RQF Level 3 instead of RQF Level 6 (actually there are already some exceptions to this requirement), which should mean that more people qualify.  In other respects it looks as if the changes are actually relatively minor.  So surely this is an admission that we actually already have an “Australian Style Points System”!  Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and others seem to be suggesting that this is something that is quite new.  Well you can’t believe what politicians say.

One thing that is welcome is the Health and Care visa, with lower Government fees, that will be operational from August 2020.  Apparently, this will be a much faster and cheaper system than the Tier 2 visa and Tier 2 Sponsor Licence System.  Also applicants will not have to pay the widely disliked Immigration Health Surcharge.  However, what is controversial is that this visa category will not allow in front line care workers.

Based on new UK immigration guidelines issued by the government, international IT directors applying for Tier 2 visas to work in the UK, may in some circumstances need to be earning a salary of £56,100 a year to qualify. The government has said that it considers this to be the ‘going rate’ for a senior-level tech professional.

The salary rate would count toward the 70 points that will be needed to be eligible for a UK Tier 2 skilled work visa under the new, post-Brexit immigration system.

The CEO of trade body techUK, Julian David, said: “The digital skills gap is not unique to the UK, making tech talent in high demand across the global digital economy.

“TechUK’s members are committed to building a strong domestic talent pipeline, but for the UK to remain world leading in fields such as AI [artificial intelligence] and quantum computing, it must remain open and attractive to international innovators, investors and the talent that supports that ambition.”

Once-in-a-generation opportunity to change UK visa system

David argues that the new immigration system is a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to build a system that actually serves the needs of the UK’s dynamic and modern economy, while developing a high-level of trust with the British public.

TechUK’s CEO said: “This must include the ability to support digital tech talent to move around for short-term activities to support their customers and supply chains. The tech sector is the UK’s modern success story and vital to delivering on the government’s ambition to create a high-skill, high-wage economy that is fit for the future.”

50 points are awarded to Tier 2 visa applicants who have the following:

  • A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (30 points)
  • Meeting English language requirements (10 points)
  • Having enough funds to support themselves while in the UK (10 points).

The remaining 20 points are gained by having a salary that’s higher than the minimum threshold of £25,600.

Going rate for IT jobs under UK visa points based system

Under the new rules, the government has outlined salaries that it considers the ‘going rate’ for IT related jobs, including IT director, technical director, and telecommunications director.

According to UK Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data, collected each year by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), each of these jobs has a ‘going rate’ salary of £56,100.  Under the tradeable points system there are various ways to gain enough points.


Tradeable points (may only score from one entry from each of the two sections below) – 20 required




General salary threshold

Going rate




Salary of at least £20,480

At least 80% of the going rate for the profession (70% if a new entrant).


Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job


Salary of at least £23,040

At least 90% of the going rate for the profession.


Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job


Salary of at least £25,600

At least the going rate for the profession.


Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC)



Salary of at least £20,480

Listed health/education job and meets the relevant national pay scale


Applicant is a new entrant to the labour market (as designated by the MAC)


As can be seen above one way to gain the 20 points needed to satisfy Tier 2 visa criteria for an IT director role, is for the applicant to earn a salary above the minimum threshold and to be paid at least the going rate for the job.

There are ways to secure the points needed, for instance if an applicant within the general salary band of £23,040 - £25,599 and they’re earning at least 90% of the going rate for their role they would gain 10 points.

However, if an applicant’s salary exceeds the standard salary of £25,599, but which is not the going rate they may not gain enough points.  Unless the applicant’s job is on the shortage occupation list the applicant will most likely need to also have a PhD in a subject relevant to the job.

It is possible to make up the points if an applicant is earning ninety percent of the going rate and/or under the general salary requirement, and by having a PhD qualification related to their role.   Alternatively if you secure a job that’s on the UK Shortage Occupation List and earn eighty percent of the going rate for experienced workers or seventy percent of the going rate for new entrants then you should gain enough points (at least £20,480). 

Workpermit.com can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, workpermit.com can help.

For more information and advice on Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com