UK - The Proposed Points System under the Five Year Plan

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We are including an analysis below of one important part of the Government's five year plan announced last month. A single points based system will replace all the different UK work permits and entry schemes. Work and study programmes will have a parallel system. The more skills you have, the more points you will get, increasing your chances of entry to the UK.

European Union workers and a few other European countries will not be affected, as they will be able to come and go under the EU free movement rules.

Similar systems are already used in other industrialised countries such as Australia, who believe it is much more transparent and responsive to the needs of the economy.

The Conservatives also are in support of the new system although they would prefer links to quotas set by Parliament.

The Four Tiers Of Entry

There will be four "tiers" (categories) within the new points scheme.

Tier One: Highly skilled

Professionals in this category will be highly skilled and so automatically have enough points to come to the UK without a job offer. They can seek work or set up a business and includes: doctors, engineers, IT specialists and graduates in sectors such as finance and business. Tier one workers will be able to settle in the UK on a permanent basis, and will have the most flexibility. This is similar to the current Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.

Tier Two: Skilled

This tier covers those with qualifications or important work-related experience in a large range of sectors from health service workers to white collar jobs and the trades. A job offer in a "shortage area" and enough points will be needed to gain entry.

Tier Three: Low skilled

At present temporary migration to jobs in hospitality, food processing and agriculture from all over the world is allowed. In future workers from the expanded European Union may be favoured, although the government may allow controlled quotas in certain sectors.

Workers in this category need an employer as a sponsor.

Tier Four: Specialists and students

This category covers people from whom there is "no significant issue of competition" but an economic benefit resulting from their presence; students paying for tuition in the UK, foreign Government representatives, professional sports people and ministers of religion may be included.

In order to prevent overstaying, workers in some sectors prone to abuse will have to pay a financial bond, repayable when they leave at the end of their visa. Employers will be fined £2,000 for each illegal worker they employ.