Starting 30 June 2008, the UK's new points based system, referred to as 'Tier 1 (General)', will go into effect for all individuals looking to immigrate to the UK as a general highly skilled migrant. On this date, it will completely replace the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). In addition, three new sub-categories of Tier 1 will be introduced: Tier 1 (Investors), Tier 1 (Entrepreneurs), and Tier 1 (Post-Study Work).
Tier 1 (General) for highly skilled migrants other than entrepreneurs and innovators has been in effect for applicants already in Britain since 29 February 2008. On 1 April 2008, Tier 1 (General) was implemented for applicants based in India.
Until 29 June 2008, the HSMP is still in effect for applicants from the rest of the globe.
The new Tier 1 (General) points system for age, past earnings, UK experience, and education have not changed much from the HSMP.
English language requirements are slightly more difficult, with the UK now using Level C1 on the Council of Europe's Common European Framework for Language Learning as a baseline for acceptable English. This equates to an approximate overall band score of 6.5 on an International English Language Testing System exam.
Funds requirements that show applicants can support their stay in the UK are also different from the HSMP. There are two sets of Maintenance funds depending on whether the person is making their application from within the UK or not. Applicants from within the United Kingdom must show that they have had GBP 800 in savings at all times during a three month period prior to the date of their application. People applying from abroad must have GBP 2,800 in savings for three months.
30 June will also usher in the remaining three sub-categories of Tier 1: Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Post-Study Work. These three sub-categories will replace the following immigration categories:
- Investors scheme
- Businesspersons scheme
- Innovators scheme
- International Graduates Scheme
- Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland
- Self-employed lawyers scheme
- Writers, composers and artists scheme
"The UK is a fantastic place to work and develop for those with the skills we need," said Immigration Minister Liam Byrne in a press release. "A points system has worked well in Australia and I think it will work well for Britain."