Points Based System


  • The United Kingdom’s immigration authorities grant visas to migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) under the Points Based System
  • This system was introduced in 2008 and 2009
  • Points Based System (PBS) is a 5 tier visa system
  • Under the new system visas are granted to those applicants who want to enter the UK to study, work, train or invest
  • It can be assumed as the country’s main immigration route for those who do not live within the EEA.
  • The applications have been categorised into 5 tiers
  • To gain eligibility in any of the five tiers, the applicant has to pass the points based assessment
  • In work visa applications, points are typically granted as per the age, experience and skills of the applicant
  • It is important to reach the minimum range of score, which is pre-determined, to get your visa
  • It must be noted that the minimum number of points that is required for each category varies considerably for the five tiers
  • In a majority of categories, the minimum score required is 10 points
  • The key aspects involved in the awarding of points are as follows:
    • The English Language Requirement
    • Qualifications
    • Maintenance Requirement
    • Previous Earnings
    • Experience in the UK

Why you need Professional Help in Understanding the Points Based System?

  • If you want to enter the UK for studying purpose, setting up business, employment and/or investing in the country then you must have adequate knowledge about the Points Based System
  • If you are eligible for any of the five tiers that you have applied for then you can expect to get approval to apply for settlement and subsequently UK nationality
  • It is a very complicated system and cannot be understood on your own
  • If your application is submitted in the wrong tier, then it will be refused
  • In case you are not prepared for the assessment criteria as proposed under the points based system, then your chances of success are quite slim
  • This is why you need professional help from expert solicitors and advisors

UK Immigration Five Tier Visa System

Tier 1 Visa

  • This category is created for high-value migrants who need entry in the UK from outside the EEA.
  • There are six sub categories of this tier namely: Entrepreneur, investor, graduate entrepreneur, General, Exceptional Talent and Post Study Work
  • It is the only category of visa that do not require applicants to receive sponsorship from an education provider or an employer
  • The category of Exceptional Talent visa is only applicable on limited number of people

Tier 2 Visa

  • Tier 2 category of visa is exclusively for Skilled Workers aiming to enter the UK from outside the EEA
  • The applicants must have received a job offer in the UK prior to applying for this visa
  • The category is open for skilled workers who get transferred to the UK by an international organisation/enterprise/company or if there is proven shortage of skilled workers in the UK in a particular industry
  • The visa is also open for ministers of religion as well as sports personalities
  • Skilled workers generally require sponsorship from employers who must have a Tier 2 sponsor license, which is issued by the Home Office
  • The categories of Tier 2 Visa include:
  • General: For workers from outside the EEA who want to enter UK on a temporary basis to fill in a job in the absence of suitable local candidate
  • Intra Company Transfer: For workers who are already employed at a company outside the EEA and need to join their employer’s office in the UK
  • Ministers of Religion
  • Sportspeople

Tier 3 Visa

  • The category is specifically designed for low-skilled and unskilled workers who can fill in temporary labour shortage in the UK
  • It is worth noting that so far the UK government hasn’t granted visa to anyone under this category
  • This means, you cannot apply for Tier 3 visa
  • The scheme has never been operational and most likely it will remain closed

Tier 4 Visa

  • Tier 4 visa is granted to students above 16-years who come from outside the EEA and want to study in the UK
  • It is a necessity that applicants must already have enrolled at a registered UK educational institution prior to applying for the visa
  • A Tier 4 sponsor license will be issued by the Home Office to the applicants
  • The categories of Tier 4 Visa are as follows:
  • General: For all students above 16 years of age
  • Child: For students below 16 years of age

Tier 5 Visa:

  • This category of visa is for temporary workers coming from creative, sporting, religious, charity or youth mobility scheme
  • Under this visa category, around 55,000 youngsters per year are able to work in the UK when they have working holidays
  • Young people from countries that already have mutual agreement with the UK are awarded visa under this category
  • There are two subcategories of Tier 5 Visa, namely:
  • Youth Mobility: this allows youngsters from Canada, Australia, Japan, Monaco, Taiwan and New Zealand to live and work in the UK for two years’ period
  • Temporary Workers: those individuals who have been sponsored by licensed UK employers to enter the UK and work here temporarily

General Guidelines

  • Entering the UK through the points based system is genuinely objective
  • Discretion is never exercised by the Home Office at any stage under this system while considering the applications for entry clearance
  • Applicants need to prove their entitlement to enter, remain and leave the UK by producing relevant documents as specified by the Secretary of State
  • The Home Office has published the guidelines of this system on its website
  • As per the Immigration Rules, if an application is not submitted with the required, specified documents, then it will be considered that the applicant does not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules
  • Eligibility criteria of each Tier is subject to continuous evolution and variation
  • It is very important that you obtain professional legal advice while making a application under the Points Based System.


Contact us today, our experts Immigration lawyers can assist you with your Points Based System Application.