The UK government has made changes to the requirements for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 UK work visas. The changes took effect on the 6th of April, 2010. According to the UK’s Immigration and Borders Minister, Phil Woolas, “By utilising the flexibility of the points-based system we are now ensuring that only those that we need to come to the UK to work can do so.” The Tier 1 visa is for the highly skilled and qualified applicants applying to senior roles in the UK, while the Tier 2 visa is for skilled applicants employed by a UK company licensed to sponsor migrants.
There have been significant changes to the points based system. The Tier 1 changes include:
- Education: With the new rules, a Bachelor’s degree also fetches 30 points as opposed to zero earlier. Earlier only a Master’s degree or a PhD could fetch points. According to the new point system:
- Bachelor’s degree: 30 points
- Master’s degree: 35 points
- PhD: 40 points
- MBA: 75 points
- Age: The new point system also has changes to the age brackets. Earlier younger applicants were favoured. The current system awards points to all applicants below the age of 40 years and in the following manner:
- Under 30 years of age: 20 points
- Between 30 and 34 years of age: 10 points
- Between 35 and 39 years of age: 5 points
- Above 40 years of age: No points
- Previous earnings: The UK government has also raised the minimum threshold for previous earning from GBP 20,000 to 25,000. No points are awarded for salaries below GBP 25,000 and a maximum of 75 points can be achieved by people with salaries above GBP 150,000.
Also there are multipliers in for different countries divided in 5 bands. To reflect differences in income levels across the world, countries are divided into 5 income bands and local incomes adjusted to the levels shown in the salary ranges below. For money earned in India the multiplier is 5.3. Hence a person needs to first convert his salary into sterling, then multiply that figure by the multiplier allocated for his country and see in which band he falls. The earnings brackets and point attached are as follows:
- GBP 25,000 – GBP 29,999 – 5 points
- GBP 30,000 – GBP 34,999 – 15 points
- GBP 35,000 – GBP 39,999 – 20 points
- GBP 40,000 – GBP 49,999 – 25 points
- GBP 50,000 – GBP 54,999 – 30 points
- GBP 55,000 – GBP 64,999 – 35 points
- GBP 65,000 – GBP 74,999 – 40 points
- GBP 75,000 – GBP 149,999 – 45 points
- GBP 150,000 and above – 75 points
- Additional 5 points will be added if applicant has previously studied in the UK (Bachelor degree level or above in full-time higher education in the UK) or was awarded points for earnings in the UK.
These changes aim to make immigration of the most talented/skilled labour easier and in the same time ensure that only the best and most suitable candidates are granted UK visas. Hence now graduates would also be able to apply for Tier 1 visas but would need to have higher previous salaries. The age limit changes have also ensured that the more experienced applicants are also awarded a fair number of points.
For more details visit http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/