It is important for potential foreign investors in the UK to understand the points-based system used in the UK visa application process. It doesn’t matter which type of visa you are applying for, the points-based system is the method each visa application is adjudicated.
Revamped in 2008, the UK visa programme was converted to a point-based system in an effort to be fairer in deciding which applications were granted. Though, at first glance, the point-based system can seem complicated, overall, the new programme has been very successful.
What is the Points-Based System?
The new UK visa programme has five tiers, based upon the type of visa you are applying for. Each tier has its own points system. Therefore, you must first know what visa tier you are applying for before determining the points you will require in order to be considered for a visa in that category.
There are five tiers in the new system. Tier 1 is for highly skilled workers; tier 2 is for skilled workers with a job offer; tier 3 is for low-skilled workers; tier 4 visas are for students; and tier 5 is for youth mobility, temporary workers.
How is an Application Awarded Points?
Each tier of the visa application process has mandatory requirements as well as additional point earning areas. An applicant must meet the minimum requirements. Additionally, they must score at least a minimum point’s total.
· A tier 1 visa requires at least 95 points in order to be considered for visa acceptance. Points are granted for English language proficiency, having the minimum amount of funds available, educational degrees, past annual earnings, age of applicant at time of application, and if the applicant has previous earnings in the UK.
· Tier 2 visas require a minimum of 70 points. Points are awarded in English language ability (mandatory), available settlement funds (mandatory), qualifications, such as degrees earned, certificate of sponsorship, and perspective earning in the UK.
· The tier 3 visa category for low-skilled workers has been temporarily suspended in the UK. Therefore, the minimum point values are not available at this time.
· Students seeking a tier 4 visa in the UK must receive a minimum of 40 points. Such things earn points as a letter of acceptance from a recognised UK college or university, which provides 30 of the points they require, and the remaining 10 points are awarded for proof of sufficient funds to cover the time of study.
· A tier 5 visa in the UK has five categories of temporary workers. The five categories are charity workers, creative and sporting workers, religious workers, government exchange, and international agreement. Applicants receive points for a certificate of sponsorship and having sufficient funds for their stay.
Considered a more objective way to determine visa eligibility, the UK points-based system has received good reviews. However, with the increase in categories, and a more objective system of approval, the increase in UK visas that are filed each year has increased substantially. This is of concern to some bureaucrats; however, in most cases, the increase is seen as something that has allowed the UK economy to continue to flourish at a time where the world economy is still in a poor state.
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