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Points-Based System – Overview

2009 saw the continued introduction of the British Government’s much discussed Points-Based System (PBS). The system is intended to be more consistent, straightforward and transparent. The work permit arrangements, and the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, have been replaced respectively by Tier 2 and Tier 1 of the Points-Based System. It is intended that by using a points based system there will be a more objective and transparent decision-making process.

Under the new Points-Based System, the crucial application for permission is always made by the individual seeking entry or leave to remain under one of the 5 ‘Tiers’ of the Points-Based System. In each this application will be points-based.

The PBS is going to replace more than 80 existing routes into the UK for the purposes of work and study. The Points-Based System is split up into the following 5 tiers, or levels:

Tier 1

This Tier is aimed at highly skilled individuals who will contribute to the growth and productivity of the UK economy. Applicants under this category do not require a job offer or sponsorship from a UK organisation. The phased implementation of this tier began on 29th February 2008, and was completed as of 30th June 2008

Tier 2

This Tier is aimed at skilled workers with a job offer, required to fill gaps in the UK labour force. Applications made under this Tier will require sponsorship from the employing organisation. This Tier was launched and replaced the work permit arrangements on the 27th November 2008.

Tier 3

This Tier is aimed at low skilled workers in order to fill specific temporary labour shortages. Applications under this tier will also need to be sponsored by employers. This tier is on hold until further notice and may be activated when relevant temporary labour shortages are identified.

Tier 4

This Tier is aimed at students. Applications made under this tier will need to be supported by the educational institution. Tier 4 was implemented during Spring 2009.

Tier 5

This Tier is designed for Youth mobility and temporary workers: people coming to the UK to satisfy primarily non-economic objectives.

Most applicants seeking entry to the UK under PBS will require a Certificate of Sponsorship. This will need to have been issued to them by their potential employer, or educational institution in the UK. Applicants under Tier 1, however, do not require a Certificate of Sponsorship, as they are able to apply based purely on their own attributes and achievements.

Before being able to issue Certificates of Sponsorship, employers and educational institutions will need to obtain and maintain a place on the national Sponsor’s Register. This will involve making a fairly involved application, supported by business-related documents, and agreeing to what is effectively a code of practice, including a number of responsibilities and obligations such as reporting, record keeping and compliance-related activities. There will also be specific additional duties associated with each tier under which the organisation wishes to sponsor migrants. In order to maintain their position on the register, they will need to comply with all of these responsibilities.

Please click on the links above for more information on the relevant “tier”.


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