Monday 24 November 2014

Understanding the UK Immigration System

Anyone who is not a citizen of a country under European Economic Area (EEA) has to go through the UK’s point-based 5-tier immigration system to migrate to the UK. As is clear from the previous statement, there are 5 categories to immigrate to the UK, with each tier representing one category. For each tier there is a separate point-based evaluation system, with different sets of factors on which the points are awarded. Also, the minimum points that applicants are required to earn to have their visa approved are also different for different tiers.

Let’s discuss each tier one by one.

Tier 1

The Tier 1 visa is for those non-EEA citizens who can be considered as ‘high-value’ immigrants. This includes entrepreneurs, investors, artists, and other individuals with exceptional talent. On this visa, you can work in the UK in many jobs without being sponsored for them, as well as be self-employed. You can also bring your family members on this visa. Initially this visa remains valid for 2 years, but you can apply for extension to stay in the UK for up to 5 years. However, from 6 April 2015 the visa extension on Tier 1 visa will be closed.

Tier 2

To migrate to the UK under this category, you first need to get sponsored by a UK employer. Your employer also needs to prove to the government that the nominated position cannot be filled by any native or settled skilled worker in the UK. While applying for this visa you need to submit your certificate of sponsorship. This visa remains valid for a maximum period of 5 years and 14 days. However, you can apply for a 5 years extension if your total stay in the UK is not more than 6 years.

Tier 3

The Tier 3 visa was for low-skilled overseas workers to fill the shortage of unskilled workers in the UK. However, on 25 March 2013 the Tier-3 visa was shut down completely, since according to government the UK no longer need unskilled workers from outside the EEA.

Tier 4

This tier is for overseas students who want to study in the UK. To apply for this visa, you first must be offered a place on a course at a UK educational institute. Also, you can only apply for this visa if you are older than 16 years. Additionally, you must have a sound knowledge of English language. The validity of this visa depends upon the length of your course. The student visa also allows you to work in the UK with some restrictions.

Tier 5 

This category is for temporary workers and is divided into 6 subcategories - creative and sporting, charity workers, religious workers, government authorized exchange, international agreement, and youth mobility scheme. On this visa you can stay and do voluntary or temporary work in the UK for 12 months. You can also bring your family members to the UK.

Understanding the UK immigration tier system will help you in choosing the right visa while migrating to the UK.