The United Kingdom's points-based 5 tier visa system is the main immigration route for migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to come to the UK to work, study, invest or train.
The system separates applicants into five 'tiers'. In order to be eligible for a visa in any of the five tiers you must pass a points-based assessment. In work visa applications, points are generally awarded according to the applicant's ability, experience and age.
You must reach a points score above a minimum threshold if your application is to be successful. The minimum number of points required varies for each tier.
UK Five Tier Visa System
The five tier visa system consists of the following:
- Tier 1 Visa: This visa category is for 'high-value migrants' from outside the EEA and covers entry of entrepreneurs, investors, and those very few people who come under the 'exceptional talent' visa.
- Tier 2 Visa This category is for 'skilled workers' from outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK. It includes skilled workers who are transferred to the UK by an international company, skilled workers where there is a proven shortage in the UK, ministers of religion and sportspeople.
- Tier 3 Visa : This category was designed for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages. The Government has so far never allocated any visas under this scheme. Unfortunately, this means that you cannot apply for the Tier 3 visa scheme.
- Tier 4 Visa: This category is for students aged over 16 from outside the EEA who wish to study in the UK. Applicants must have a place at a registered UK educational establishment before they can apply.
- Tier 5 Visa : This category contains six sub-tiers of temporary worker including creative and sporting, charity, religious workers, and the youth mobility scheme which enables about 55,000 young people every year to work in the UK on working holidays. The visas are awarded to young people from countries that have reciprocal arrangements with the UK.
Other UK visas
The five tier system covers most work, study, and invesment visas. But visitor visas, family visas, and some UK business visas fall outside of the five tiers.
- UK Visitor Visas: This section has the information you need to enter the UK as a visitor, whether for business or pleasure
- UK Family Visas: Whether you want to bring your family to the UK, or join a family meber already living there, this section covers the main UK visa options for families.
- UK Business Visas: This section covers a limited number of long term business visas which fall outside of the five tier system.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.