5 things you need to know about Points Based System Immigration - Foreigners In The UK
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Fri, Jun

(1) What is points-based system immigration?

In November 2008, the Home Office replaced the old work permit scheme with a points based assessment of immigration applications.  The system hoped to make it clearer for applicants to check their eligibility and know the requirements for their application and also make it easier for Home Office caseworkers to assess applications.  Applicants will need to obtain the required number of points for their application in order to qualify under a particular Tier.

(2) What are the Tiers of the points based system applications and how many points are required for each category?

There are currently four tiers of points based system applications and each of the Tiers has sub- categories which are as follows:

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

• 75 points for attributes (Appendix A of the Immigration Rules)
• 10 points for English language (Appendix B of the Immigration Rules)
• 10 points for maintenance (funds) Appendix C of the Immigration Rules)

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

• Initial applications – 75 points for attributes
• Extension applications – 75 points for attributes
• 10 points for English language

Tier 1 (General)

• 75 points for attributes
• 10 points for English language
• This category is now closed to new applicants and you can only apply for an extension of your leave to remain as a Tier 1 (General Migrant)

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

• At least 75 points for attributes (Appendix a of Immigration Rules)
• 10 points for English language (Appendix B of the Immigration Rules)
• 10 points for maintenance (funds) Appendix C of the Immigration Rules

Tier 1 (Investor)

• 75 points for attributes

Tier 2 (General)

• 50 points for attributes
• 10 points for English language
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer)

• 50 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

• 50 points for attributes
• 10 points for English language
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

• 50 points for attributes
• 10 points for English language
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)
 
Tier 4 (General)

• 30 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker- Charity Worker)

• 30 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting)

• 30 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange)

• 30 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker- International Agreement)

• 30 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker- Religious Worker)

• 30 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)

• 40 points for attributes
• 10 points for maintenance (funds)  

(3) How do you claim points for Attributes?

Attributes are detailed in Appendix A of the immigration rules.  The points awarded for attributes vary upon the type of application that they make.

Points for attributes will be available for qualifications that they possess and for some applications a PhD, Masters Degree or Bachelors Degree may be required.  

Points awarded for possession of funds required for a particular application will require specific evidence of possession of those funds.  

Points will be awarded for salary for some of the categories of application and will need to be at the required level for that particular category.

Points will be awarded for endorsement by a designated competent body, UK Trade and Investment or a Higher Education institution, for some categories as well as money earned in the UK and age at the time of the application.  

Points will be awarded for assets, investment and business activities.

Points can be obtained for sponsorship and must be issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship or Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies or a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship if applying from overseas.  The Certificate of Sponsorship must state the salary of the migrant as per the requirements under the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes and minimum required level. The list of SOC codes is a document published by the Home Office listing occupations with their codes, which are required for issuing a certificate of sponsorship. The codes are categorised under their required skill level and the minimum salary for new entrants and experienced workers, rates of which are based on a 39 hour week. When employers assign employees with a certificate of sponsorship they must ensure that the job is skilled to the required level and that they are paying the minimum salary or above, else you will not be awarded points for sponsorship.

Examples of obtaining points for attributes are as follows

• Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) – applicants will obtain 75 points for being endorsed by a Designated Competent Body.

• Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) – applicants will be awarded 25 points if they have access to not less than £200,000.00 or £50,000.00 (if meet other requirements). If the money is held in one or more regulated financial institutions, applicants will obtain a further 25 points and a further 25 points if the money is disposable in the UK.

• Tier 1 (Investor) Migrants – applicants will be awarded 30 points if they have money in their own control amounting to £1m or at least £2m of assets. Applicants will be awarded a further 30 points if they have invested £750,000.00 in government bonds, share/loan capital in UK registered companies and 15 points if this is done within 3 months of the applicant being granted entry clearance or leave to remain.

• Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneurs) – applicants will be awarded 25 points if they have been awarded a degree which is of UK Bachelors Degree standard. Applicants will be awarded 25 points if they have been endorsed by a Higher Education Institution or UK Trade and Investment and a further 25 points if the body has confirmed that the applicant has a genuine business idea and is applying for leave to remain.

• Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers) – applicants will be awarded 30 points for possession of a valid certificate of sponsorship and 20 points for being paid the appropriate salary.

• Tier 2 (General) – applicants will be awarded 30 points if they are applying for a job that is on the shortage occupation list, applying for an extension of leave working for the same employer or their sponsor has satisfied the resident labour market test, details of which must be provided in the Certificate of Sponsorship.

• Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) – applicants will be awarded 50 points if they are in possession of a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.

• Tier 2 (Youth Mobility Scheme) – applicants will be awarded 30 points if they are a British Overseas Citizen and 10 points if they are aged between 18 and 30.

• Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) – applicants under this category will be awarded 30 points for possession of a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.

• Tier 4 – applicants will obtain 30 points for possession of a valid Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).

(4) How do you claim points for English Language?
 
The English Language requirements are detailed in Appendix B of the Immigration Rules. A migrant will need to obtain 10 points for English language in order to satisfy this aspect of the application.  The level of English required depends on the type of application that is being made. If a migrant does not satisfy the English language requirement to the required level then they will not be able to claim points for it. The levels are taken form the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning.

Points can be obtained:

• for being a national of a majority English speaking country, which are one of the following: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the USA. Applicants will need to provide their passport as evidence of this;

• if the applicant studied a degree that was taught in English. The applicant must obtain a UK Naric comparison to ensure that the professional qualification meets UK Bachelor Degree level and confirms that it has been taught in English. Applicants must provide their original qualification and transcript as well as the comparison from UK Naric to ensure they obtain points for English language;

• if the applicant has passed an acceptable English Language Test. A list of approved English Language Tests is listed under Appendix O of the Immigration Rules which you can view by clicking the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-rules-appendix-o; and

• if the applicant currently has leave in some particular categories and have met the requirements in a previous grant of leave or if applying to extend leave in the same category and has previously provided evidence of the English language requirement, known as the Transitional Arrangements.

(5) How do you claim points for maintenance (Funds)?

The maintenance (funds) aspect is detailed in Appendix C of the Immigration Rules and varies depending on the category of application that is being made. Appendix C sets out the amount of funds that the applicant must hold in their account and for the period that they must hold them in order to obtain 10 points for maintenance (funds). This will be 90 days or 28 days depending on the application. Evidence must be provided to show that these funds are available to the applicant, e.g. original bank statements and the required periods will be counted from the last date of entry on the bank statements provided.  

Applicants applying under any of the following categories will need £900.00 funds (which will increase to £945.00 from 1 July 2014) for 90 days before their application:
• Tier 1 (Entrepreneur);
• Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur);
• all Tier 2 categories; and
• all Tier 5 categories except Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme).

Applicants applying under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) will need to be in possession of £1800 (which will increase to £1890 from 1 July 2014) on the date of their application.

Under the Tier 2 category, if an applicant has been issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship by an A rated sponsor then their maintenance can be certified by them on the Certificate of Sponsorship and they will not be required to show evidence of maintenance.  If a migrant is applying to extend their leave in some categories, e.g. Tier 2, then they will not be required to provide evidence of maintenance and will automatically obtain 10 points.

Under the Tier 4 category, the required level of funds will depend on where the applicant’s primary site of study is e.g. either inner London, where the amount will be higher or outer London, where the amount will be slightly lower. The level of funds required will also depend on whether the applicant has an established presence in the UK. An applicant will have an established presence if they have leave to remain as a Tier 4 migrant or student and have completed a course that was at least 6 months long during their last period of leave.

An applicant who is applying for a course of study in inner London and does not have an established presence in the UK will need to be in possession of £1000 (which will increase to £1020 from 1 July 2014) per month for up to 9 months, which would be £9000 (or £9180 from 1 July 2014).  These funds would need to be held in the applicant’s account for 28 days prior to their application. If an applicant is studying in inner London and has an established presence then they will need to be in possession of £1000 (or £1020 from 1 July 2014) for up to 2 months, which would be £2000 (or £2040 from 1 July 2014). These funds would need to be held in the applicant’s account for 28 days prior to their application.

The following areas are considered inner London: Camden, City of London, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth or Westminster.  

If an applicant is studying outside London then they will need to be in possession of £800 (or £8020 from 1 July 2014) for up to 9 months if they do not have an established presence or up to 2 months if they have an established presence. These funds would need to be held in the applicant’s account for 28 days prior to their application.

Applicants can refer to the Home Office’s Points Based Calculator to check their eligibility for making applications and the points for the particular category that they wish to apply under.

Applicants are urged to obtain legal advice before making their application to ensure that they meet all of the requirements.

By Jasmine Shergill,
Solicitor – Immigration, HR & Employment Department for TURBERVILLES (http://www.turbervilles.co.uk/)TURBERVILLES
This blog does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Appropriate legal advice should be sought for specific circumstances and before action is taken

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