How does the new UK point based immigration system work?


What is Point based immigration system?

Under the points-based immigration system, with the exception of Irish citizens, anyone coming to the UK for work, study, invest or train must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

This system provides flexible arrangements for UK employers to recruit skilled workers from around the world through a number of different immigration routes.  A number of significant changes were made to the UK visa points-based system on 1 December 2020, before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020

Why PBS?

The system is designed to ensure that no one who might jeopardize the health of other persons in the UK is admitted. Furthermore, those unable to support themselves or their dependants in the UK for medical reasons, and those that require major medical treatment (unless explicitly granted), will not be granted with any of the points-based system visas.

How are points awarded?

Based on the tier the candidate will have to allocate the necessary points which vary on the type of visa they are applying for. The required points may differ from each other as follows:

  • Age:

Depending on the age, one can allocate 5 to 20 points. The system privileges young applicants assessing them with more points than those older.

  • English Language:

Each applicant must obtain 10 points for English language ability. Nationals of countries where English is an official language automatically obtain ten points, while nationals of other countries must first take a test to prove their English ability.

  • Qualifications:

 Some tiers assess education level from 30 to 50 points and others from 5 to 15 points.

  • Earnings/Maintenance:

 Depending on the tier earnings or maintenance, candidates financial means are assessed with 15 to 45 points of  5 to 20 points.

  • UK experience:

Some of the tiers may evaluate the experience that one has had in the United Kingdom with 5 points.

  • Certificate of Sponsorship:

CoS is evaluated with 30 to 50 points.

UK Points Based Visa System:

The UK visa points-based system consists of the following:

  • Tier 1 Visa: This visa category is for ‘high-value” investor migrants able to invest £2 million in the UK. Currently the investor scheme is the only visa category under the “Tier 1 visa”.  The Global Talent visa, UK Innovator visa and Start-Up visa do not come under Tier 1 visa. 
  • UK Work Visa  This is for ‘skilled workers’ from outside the EEA with a job offer from an UK employer with a sponsor licence. It includes the Skilled Worker visa category (RQF Level 3 and higher), those who are transferred to the UK under the intra-company transfer visa by an international company, and ministers of religion and sportspeople. 
  • Tier 3 Visa : This category was originally designed for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages and no longer exists. The Government never allocated any visas under this scheme.  
  • Student Visa: Previously called the Tier 4 visa, this category is for overseas students who wish to study in the UK. Applicants must have a place at a UK educational establishment with a sponsor licence before they can apply. 
  • Temporary Work Visa : This category replaces the similar Tier 5 visa scheme, and 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.


Coverage of new points-based immigration system:

Characteristics Mandatory/Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor Mandatory 20
Job at appropriate skill level Mandatory 20
Speaks English at required level Mandatory 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee Tradeable 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Tradeable 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Tradeable 20

How do you apply to work in the UK?

Applications may be started online, but some people will need to visit a visa application centre in order to prove their identity and show necessary documents.

These might include a certificate of sponsorship from a proposed UK employer, and proof of knowledge of English.


Novaturient is a Licensed Immigration consultant that offer Visa services in acquiring Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa and Visit Visa for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Schengen Countries and the UK.

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