Tier 1 - Immigration Overview
Tier 1 visas are designed to attract what the Home Office refer to as the 'brightest and best' of potential UK immigration candidates. Unlike tier 2 visas, which also apply to those moving to the UK for long-term business or employment purposes.
Tier 1 visas do not require an offer of employment to be in place. As a result, the requirements of the tier 1 assessment are consistent with selecting the most highly skilled applicants.
The role of PBS in streamlining UK immigration
Tier 1 of the PBS replaces eight immigration categories from the previous system and replaces them with four new subdivisions. With the exception of the Post-Study Work category, time spent in the UK will count towards the minimum residency requirement of five years for permanent settlement in the UK.
Outgoing UK Immigration Services
Fresh talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
International Graduates Scheme
Self Employed Lawyers
Writers, Composers and Artists
Under Tier 1 - Applicants may apply through one of the following categories:
The General category applies to highly skilled candidates whom wish to enter the UK in order to seek and undertake employment.
Applicants in this stream will be investing in the UK economy by starting or assuming control of a business. Candidates must also be involved in the day-to-day running of the enterprise concerned.
The Investor stream of Tier 1 is aimed at individuals making a substantial investment in the UK.
The Post Study Work stream provides a short-term bridge to working in the UK for the most talented non-EEA national graduates completing a course of study in the UK. This stream is part of Tier 1, but unlike the other categories, it is only granted for a maximum of two years, which will not count towards permanent settlement in the UK. Candidates who remain in Britain under this category will be obliged to switch their status into another part of the points system as soon as they are able to do so.
Applicants in the General, Investors, or Entrepreneur categories will be granted a three-year visa, with the option to extend this by a further two years if the requirements continue to be fulfilled.
Tier 1 Visa assessment
As with the previous HSMP, tier 1 visa applications for the UK will be assessed on a range of criteria. In sub-categories of tier 1, candidates will be assessed against a specific group of requirements. However, the following general requirements will apply to all streams:
English Language Proficiency - The PBS places emphasis upon competence in the English Language, especially in tier 1.
Self - Sufficiency - All migrants in tier 1 must be able to support both themselves and any dependent family members.
Applying for a Tier 1 visa
Unlike the other tiers of the PBS, tier 1 visa applications do not need a sponsor to be in place. The tier 1 visa application will be a single process whether initiated from inside or outside the UK and applicants will need to submit a range of supporting documentation in order to substantiate their application. Candidates may apply for a tier 1 visa either to enter the UK, extend a stay, or switch whilst already in the UK.
Tier 1 spouse immigration and dependent immigration
Since tier 1 immigration is designed for skilled migrants immigrating to the UK for a long-term to permanent stay, a successful applicant may bring their dependants, including their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, and/or children with them. However, the main applicant must demonstrate their ability to support and maintain their dependents in the UK.
These dependents will be eligible work, however, if they wish to be in the UK in their own right i.e. rather than as a dependent, they will need to leave the UK in order to apply.