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Points scoring criteria for Tier 1 General: past, future and transitional arrangements

03 September 2010

On 19 July 2010, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) increased the required threshold to qualify under the Tier 1 General Scheme, namely from 75 points to 80 points. In addition, an applicant still needs to meet the English language and maintenance requirements.

However, it is also important to recall that a new points table was published on 6 April 2010, whereas before a migrant had to show gross earnings above £40,000 to claim the maximum points (45) in the earnings category, an applicant will now need to show above £75,000 to claim the same number of  points.

In a nutshell, the new points table has clearly benefitted high earnings individuals who are able to meet the mandatory threshold under Appendix A without any academic qualification by showing gross earnings above £150,000 in the 12 months preceding the application.

The UK Border Agency has also raised the bands to score points for age. Therefore, an applicant under 29 years of age will be able to claim 20 points, an applicant between the age of 30 and 34 will be able to claim 10 points and finally, a migrant age between 35 and 39 will be able to score 5 points.

Finally, the UKBA has also introduced a temporary cap for entry clearance applications submitted under the Tier 1  General Scheme from outside the UK. The cap is set at 5,400 until April 2010, when a permanent cap is likely to be introduced.

Not all is bad news, as one must bear in mind that the new points criteria do not apply to migrants who are in the UK under the following category:

(1) HSMP migrants

(2) Tier 1 General with leave granted period to 6 April 2010

(3) Writers, composers and artists

(4) Self-employed lawyers

In addition, the English courts have advocated a more lenient and common sense approach to the "maintenance requirement"  following the judgment in Pankina. As a result, the UKBA has now put in place transitional arrangements and remedies in place for migrants who:

▪       submitted applications abroad for entry clearance between 23 June and 22 July 2010 inclusive; or

▪       submitted applications for leave to remain on or before 22 July 2010, when they had lawful status in the UK.

In a nutshell, if your application was unsuccessful and submitted within the above timeframes, you can request the Home Office to review the original decision to refuse your application. Please note that you will not be able to rely on any additional evidence and that applicants have only until 22 June 2011 to request a review.

The Tier 1  General category is, in our opinion, still one of the most desirable immigration status in the UK. This is due to the fact that a migrant is not tied to any one employer as he/she will be able to work in employment, self - employment or set up his/her own business.  Further, this category leads to settlement in the UK after 5 years and British nationality after 6 years.  It can be combined with other categories to comply with the 5 years residence requirement and further, a Tier 1 General holder is able to be joined by his/her immediate family.

Please note that the only restriction on employment is that this category does not permit employment as a professional athlete or sports coach as well as doctor or dentist in training.

However, migrants who have been awarded a medical degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK academic institution accredited as Tier 4 sponsor by the UK Border Agency can be employed as a doctor/ dentist in training. Similarly  migrants who were last granted leave without a condition on their employment as a doctor or dentist and who have been employed in such capacity will be able to continue their employment without restriction.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.