The United Kingdom immigration process has been defined with the help of several laws concerning different aspects of immigration. These laws, currently in effect, define regulatory procedures for a wide range of scenarios an individual might be coming to the UK for (such as for study purposes, business purposes, immigration to UK as investor, tourism purposes etc). These laws are compiled in a document and separated into several parts, with the document termed as the UK Immigration Rules. Each part concerns a different aspect of the UK immigration process and visa type i.e. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 with requirements, clauses, exceptions and many other such things defined in it.
In the UK, a separate department that handles immigration related cases exists, known as the ‘Home Office’. Headed by the Secretary of State, the Home Office is obligated to abide by the UK Immigration Rules as failure to do so could reverse the decision taken on the immigration case. It should be noted that members of the European Economic Area (EEA) follow a different procedure for entry and leave in the UK than foreigners who are not members. Mostly, EEA members do not need to follow a lengthy procedure for entry or stay because of the ‘Free Movement’ agreement of the EU which grants all EU citizens the right to freely move and settle within the EU. The way the Home Office treats visa applications is also dependant on the home country of the applicant. This is to say that a United States citizen will have a more likely chance of gaining entry into the UK than a citizen of India. This is due to the UK government assessing and being weary of countries that have abused the visa that was granted to them in the past.
Each visa type (Tier 1, Tier 2, etc) is divided into several sub-categories, each with their own procedure and rules for settlement, extension, entry etc. Each visa category also requires different number of ‘points’ off of the ‘Points Based System’. A measuring system put in place by the UK government to ease the process of fulfilling visa requirements. Each time an applicant fulfills a certain requirement of the visa he/she is applying for, a certain number of points are awarded. When the applicant crosses the minimum threshold of points required to qualify for a visa, he/she can be eligible to submit their visa application form.
The following article briefly explains the Immigration Process of the UK by taking a look at the requirement and rules of the UK Tier 1 General category. A category that is a part of a visa type created for high value workers. Other categories of the Tier 1 visa include the Entrepreneur category, immigration to UK as investor, the Graduate Entrepreneur category and the Exceptional Talent category.
Tier 1 General Category
This category of the t1 visa exists for individuals who wish to come to United Kingdom for work opportunities that are categorized as ‘High Skill Jobs’. This also includes individuals who are self-employed. If any person is applying for a visa on this category, he/she will not require a sponsor and are allowed to start businesses and enter the country even if they are self-employed. The UK government will look at the value of the work the individuals will be putting in while they are in the country. However, you will need to be switching from one of the below listed categories for this to happen:
How many points under the Points Based System are required to apply for General category visa type?
An applicant applying on the Tier 1 General category will require a total of 95 points to be eligible for this visa. But, for applicants who are switching to this category from the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), a total of 100 points will need to be secured. Also, as you will see in the below listed criteria, the point distribution scheme for HSMP applicants varies from other categories of applicants switching to the t1 visa General category.
Points can be awarded for HSMP applicants however if they are under the age of 40. The number of points varies with age groups and is defined as:
Applicants switching to this category from other categories are also awarded points based on their age group. For all other categories, points on the basis of age are awarded as:
Applicants from the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) are also given points based on their qualifications. The point distribution scheme for HSMP applicant qualifications is listed as follows:
Other than HSMP applicants, individuals from other categories are also awarded points for their qualifications in the below listed manner:
While the at least 95 points need to be scored for this category, up to 80 points can be secured by applicants based on their salary or earnings (for self-employed persons).
For applicants who are switching from the HSMP, the point distribution scheme is detailed as follows:
Furthermore, it should be noted that another 5 points can be secured if the applicant’s past earnings of a sum of GBP 16,000 or more than this amount was earned in the United Kingdom.
For applicants switching to this category from all other categories excluding HSMP applicants, the point distribution scheme for salary or earnings is listed as:
An additional 10 points can be secured for this category if the applicant can prove his/her English language skills. Furthermore, an additional 10 points can also be secured if the applicant can prove that he/she is financially stable to cover his/her expenses for living in the UK.
Can a person apply to permanently settle in the United Kingdom on the Tier 1 General category? And if so, what are the requirements that need to be filled?
Yes, individuals are allowed to permanently settle in UK if they are currently in UK on the General category of the Tier 1 visa. Individuals from this category will be required to live for a continuous period of 5 years before they can legally apply to settle. The UK has a legal criterion to count the period an individual has stayed in the UK termed as the ‘Continuous Residence Period’. Thus, the person looking to settle will need to be stayed in the UK for 5 years on the continuous residence period. If the person had switched to this category from any other category within this 5 year period, the time will still be counted if the applicant switched from one of the below listed categories (or in combination of these categories):
Furthermore, the individual must have stayed in the country for more than 6 months in a 1-year period if the continuous residence period is to be counted.
Also, the applicant must have secured a total of 75 points if he/she have been staying in the country on a visa that was granted before the 10th of July, 2010 under one of the following categories:
Categories excluding the ones listed above (Tier 4 student visa, Tier 1 investor visa, Tier 5 visa etc) will need to score a total of 80 points. Additionally, the UK government requires the applicant to possess a significant degree of English language skills if he/she is applying to permanently settle (unless the applicant is less than 18 years of age or more than 65 years of age).