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This is the only part of the system which does not require applicants to be sponsored by an employer or an education provider.


This type of visa is for highly skilled workers. It should be noted that this subcategory is closed to those seeking entry to the UK. Applications are only accepted from those within the UK, but these are now restricted to those seeking Tier 1 (General) extensions.
To qualify for leave to remain applicants require 80 points from a variety of attributes - their qualifications, age and previous earnings. Only 75 points are needed if the applicant has previously been granted leave to remain under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or under two other now deleted immigration categories.

Age is an important factor here as more points are awarded to younger applicants and less to older applicants.

Applicants must also gain 10 points for English language. These points are awarded by one of the following being fulfilled:


♦     Production of an English language test certificate from a provider approved by the Secretary of State;

♦     Production of an academic certificate deemed by the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) to meet or  exceed the recognised standard of a UK Bachelors' or Masters' Degree or a PhD, or

♦     Being a national of one of a list of countries whose first language is English, or by having obtained an academic qualification to the necessary level from one of those countries.

Finally, applicants require 10 points under the maintenance requirement.

Successful applicants will be granted leave to remain in the UK for two years if their previous grant of leave to remain was under the rules in place before 6 April 2010, or for three years if their previous grant of leave was after this date. They will have free access to the UK labour market, but they are not allowed to take employment as a doctor in training. At the end of this period they can apply for further leave to remain in the same category or in any other Tier or subcategory of the PBS If successful they will be granted leave to remain for up to a total of five years.

After a total of five years' leave to remain applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (General) Migrant. They must demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK. Successful applicants can then apply after 12 months for UK nationality.



This type of visa is for high net worth individuals who are capable of making a substantial financial investment in the UK.

Applicants must have net assets of at least £1 million but are not required to meet any English language or maintenance requirements.

After their entry to the UK, Tier 1 (Investor) migrants need to invest at least £750,000 in the UK. This money needs to be invested in UK government bonds, share or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies - but not in those principally engaged in property investment.

Importantly, the investment of at least £750,000 must be made within three months of a successful applicant's arrival in the UK. Failure to do this will jeopardise the applicant's application for further leave to remain and enable the UKBA to cut short the applicant’s stay in the UK.

Tier 1 (Investor) migrants are entitled to work if they wish to do so but not as a doctor in training.

Leave to enter the UK is granted for an initial period of three years, and further leave to remain - upon satisfaction of the requirements which are outlined above - for a period of two years.

As with other Tier 1 migrants, those with leave to remain in this subcategory can apply for indefinite leave to remain. This can be done after completing the number of years of continuous residence in the UK which is commensurate with the level of their investment. For example, those who invest as much as £10 million can apply for indefinite leave to remain after just two years.

For indefinite leave to remain, Tier 1 (Investor) migrants must then demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK.




This type of visa is for those wishing to establish a business in the UK or take over an existing business. Applicants must have at least £200,000 to invest in a new or existing UK company, although certain limited categories are permitted to apply with only £50,000 of funds.

The £200,000 provides the necessary 75 points required by the rules for entry clearance and the migrant will initially be granted leave to enter the UK for three years.

The requirements for English language and maintenance are the same as those for Tier 1 (General) migrants.

By the time their leave expires applicants must show that their business activities have created at least two new full-time jobs for UK employees. Meeting these requirements gains the necessary points needed for further leave to remain, which is for two years.

Those with leave to enter or remain as Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants are not allowed to work outside the company or claim public funds.

The number of years for which a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) must remain in the UK before being eligible for indefinite leave to remain can be as low as three, if the business has created at least ten new jobs in the UK, or if the applicant can show an income from its activity of at least £5 million.

In other cases, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants can apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years. In addition they must demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK. If successful they can apply for UK nationality after they have had indefinite leave to remain for 12 months.


This type of visa is for graduates who have been identified by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, to extend their stay in the UK immediately after graduating in order to implement a business idea or plan.

The scheme is open to all HEIs which are Highly Trusted Sponsors, but HEIs will only be able to "endorse" a maximum of 1000 graduates each year until April 1014.

Leave to remain will be granted for a period of one year, after which applicants can apply for another year's leave to remain, subject to endorsement by their HEI again. Before the end of this second period they must either successfully apply for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant or leave the UK.

The requirements to be met by a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) switching to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant are relaxed. They need only show that they have £50,000, as compared with £200,000 to invest.


This type of visa is for "those who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts and who wish to work in the UK” to be granted entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK. Applicants must be economically active in their chosen field, and this must be certified by a "Designated Competent Body”. This will be the Royal Society, Arts Council, British Academy or Royal Academy of Engineering, depending on the discipline of the applicant. There is a limit of 1,000 applications a year from April 2012 to April 2014. The majority of these visas will be granted to those active in science.

Applicants do not have to satisfy any maintenance requirement or show any proficiency in the English language. However applicants for leave to remain must show ability in English to the standard prescribed in the Immigration Rules.

Entry is granted for an initial period of three years, and leave to remain for a period of two years.


This category  permitted international graduates who have studied in the UK (under Tier 4) to apply for entry clearance or for leave to remain as Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants but has now been closed to new applicants since 6 April 2012.

The Immigration Rules which governed this category have been replaced by the new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Route.

It is however open to people who have leave to remain to apply to stay in the UK as Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants or as Tier 2 (General) migrants. Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants who are switching to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant status need only show that they have £50,000 to invest in a business.

Brief details