Points Based Immigration System

Latest news

Government introduces NHS surcharge for migrants.

For more information see the UCEA Update:

NHS surcharge for migrants - UCEA Update

Further to the Update the Home Office has now confirmed:

'The surcharge will apply to migrants applying for entry clearance to come to live in Scotland or leave to remain in Scotland. It is the UK immigration health surcharge, not the NHS (England) surcharge. The NHS in Scotland will receive a fair proportion of the proceeds of the surcharge on the basis of the Barnett formula.'

UCEA Survey on the use of Tier 1 and Tier 5 (2016)

This survey was carried out to gather information on HEIs’ use of Tier 1 and 5 visa routes in order to improve the way that these routes operate and to identify areas where guidance could be enhanced. The survey was sent out to all UCEA members in June 2016 and we received responses from 58 HEIs.


Survey on the use of Tier 1 and Tier 5 in higher education


The points based immigration system consists of five tiers:

Tier 1 (General) - is now closed to applicants from outside the UK

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise) - for the brightest and the best with applications endorsed by the competent bodies 

The Exceptional Talent route was introduced in 2011 with an initial allocation of 500 places. The route has not attracted the number of allocated places (currently 1000). For more information see the panel on the right for the slides of the Exceptional Talent workshop in 2013.

Tier 2 - skilled workers with a job offer

Tier 3 - low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages (not used)

Tier 4 - students

Tier 5 - temporary workers, such as musicians coming to play in a concert, and participants in the youth mobility scheme.

See the UKVI's guidance on obtaining and maintaining a license to sponsor appointments of staff from outside the EU. 

Page last updated July 2016.