From today all highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investors wanting to go to the UK will be able to apply for their UK visa under a new Australian style points based system. Under the new system, applicants will need to amass points to satisfy the visa service that they can make a positive contribution to the UK. Points will be awarded for objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience. Only those with enough points will be able to get a visa.
The system replaces the two staged Highly Skilled Migrant programme with a single application that is far easier to use. Applicants are able to calculate how many points they will be awarded, and therefore if they are likely to be issued a visa, before making an application. Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said, "The introduction of Tier 1 of the Points Based System is good for those wanting to work in Britain and good for the UK economy. We are clear that we will not tolerate any abuse of our systems. That is why we have introduced fingerprint technology to check all visa applicants, a new force to police our borders and new rules that ban anyone using false documents or deception from the UK for up to ten years."
Today's changes introduce the first tier of the points based system. Other tiers for students, skilled workers with a job offer and temporary workers such as musicians, actors and sportsmen will both be introduced over the next year.
Prospective applicants can use a self-assessment points calculator which can be accessed at the following address http://www.biahomeoffice.qov.uk/pointscalculator. This will allow applicants to determine whether they have enough points to make a successful application.
Further information on the points based system can be found at www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk or www.ukvisas.gov.uk.