Focus on Immigration – Tier 1 and Tier 5


Please note that since this article has been published immigration guidance has changed. Please see our post UK NARIC’s Visas and Nationality Service launches on 6 April which contains more up-to-date information.



In 2012 the UK is going to be fantastic!

We’ve got the Olympics!

We’ve got Going Global in London!

We’ve got entrepreneurs saying that they are optimistic about growth!

Who could ask for anything more?

All you need to do now is find your pathway through the different systems and regulations!  Moving is a desire and qualifications can be the springboard to propel you through these barriers and to a better life greater enhancement.

If you from outside the EU and are thinking about coming to the UK to work there are a number of routes available under the Points Based System for immigration: Tier 1, 2 and 5.  Most migrants come through Tier 2, but for those who wish to invest in the UK, are exceptionally talented or are only coming on a temporary basis need to use different tiers.

Tier 1 – High Value Migrants*

This tier is specifically designed for those that are going to make a very significant contribution to the UK.  The categories in this tier are:

Exceptional Talent*

Limited to 1000 exceptionally talented individuals who have been ‘endorsed’ by one of the following competent bodies:

  • Royal Society
  • Arts Council England
  • British Academy
  • Royal Academy of Engineering.


Individuals applying through this route want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses.  Additionally they must have access to £200,000 and be able to demonstrate they can support themselves in the UK and have the necessary level of proficiency in English.


Migrants using this route want make a substantial financial investment in the UK and must have £1million in the bank or £2million worth of assets and £1million in the bank which has been loaned by a UK regulated financial institution.

Post-study work*

The category is for individuals who have graduated from a UK higher education provider and wish to stay in the UK while they look for work.  There are maintenance and English language requirements which need to be met.  The maximum length of time this visa is valid for is two years.  In March 2011 UK BA announced that this category would be closing in April 2012.


This category is now closed to applicants outside the UK and is only available to those extending their stay.

The main difference between this tier and all the others is that the migrant does not need to have a sponsors.

Tier 5 – Temporary Workers and Youth Mobility Schemes*

Tier 5 is primarily of non-economic route which provides a channel for those wishing to come to the UK for temporary work or part of a Youth Mobility programme.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker – creative and sporting)*

For people coming to work or perform in the UK for up to 12 months as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists. Sportspeople must be internationally established at the highest level in your sport, and/or their job must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker – charity workers)*

For people coming to do voluntary (unpaid) work for a charity in the UK.  The work must be directly related to the sponsor organisation’s work.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker – religious workers)*

For people coming to the UK for preaching, pastoral or non-pastoral work, or work in a religious order such as a monastery or convent.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker – government authorised exchange)*

For people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the UK’s social and cultural life.  This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker – international agreement)*

For people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law. This includes workers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and similar agreements, employees of overseas governments and international organisations, and private servants in diplomatic households.

Tier 5 (Youth mobility scheme)*

For young people from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Monaco who want to come and experience life in the UK.

Make sure you check the UK BA website to be completely up-to-date.

Tim Buttress, December 2011


*Please check the Home Office website to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

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