Tier 1: an overview
Tier 1 of the Points Based System (PBS) covers highly skilled migrants with no specific job offer. It replaces the pre-2008 Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).
There are four current Tier 1 streams: Entrepreneur, Graduate Entrepreneur, Investor, and Exceptional Talent. The most relevant for the majority of our clients is Tier 1 Entrepreneur.
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur is a route that is being actively promoted and encouraged by the UK Government. It is attractive and achievable to many who are interested in living and working in the UK. The required investment is a minimum of £200,000. However, it should be noted that two applicants can come together as a Team and pool this amount of money between the two of them. Tier 1 Entrepreneur holders become eligible to apply for settlement after five years, or three years under the accelerated route.
- The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route lowers the minimum investment required to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category from £200,000, as above, to £50,000. Your application must be endorsed by an approved UK Higher Education Institution, and you need to apply within one year of your qualification being awarded. There is a limit for this route of 1,900 places per year.
- Tier 1 Investor requires a minimum investment of two million pounds within the UK. (Before November 2014 this was one million pounds.) It results in settlement after five years, or as little as two years if a greater amount is invested.
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent was opened in August 2011, and is aimed at those who are internationally recognised as world leaders, or potential world leaders, in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts. There is a limit of 1,000 places under this route, per year.
- Tier 1 General was closed to new applicants in April 2011, and was closed completely in April 2015. Tier 1 General holders become eligible to apply for settlement after 5 years, though it should be noted that 2012 legislation introduced a Points Score requirement in moving from Tier 1 General to Settlement.
- Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) was closed in April 2012. Applicants cannot extend their time in the UK under this category, but can transfer to a different visa within Tier 1 or alternatively, to Tier 2 if they are able to secure a sponsor.
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Tier 1 Investor requires a minimum investment of two million pounds, and results in settlement after five years
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent requires international recognition in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital tech, arts