Categories: News

Introductory Guide to UK’s Points-Based Immigration

Introductory Guide to UK’s Points-Based Immigration

The government has published an introductory guide to the UK’s new points-based immigration system.

From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. Under the system, points will be assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries and shortage occupations. Visas will then be awarded to those who gain enough points, (70 points are needed).

From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to the UK to work will need to demonstrate that:

1. They have a job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor (20 points);

2. The job offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above under the Regulated Qualifications Framework (A Level and equivalent) (20 points); and

3. They speak English to the required level (10 points).

These criteria are compulsory and cannot be ‘traded’ under the scheme. They give an applicant a total of 50 points.

In addition to this:

If an applicant earns (or will earn) more than the required minimum salary threshold (currently set at £25,600) they will be awarded a further 20 points. As such, they will eligible to make an application.

If an applicant will earn less than the required minimum salary threshold, but no less than £20,480, they may still be eligible if they can demonstrate that they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation or a PhD relevant to the job they have been offered. This is because the applicant can ‘trade’ characteristics, such as their qualifications, against a lower salary to get to the 70 point threshold.

Anyone coming to work in the UK will need to be paid the higher of the specific salary threshold for their occupation – the ‘going rate’ – and the general salary threshold.

Under the scheme the points will be allocated as follows:

Characteristic Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor No 20
Job at appropriate skill level No 20
Speaks English at required level No 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 Yes 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 Yes 10
Salary of £25,600 or above Yes 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by
the Migration Advisory Committee
Yes 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Yes 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Yes 20


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