The Points Based System

In 2008 the government established a Points Based System which is used to determine the rights of non EEA nationals to enter and work in the  passport and map UK. 

How the system works

Under the Points Based System, non EEA nationals need to pass a points based assessment before they are given permission to enter or remain in the UK.

For those not currently in the UK, the application and assessment is done in their home country.

The system consists of five tiers. Each tier has different points requirements. The number of points the non EEA national needs and the way the points are awarded depends on the tier they are applying under. Points will be awarded to reflect the non EEA national's ability, experience, age, qualifications, income and, when appropriate, the level of need within the sector the non EEA national will be working.


Tiers most commonly used
Tiers and sub tiersDescription
 Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) Internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world leading talent in the fielss of science and the arts.  They do not need to be sponsored by the College but do need to be endorsed by an accredited competent body
Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) Allows students who have been identified by UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills but who are not yet in a position to meet the full requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route to stay in the UK to develop their businesses. Applicants need to be in the UK and sponsored by the HEI from which they have graduated. They are expected to spend the majority of time developing their businesses but may also undertake other work for up to 20 hours a week.
Tier 1 (General) This route is now closed.  Individuals can no longer apply or extend Tier 1 (General) visas.  Family members can still apply to join them in the UK.  Individuals may be able to apply to settle once they have been in the UK for 5 years and can apply to settle as a Tier 1 (General) worker until 6 April 2018.
Tier 2 Skilled workers with a job offer and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). We are only permitted to issue a CoS when specific requirements have been met.
Tier 4 (Students) Permitted to work for up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time if they are studying at degree level or above at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) or up to a maximum of 10 hours per week during term time if they are studying below degree level at a HEI.  They may work full time during vacation times, including the time between the end of their course and the end of their student visa.  For general queries regarding Tier 4 please contact the International Student Support teamNB: Those studying at a publicly-funded Further Education (FE) College are not permitted to work.
 Tier 5 There are a number of different categories of temporary worker under Tier 5 however the only two categories of relevance to the College are the Tier 5 – Government Authorised Exchange category and the Youth Mobility.
Dependents of non EEA nationals who have permission to work in the UK may be able to apply for a dependent's visa that will allow them to work where this is permitted under the rules of that particular tier.
Summary of the table's contents