International work permits OISC ILPA

Tier 1 Visa (General) Overview

Skilled migration plays an important part in the United Kingdom's effort to keep its economy globally competitive. As part of the UK's new Points Based System Tier 1 (General) allows highly skilled individuals who score the requisite points to immigrate to the UK without any kind of sponsorship from an employer. Highly skilled individuals include doctors, scientists, engineers, MBAs, and other educated workers. If you can speak English, have earned at least the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, and can show that you have earned a relatively good income in your home country, Tier 1 (General) is the right scheme for you.

Since 2002, the UK has been actively encouraging skilled migrants to immigrate to the country -- first through the HSMP and now through its Tier 1 (General) visa for general highly skilled migrants, which replaced the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) on 30 June 2008.

Tier 1 (General) is very similar to the previous HSMP, save for the notable exception of the removal of the MBA provision which allowed those with MBAs from a list of specific universities to claim an automatic 80 points. English language requirements are also more stringent. You can use our Tier 1 General Highly Skilled Migrants points calculator to assess your chances of being granted a Tier 1 visa under this sub-category.

Specific Criteria

The following tables show the amount of points a you can score for specific criteria. A score of 80 must be attained.


Bachelor's Master's PhD
30 points 35 points 40 points

Previous Earnings Like the current Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, points for previous earnings are calculated by converting non-sterling currency to Sterling, then the Sterling figure is converted to points, taking into account the relative difference in the level of earnings between countries.

In pounds per year Points scored
under £20,000 00
£25,000 - £29,999 05
£30,000 - £34,999 15
£35,000 - £39,999 20
£40,000 - £49,999 25
£50,000 - £54,999 30
£55,000 - £64,999 35
£65,000 - £74,999 40
£75,000 - £149,999 45
£150,000+ (80 plus qualifications not obligatory)


29 or under 30 to 34 35 to 39 Over 40
20 10 5 0

UK Experience
Previous Earnings or Qualifications gained in the UK 5 points

English Language Ability

To apply for a Tier 1 visa, you must show that you are proficient in English by proving one of the following:
  • That you have passed a test in English equivalent to level C1 of the Council of Europe's Common European Framework for Language Learning (equivalent to a grade C or better at GCSE or an approximate overall band score of 6.5 on an IELTS exam)
  • That you come from a country where English is the majority language. This includes Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the USA.
  • That you have taken a degree taught in English from a list of select countries, verified by using the National Academic Recognition Information Centre data. The countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, the USA. Note: Canada is NOT included in this list.
  • If your degree was earned in another country, information provided by UK NARIC can verify if the English-taught degree is acceptable enough to satisfy the English language requirement.

Successful proof of one of these criteria will earn you the required 10 points for the English language requirement.


You will be required to score ten points by proving that you can support yourself and any dependants.
Tier 1 Visa Maintenance Funds
Applying from within the UK Proof of £800 in a bank account at all times for three months prior to application
Applying from India Proof of £2800 in a bank account at all times for three months prior to application

Evidence showing this information can take the form of bank statements and must be original, on the official letter-headed paper or stationary of the organization, and bearing the official stamp of that organization. The statements must show your name, account number, date of the statement, the bank's name and logo, and transactions covering the three month period.

It can also take the form of an official letter from the bank, stating your name, account number, date, financial institution's name and logo, the funds currently in the your account, and that the required funds have been in the bank for at least 3 months and the balance has never gone below the threshold detailed in the table above. It is important that this information is explicitly stated in the letter.


If you wish to extend your stay in the UK under the General Highly Skilled Migrant sub-category, you will be required to score 75 points under the current points system in place at the time of your extension for further leave to remain, with a few small differences in how the 75 points are scored. However, the English language requirement (if you hold an HSMP visa granted after the 05 December 2006 changes came into effect) will be waived, and extra points for experience working in the UK can be achieved if you could not previously score these points.

Unlike a number of work permit and immigration companies we offer free initial consultations for Tier 1 (general) and HSMP extensions, all on a no obligation basis. We would only represent your application if we were satisfied the documentation was in line with Home Office / Border Agency regulations. Call us to get this done now! +44(0) 207 866 8170