Five Tier Points-Based System2018-05-22T14:42:51+00:00

Five Tier Points-Based System

Any students or workers looking to enter the UK are categorised by the UK Border Agency using the Five Tier Points-Based System.

With immigration law constantly changing, we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice if you have any questions about your immigration status or visa.

Oracle Solicitors experienced immigration specialists are here to advise you and help you through the process of applying for a visa so contact us today.

London: 020 3051 5060
Belfast: 028 9002 2371

To request a callback from a solicitor, please click here.

What is the Five Tier Points-Based System?

If you are a foreign national wanting to work or study in the UK but you are subject to immigration control, you must first apply for a UK visa. 

The UK Border Agency uses a five-tier points-based system with each tier divided into various categories for different types of work or study visa applications. 

Tier 1 is for high-value migrants, Tier 2 for skilled workers, Tier 3 for temporary unskilled workers, and Tier 4 for students and Tier 5 for temporary skilled or youth mobility workers.

Five Tier Points Based System


Under Tier 1 entrepreneurs and investors, highly skilled and exceptionally talented workers can apply to enter or remain in the UK without needing a job offer but must pass a points-based assessment. Tier 1 of the points-based system currently contains 5 categories:

  • Exceptional talent
  • Entrepreneur
  • Investor
  • General highly skilled workers
  • Graduate entrepreneur


Tier 2 skilled workers can apply to enter or remain in the UK with a job offer in the UK from a licensed sponsor, a valid certificate of sponsorship and by passing the points-based assessment (click here for Businesses & Sponsors). Tier 2 of the points-based system contains 4 categories of skilled worker:

  • General skilled workers
  • Sportspeople
  • Ministers of Religion
  • Intra-company transferred staff


Tier 3 of the points-based system is currently suspended preventing the employment of low-skilled workers from outside the EEA (European Economic Area).


Under Tier 4 students can apply to enter the UK as a child student between 4 and 17 years old, as an adult student over 18, alternatively as a child or student visitor. There are 4 categories to choose from:

  • Tier 4 (Child)
  • Tier 4 (General)
  • Child Visitors
  • Student Visitors


Under Tier 5 temporary skilled workers can apply to enter the UK for a short time although generally, they will need to be sponsored by an employer in the UK. There is 5 categories of temporary worker here, plus the youth mobility category (note, the youth mobility scheme is not an employment route):

  • Creative and sporting
  • Charity workers
  • Religious workers
  • Government authorised exchange
  • International agreement
  • Youth mobility scheme

If you currently have permission to stay in the UK you may be able to switch to or from your category and/or tier from inside the UK although this will involve a fresh points-based assessment.

Contact our dedicated immigration lawyers for legal advice today should you have any questions about visa applications.

London: 020 3051 5060
Belfast: 028 9002 2371

You can also request a callback by filling out the contact form below.






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