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UK points

Jun 06, 2023

Updated 4 August 2020

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On 31 December 2020, at 11:00 PM, freedom of movement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) will end. This document sets out further detail on how our new immigration system will operate. At the heart of it will be the Points-Based Immigration System.

In February 2020, we published our Policy Statement on the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System. This set out how we would fulfil our commitment to the British public to take back control of our borders by ending free movement and introducing a single, global immigration system. The Points-Based System will cater for the most highly skilled workers, skilled workers, students and a range of other specialist work routes including routes for global leaders in their field and innovators.

This document builds on the Policy Statement by providing more detail to applicants, employers and educational institutions on the draft requirements and conditions underpinning the key immigration routes in the Points-Based System. The routes described in this document cover the main economic migration routes for those wishing to apply to work or study or set up a business in the UK. It also sets out our generous provisions for visitors. It is intended to give time to prepare ahead of some of these new routes opening later this year, in advance of ending free movement for EU citizens on 31 December[footnote 1].

Unless otherwise stated, these routes will be open by January 2021. For all other routes, such as family reunion, from January 2021 EU citizens (who do not qualify under EU Settlement Scheme or other routes protected by the Withdrawal Agreement) will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens. It is worth noting that beyond the main work and study route, most of the immigration routes will have the same requirements as they do now for non-EU citizens. EU citizens will need to get a visa for all activities other than short-term visits.

The Immigration Bill continues its passage through Parliament and will provide the legal basis for ending freedom of movement on 31 December. We will confirm the final details for the Points-Based System later this year via guidance for applicants, Immigration Rules and secondary legislation. This will also illustrate how we are simplifying these Rules. We intend to share draft Immigration Rules with stakeholders shortly to ensure clarity and understanding.

The implementation of the Points-Based System will be phased, with further details published in due course. For those wishing to come to the UK before 1 January 2021, nonEU citizens will apply to come to the UK as they do now, and EU citizens will continue to exercise their rights under the terms of the transition arrangements which allow for continuation of freedom of movement. EU citizens who arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and relevant family members, will be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under that scheme. More than 3.7 million applications have been made so far.

The Points-Based System will work in the interests of the whole of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We will maintain the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements between the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) after the end of the transition period.

The Points-Based System will be a fair system, because we will treat people from every part of the world equally. It will also reflect the careful consideration being given to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review produced by Wendy Williams.

We are determined to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation. That is why we established the Windrush Compensation Scheme, and recently launched the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group, to continue to support those affected.

The Home Secretary has accepted all the findings of the Wendy Williams Windrush Lessons Learned Review. We will be updating Parliament on how we will implement the recommendations.

Details of each immigration route throughout this document is accompanied by a table to provide an overview of its requirements, conditions and restrictions. If it says ‘yes’ next to a requirement, condition or restriction it means that it does apply. If it says ‘no’ it means it does not. The following explains what the key terms in the tables mean in the context of the immigration routes:

There are a number of immigration routes with an English language requirement forapplicants. This may be to support integration and/ or to demonstrate they have the Englishlanguage ability needed for that particular route. The level of English language abilityrequired is set as appropriate for each relevant route based on the Common EuropeanFramework of Reference for languages. See paragraphs 22-25 for more information.

This is a charge paid by a UK employer for each skilled migrant worker they employ throughthe Skilled Worker and Intra-Company Transfer routes. See the information in paragraph21.

This is a charge paid by the applicant up front for the duration of their stay. It gives themfree access to NHS services on broadly the same basis as British citizens. See theinformation in paragraph 13.

The majority of migrants coming to the UK from overseas must be able to demonstrate theyhave sufficient funds to support themselves and their families while in the UK. This is knownas the maintenance requirement. Further information on maintenance will be publishedalongside the Rules and guidance in the Autumn.

If biometrics are required, these are obtained as part of the application process set out inparagraphs 8-10.

If a route is capped, it means there is a limit on the number of migrants who can come to theUK on that route each year. If it is uncapped there is no limit.

Switching in this context refers to a migrant’s ability to stay in the UK on a differentimmigration route without needing to leave the UK and apply from overseas. Even if theanswer is ‘yes’, there will be some routes a migrant cannot switch from – for example, avisitor or short-term visa. For more information see paragraphs 27-29.

This is also known as indefinite leave to enter or remain and means a successful applicantcan stay in the UK without any immigration conditions or time restrictions. In the tables forspecific routes, if there is a ‘yes’ next to settlement then years that a migrant spends in theUK on the route can count towards the qualifying period for settlement. If there is a ‘no’ thismeans that any years spent in the UK on that route do not count towards the qualifyingperiod.

Dependants are the spouses, partners and children (under the age of 18) of migrants, andin some cases other family members can also be dependants. If the tables say ‘yes’ next todependants, it means applicants’ dependants are eligible to accompany or join them in theUK on the route. More information can be found in paragraph 26.

In most cases migrants are not eligible to access public funds, such as benefits, until theyobtain settlement, though there are some exceptions. Detail of what does and doesn’tconstitute public funds can be found on GOV.UK.

Supplementary work is when a migrant takes on employment in addition to their primarywork hours or study (upon which their permission to be in the UK is based). There are someroutes that do not allow supplementary work. For those routes that do, restrictions will applydepending on the route.

1. Underpinning the new system will be simplified rules and guidance. Over the years,the Immigration Rules, which set out the requirements a migrant must meet to come toor stay in the UK, have become long, complex and repetitive. The Law Commission’srecent review of the Rules identified principles under which they can be redrafted tomake them simpler and more accessible and fit for the future.

2. The Points-Based System will be streamlined and simplified, making the best use oftechnology and implementing the recommendations of the Law Commission.

3. As we replace freedom of movement with the Points-Based System, we remaincommitted to protecting individuals from modern slavery and exploitation by criminaltraffickers and unscrupulous employers.

4. The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which iscurrently before Parliament, clarifies the immigration status of Irish citizens andconfirms there will be no change to their rights to freely enter, live and work in the UKwithout requiring permission. There will continue to be no routine immigration controlson journeys from within the CTA to the UK, with no immigration controls whatsoeveron the Northern Ireland – Ireland land border. The Government will continue to workclosely with CTA partners to facilitate legitimate travel within the CTA while tacklingabuse of these arrangements.

5. EU and non-EU citizens wishing to come to and live in the UK from 1 January 2021will need to demonstrate their right to be in the UK and the entitlements they have. Allapplicants will receive written confirmation of their immigration status. EU citizens willadditionally be provided with secure access to their immigration status information viaan online service which they will be able to use to confirm their rights and to accessservices when necessary, instead of a physical status document.

6. EU and non-EU citizens who are entitled to work will be able to use an online serviceto demonstrate their right to work in the UK. This online service, which has been inoperation since January 2019, makes right to work checks simpler for employers, bymaking individual’s right to work information available in real time and removing theneed for physical document checks. This also allows the option for checks to beconducted remotely, for example via video call. A similar online right to rent service, which most individuals will be able to use, is planned for later this year, making right to rent checks easier for landlords.

7. All EU citizens coming to the UK for more than six months will be able to prove otherrights and entitlements via online services. Increasingly, when accessing publicservices such as benefits or healthcare, the Home Office will be able to confirm anindividual’s status to the service provider automatically through system to systemchecks, at the point at which the person seeks to access the public service.

8. From January 2021, most EU citizens will not need to attend a Visa Application Centre(VAC) to enrol their biometrics and will instead provide facial images using asmartphone self-enrolment application form. At this stage we will not be requiring EUcitizens to enrol their biometrics to visit the UK, but self-enrolment is part of our longerterm vision.

9. As with the EU Settlement Scheme, where we have started to deliver a fully onlineapplication process, non-EU citizens, and some EU citizens applying on specificroutes or who are unable to use the self-enrolment option, will need to attend theglobal network of VACs, or if they are applying in the UK the in-country equivalent, toprovide facial images and (in the case of non-EU citizens) fingerprint biometrics, whererequired.

10. Our long-term aim is that all visitors and migrants to the UK will provide their biometricfacial images and fingerprints under a single global immigration system. To maximisecustomer convenience and security, we will increasingly look to provide capabilities forbiometric self-enrolment, integrated within digital application processes for immigrationproducts. More information on self-enrolment and attending the VAC network or incountry equivalent is available on GOV.UK.

11. Application fees will continue to apply under the new system as they do now, and a listof current fees can be found on GOV.UK. They will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens.Annex A provides an indicative view of fees once the Immigration and Nationality (Fees)Regulations are updated to reflect the routes outlined in this document.

12. The Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on UK employers of skilled workers on thesame basis as now, except we intend to remove the current exemption for employers ofEU, EEA and Swiss citizens when we end free movement between the UK and the EU.

13. The Immigration Health Surcharge will continue to be paid by most overseas migrantscoming to the UK for more than six months and the Government remains committed toincreasing the amount payable to ensure cost recovery for use of NHS services. We willintroduce a new discounted rate for those under the age of 18. We are working toexempt frontline workers in the NHS and social care sector and wider health workersfrom the requirement to pay the Health Surcharge. Further details will be publishedshortly.

14. We recognise that employer sponsorship is a key determinant of labour market needs.For workers and students, sponsorship maintains a relationship between a recognisedUK employer or educational institution and a migrant to ensure that those who come onthe work and student routes are genuinely intending to work or study. Overall, thesponsorship system will form an integral part of the Points-Based System by supportingcompliance with our Immigration Rules.

15. A sponsorship requirement will apply to the Skilled Worker route, to the Health and CareVisa and to the student route, as well as to some specialised worker routes. Thisapplies to both EU and non-EU citizens who come on these routes. Although specificrequirements vary by route, for most work routes, sponsors must undergo checks todemonstrate they are a genuine business, are solvent, and that the roles they wish torecruit into are credible and meet the salary and skills requirements (if applicable).Sponsors must also pay a licence fee (and Immigration Skills Charge, where required)and ensure they act and behave in a way which is conducive to the wider public good.Senior personnel and key users of the service undergo criminality and other securitychecks. Educational institutions are also required to hold educational oversight from anappropriate body, meet an annual Basic Compliance Assessment and undergoadditional scrutiny where they wish to teach children.

16. As part of the Points-Based System, we are committed to delivering radical changes tothe sponsorship process, streamlining and simplifying it for users, and substantiallyreducing the time it takes to bring in a migrant. As a result of suspension of the cap andremoval of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), the time savings for employers willbe initially reduced by up to eight weeks compared to the current process. We intend tofurther reduce this through additional enhancements to the system beyond January2021.

17. As a first step towards reducing the burdens on employers and streamlining thesponsorship system, we will suspend the current cap on Tier 2 (General) visas (thecurrent route for skilled workers), which will result in there being no limit on the numbersof skilled workers who can come to the UK. This change alone will reduce the end-to-end process for sponsoring skilled workers by up to four weeks, demonstrating theGovernment’s commitment to simplifying the immigration system for employers.

18. To provide employers and prospective future sponsors with certainty we will continue toapply existing sponsorship controls to maintain high standards over whom we license tobring migrant workers to the UK. We aim to ensure that applications can be made underthe new route before the end of the transition period.

19. Existing Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) sponsors willautomatically be granted a new Skilled Worker licence or Intra-Company Transferlicence, with an expiry date consistent with their current licence, and receive anappropriate allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS).

20. Under the new Skilled Worker route there will be no requirement for employers toundertake a RLMT. This reform will remove at least four weeks from the end-to-endprocess for sponsoring skilled workers. However, sponsors must still be seeking to fill agenuine vacancy which meets the skill and salary thresholds of the new route. Rolescannot be created solely to facilitate immigration of a specific migrant to the UK.

21. Employers who sponsor non-EU migrant workers under Tier 2 (General) and (IntraCompany Transfer) will be required, as now, to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC),unless a specific exemption applies. Employers must pay £1,000 per skilled worker forthe first 12 months, with an additional £500 charge for each subsequent six-monthperiod. Under the Points-Based System we will apply the ISC to sponsoring employersin respect of both EU and non-EU migrant workers. Discounted rates of £364 persponsored worker per year will apply as they do now to charities and Small and MediumEnterprises.

22. The requirement for migrants to speak English language supports integration, ensuringmigrants can live and be part of the wider community in the UK. It also means migrantsmust demonstrate they have the ability required for the route and the role they arecoming to the UK for. The level of English language ability required is set as appropriatefor each relevant route based on the Common European Framework of Reference forlanguages. For example, students at degree level must demonstrate their ability at levelB2 (A-Level or equivalent) and skilled workers B1 (AS-Level or equivalent).

23. The ways an applicant can show they meet the English language requirement are:

24. In some routes there are additional ways of meeting the English language requirement. We will not make any changes to these route-specific provisions:

25. We will also extend the list of majority English speaking countries to include Ireland (soapplicants who are neither British nor Irish citizens and who have studied at Irishuniversities can rely on their qualifications to show they have met the English languagerequirement) and Malta.

26. Skilled workers and postgraduate students will continue to have the right to bringdependants. Dependants are spouses, partners[footnote 2] and children (below the age of 18 atpoint of entry)[footnote 3], and their application is linked to that of the main applicant. In generaldependants have near full access to the UK labour market and can work at any skilllevel. School age children accompanying a migrant are entitled to a state education.Dependants must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

27. Under the Points-Based System, we will allow most migrants to apply to switch fromone immigration route to another without having to leave the UK. This will supportemployers in retaining the talented staff that they have invested in.

28. However, there will be no relaxation of the qualifying criteria for the route beingswitched into. A migrant will still have to meet the requirements for that route. They willalso have to pay the same fees, relevant charges, and complete the same application.

29. There will be no right to switch in the UK for work or study for those on short-termroutes such as visitors and seasonal workers.

30. A robust and consistent approach to applying the UK criminality thresholds for therefusal of entry, permission to remain in the UK, deportation and exclusion, to EU andnon-EU citizens, will be taken as part of the Points-Based System.

31. Those seeking entry to the UK can be refused where they have:

32. Those already in the UK who are sentenced to 12 months or more in prison must beconsidered for deportation. Where the 12-month criminality deportation threshold is notmet, a foreign criminal will still be considered for deportation where it is conducive tothe public good, including where they have serious or persistent criminality.

33. For EU citizens who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or the UK’s domesticimplementation of the withdrawal agreements, the tougher UK criminality thresholdswill apply to conduct committed after the end of the transition period. The EU publicpolicy, public security or public health test will continue to apply to their conductcommitted before the end of the transition period.

34. We will ensure our enforcement system is fair, protects the public, upholds ourimmigration policies, and acts as a deterrent to those who might seek to frustratethose policies. Encouraging and supporting compliance will be at the heart of thePoints-Based System. Compliance with UK immigration laws and rules is an essentialpart of an immigration system which operates fairly, robustly and with integrity.

35. We will continue to set out clearly to those wishing to the come to the UK, and thoseseeking to remain in the UK, what is expected of them and the consequences of notcomplying with immigration laws and rules. Migrants are expected to observe theconditions of their permitted stay and not to remain beyond the period of their lawfulstatus. Those who breach our immigration laws and rules place themselves at risk ofexploitation by unscrupulous bodies such as organised crime groups and rogueemployers and landlords.

36. As set out in the Policy Statement published on 19 February, anyone coming to the UKfor work, including EU citizens, will need to demonstrate they meet a specific set ofrequirements for which they will score points. There is no overall cap on the numberwho can apply for this Skilled Worker route.

37. The applicant must meet the following mandatory criteria in addition to passing therelevant UK criminality checks:

38. Meeting the mandatory criteria above will earn the applicant 50 points; they mustobtain a further 20 “tradeable” points through a combination of points for their salary, ajob in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD.

39. If the applicant is paid the higher of the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the“going rate” for their particular job, they will get an extra 20 points.

40. There is scope to earn the required extra tradeable points if the applicant is paid lessthan the general threshold or the going rate, provided they are paid at least £20,480.That being the case, the applicant may earn points if they have a job offer in a specificshortage occupation (as recommended by the MAC) or a PhD qualification relevant tothe job.

41. There are also different minimum salary rules for workers in certain health oreducation jobs, and for “new entrants” at the start of their career. The salaryrequirement for new entrants will be 30% lower than the rate for experienced workersin any occupation. However, the minimum of £20,480 must always be met.

42. We will retain the ability to widen the number of attributes that will score tradeablepoints to enable us to meet the needs of the economy. However, the mandatoryrequirements will not be tradeable.

43. In the table below we show how someone who has at least 80% or 90% of the relevantsalary for their occupation (whether that is the £25,600 threshold or the going rate),and therefore scores 0 or 10 points for salary, could make up the points elsewhere byscoring points for another attribute, for instance, working in a shortage occupation orhaving a relevant PhD.

Table 1: Tradeable pointsNon-tradeable points (mandatory) – 50 required

Tradeable points (may only score from one entry from each of the two sections below) – 20 requiredSalary[footnote 4]:


The following case studies further illustrate how tradeable points can be applied.

Freya wants to come to the UK to undertake skilled work and has been offered a job as alab technician for a salary of £21,000. She meets all the mandatory criteria under thePoints-Based System, scoring 50 points.

The going rate for lab technicians is £18,200 and Freya’s salary is more than this.However, she does not score 20 points for her salary as it is below the general thresholdof £25,600. As Freya’s salary offer is £21,000, she does not score any points for hersalary. It is still above the minimum of £20,480, so she can still score 20 tradeable pointselsewhere to be eligible for a visa.

In this instance Freya does get the 20 extra points by having a relevant STEM PhD inbiochemistry.

The table below has been personalised to show how Freya has accumulated the requisite70 points.

Grand Total: 70

Richard wants to come to the UK to work and has been offered a job as a mechanicalengineer for a salary of £26,750. He meets all the mandatory criteria under the PointsBased System, scoring 50 points.

Richard’s salary is higher than the £25,600 general salary threshold; however, it is belowthe £33,400 going rate for mechanical engineers, so he does not score 20 points for hissalary. Richard’s salary is just above 80% of the going rate for his occupation,therefore while he scores no points from his salary, he is eligible to score 20 tradeablepoints elsewhere to be eligible for a visa. In this instance Richard scores the 20 extrapoints by having a job offer in a shortage occupation.

The table below is personalised to show how Richard has accumulated the requisite 70points.

Grand Total: 70

Louis wants to come to the UK to work and has been offered a job as a qualified primaryschool teacher in Wales for a salary of £24,906. He meets all the mandatory criteriaunder the Points-Based System, scoring 50 points.

Louis must now score a further 20 points to be eligible for the Skilled Worker route.His salary is below the general threshold of £25,600 but, as primary school teachers area listed education job and Louis’ salary meets the national pay scale in Wales (and isabove £20,480), he still scores 20 points for his salary, meeting the total requirement of70 points.

The table below has been personalised to show how Louis has accumulated therequisite 70 points.

Grand Total: 70

Evie is 26 years old and is in the UK, having studied a veterinary science degree at a UKuniversity and begun her career here under the Graduate route. She wants to carry onworking in the UK and has been offered a job as a veterinarian with a starting salary of£22,900. She meets all the mandatory criteria under the Points-Based System, scoring50 points.

Evie must now score a further 20 points to be eligible to switch into the Skilled Workerroute. She does not score any points for her salary, but it is above the minimum of£20,480. As Evie is switching from the Graduate route, she scores 20 points as a newentrant to the labour market. Her salary is below the usual minimum 80% of the £32,500going rate for her chosen profession, but it is higher than the 70% of the going raterequired for new entrants.

The table below has been personalised to show how Evie has accumulated the requisite70 points.

Grand Total: 70

44. Individuals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) who have a confirmed job offer,and whose employment will be sponsored by a UK employer who is Home Officelicensed, to work in specified occupations (at RQF3 or equivalent and above).

Table 2: Skilled Worker conditions and requirements

* Applicants are exempt from the requirement if they have a fully ‘A-rated’ sponsor whocan provide the maintenance cost if they need it. Sponsors must confirm this on theCertificate of Sponsorship. An A-rating is awarded when employers are first granted asponsor licence on the basis that they have systems in place to be able to meet theirsponsor duties. Employers will not be granted a licence if they are not able to achieve anA-rating.


45. These rates are based on the 25th percentile of earnings in the UK data drawn fromthe Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) which is updated annually by theOffice for National Statistics, normally at the end of October. The current rates for eachprofession can be found in Annex E. These rates (and any discounts to them fromscoring tradeable points elsewhere) do not absolve sponsors of their obligations under the National Minimum Wage Regulations, even if the stated going rate is lower. Skilled workers are entitled to the same minimum rates as other UK workers.

46. It is worth noting that the salary thresholds for some occupations may change betweennow and the new route being launched. The Rules and guidance will be based on thelatest available appropriate data at the time they are published.

47. On the advice of the MAC, national pay scales will be used to determine the going ratefor 24 health / education public service occupations. The list can be found in table 28(Annex E). The £25,600 general salary threshold will not be applied for this group;however, the minimum salary floor will be £20,480. This group will not have access totradeable points as they will not need other points to offset the £25,600 threshold. Wedo not consider it appropriate for sponsors to be offering salaries at less than thenational pay scales for these occupations.

48. There is one temporary exception to the minimum salary floor for nurses and midwiveswho can be paid a lower salary for up to the first eight months in the UK, before theyachieve their full UK registration as a nurse or midwife. After eight months, the nurseor midwife would need to be paid according to the national pay scales for a newlyregistered nurse or midwife.

49. The going rate ensures fair pay compared with resident workers and aims to preventmigrant workers being used as a source of cheap labour. As under the existingsystem, going rates for individual occupations can be pro-rated depending on theapplicant’s working pattern, as long as the total applicable general salary threshold(£25,600, £23,040 or £20,480) is met. The general threshold is a measure of theeconomic contribution an applicant will make to the UK. It applies regardless of thenumber of hours worked and will not be pro-rated.

50. Applicants will only be able to score points for having a PhD relevant to the job.Sponsors will need to decide and be able to justify whether an applicant’s PhD isrelevant to the job they are sponsoring them for and to advise whether it is a STEMPhD. We will withhold points if the sponsor’s explanation is clearly not credible. Pointscan only be awarded for academic PhDs.

51. In addition, applicants will only be able to score points for having a PhD when workingin certain occupations. A list of occupations which will, and will not, be able to claimPhD points will be kept under review. For the initial launch of the route, the list willcover:

52. The relevant occupations are listed in Annex B.

53. Those who enter the Skilled Worker route will need to make a new application if they(a) change employer; (b) change jobs (to another SOC code); or (c) need to extendtheir stay. Existing Tier 2 (General) migrants who need to do any of the above will alsoneed to make such an application under the Skilled Worker route once the Tier 2(General) route closes. The points table will apply to these further applications.

54. If the migrant has changed their employer and/or their job, there will be areassessment of whether their new post meets the required skill and salary level.PAYE records for all skilled workers will be regularly checked to confirm they are beingpaid the correct salary.

55. Applicants who scored points for English language at the required level in an earlierapplication will score those points automatically in a subsequent application. They willnot need to submit their qualification certificates again, but if their job has changed, wewill assess whether their qualification is relevant to their new job.

56. New entrants to the UK labour market are currently entitled to come to the UK on alower salary than their more experienced counterparts are required to earn. Theycurrently benefit from this reduced salary threshold for three years. Migrants will bedefined as new entrants under the Points-Based System if they meet one of thefollowing requirements:

57. Requirement c) is an addition to the existing new entrant requirements list and will beintroduced for the Points-Based System on the recommendation of the MAC. While postdoctoral positions are easily identified, we will use the following tests to identify those “working towards recognised professional qualifications”:

58. We will impose a floor on the reduced salary threshold for new entrants. The discountto the going rate for new entrants will be 30%, but the floor will mean that no migrantcan come if they earn less than £20,480. We will apply a 20% reduction to the generalthreshold, rather than a 30% reduction, as we do not consider skilled workers shouldbe sponsored at a salary of less than £20,480. Applying a 30% reduction to thegeneral threshold would mean, in many cases, the applicant would be paid less thanthe National Living Wage.

59. Beyond January 2021 and in line with the recommendations from the MAC, we willcreate a broader unsponsored route within the Points-Based System to run alongsidethe employer-led system. This will allow a smaller number of the most highly skilledworkers to come to the UK without a job offer. This route will not open on 1 January2021 and we are exploring proposals for this additional route with stakeholders overthe coming year. Our starting point is that this route would be capped and would becarefully monitored during the implementation phase. Further details will be shared indue course.

60. The Government welcomes the vital contributions which doctors, nurses and otherhealth professionals from overseas make to the National Health Service (NHS) andwider Health and Care Sector. The Health and Care Visa is part of the Skilled Workerroute. It will ensure individuals working in eligible health occupations with a job offerfrom the NHS, social care sector or employers and organisations which provideservices to the NHS, who have good working English, are incentivised to come to theUK.

61. There will be fast-track entry, with reduced application fees and dedicated supportregarding the application process, for eligible individuals to come to the UK with theirfamilies. Those who are eligible to apply for the Health and Care Visa, and theirdependents, will also be exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.Frontline workers in the health and social care sector who are not eligible for the newHealth and Care Visa will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, but will benefit from areimbursement scheme. Further detail will follow in due course.

62. Individuals of all nationalities who have a confirmed job offer, in one of the definedhealth professions, for a skilled role within the NHS, the social care sector or for NHScommissioned service providers.

63. The full list of professions, defined by Standard Occupational Classification codes,which would currently qualify for the Health and Care Visa can be found in Annex D.This list reflects the current skills threshold. The list of professions will be updated inline with the launch of the new Skilled Worker route and the expanded skills thresholdlater this year.

64. Although eligible applicants will benefit from reduced fees and an exemption from theImmigration Health Surcharge, both of which will extend to immediate family members,the main applicant must also meet requirements of the Skilled Worker route, includingthe relevant skill and salary thresholds.

65. The UK wants to attract the very best and brightest talent from around the world. On20 February 2020 we launched the Global Talent route, under the current system fornon-EU citizens, to improve the UK’s attractiveness to highly skilled individuals withspecialist skills. The route reformed and replaced Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and isdesigned to attract recognised global leaders, and the leaders of tomorrow in science,humanities, engineering, the arts (including film, fashion design and architecture) anddigital technology, enriching the UK’s knowledge, economy and society. Top scientistsand researchers are able to benefit from a quicker endorsement process as part of afast track STEM scheme.

66. The Government has announced it will set up a cross-departmental unit called theOffice for Talent. This will make it easier for leading global scientists, researchers andinnovators to come and live and work in the UK.

67. Applicants must be endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the HomeOffice. Individuals can apply to one of the following endorsing bodies who will verifytheir expertise before they can apply for a visa:

68. Once endorsed, subject to criminality and immigration checks, migrants are given ahighly flexible permission, enabling them to work for employers or be self-employed;change jobs without informing the Home Office; travel abroad and return to the UK forresearch purposes; and bring dependants with them. There is no limit on the numberof eligible individuals who can use the route.

69. This route will be open to both EU and non-EU citizens.

70. Individuals internationally recognised at both the highest level and as leaders in theirparticular field, or who have demonstrated promise and are likely to become leaders intheir particular area.

71. Science and research are at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. To facilitateaccess for top scientists and researchers, who will significantly enhance the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK, a fast-track endorsement process is available to EU and non-EU citizens. To benefit from this offer, individuals must be:

Table 3: Global Talent conditions and requirements


72. The Start-up and Innovator routes are designed to attract entrepreneurial talent andinnovative, scalable business ideas to the UK. Launched in March 2019 under thecurrent system for non-EU citizens, both routes are for individuals looking to set up aninnovative UK business. Start-up is for those setting up an innovative business for thefirst time, whilst Innovator is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000funding. Individuals require support from an Endorsing Body, before applying, whichmust have assessed the business idea as being innovative, viable and scalable. Theroutes are not capped, and the UK Government has been actively promoting theroutes to attract talented entrepreneurs.

73. The Start-up and Innovator routes enhance the UK’s visa offer to leading internationalbusiness talent and maintain our position as a top destination for innovation andentrepreneurs. In the future, we will continue to expand coverage of the existing routesto more sectors and businesses.

74. These routes will be open to both EU and non-EU citizens.

75. Applicants can be individuals or teams. The Start-up route is for those setting up abusiness for the first time, who need to work to support themselves while developingtheir business ideas. The Innovator route is for those with industry experience and atleast £50,000 funding, who can dedicate their working time to their business ventures,or those moving from Start-up who are progressing their business.

76. Each applicant for Start-up and Innovator must have the support of an approvedEndorsing Body. Endorsing Bodies are either Higher Education Providers or businessorganisations who have a track record of supporting UK based entrepreneurs and thesupport of a Government Department. Endorsing Bodies assess each application toensure it is innovative, viable and scalable, and are responsible for monitoring theprogress of the businesses they endorse.

77. To deliver and ensure an improved service to users the Home Office has partneredwith some of the UK’s leading business development experts. It is they, rather than theHome Office, who assess applicants’ business ideas.

Table 4: Start-up conditions and requirements

Table 5: Innovator conditions and requirements

78. We have a world-leading education sector and will continue to welcome talented andhigh potential students to our universities, further education and English languagecolleges, and independent schools. There will be no limit on the number ofinternational students who can come to the UK to study, and we will seek to increasethe number of international students in higher education as set out in the InternationalEducation Strategy published in March 2019.

79. We also want to ensure that we retain the brightest and the best students to continueto contribute to the UK post-study, which is why we are launching the Graduate routein Summer 2021 to allow those who have completed a degree at a UK HigherEducation Provider, that has a track record of compliance, to stay in the UK for twoyears (three years for PhD graduates) and work at any skill level, and to switch intowork routes if they find a suitable job.

80. The new Points-Based Student route will build on the current Tier 4 system, which isworking well. The core tenets of the Tier 4 route will remain: sponsorship at a licensedprovider, demonstration of English language ability and the ability of the student tosupport themselves in the UK.

81. However, the route will be improved, making it more streamlined for sponsoringinstitutions and their students, creating clearer pathways for students, and ensuring weremain competitive in a changing global market, particularly since the pace of changehas been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

82. Students will require a total of 70 points to be granted leave. Points are non-tradeableand will be awarded for meeting the requirements of the route as set out in the tablebelow.

Table 6: Student route points

83. Child Students will require a total of 70 points to be granted leave. Points are nontradeable and will be awarded for meeting the requirements of the route as set out inthe table below.

Table 7: Child Student route points

84. We will be extending the period of time in which a student can apply for permission tocome to the UK before the start of their course, from three to six months. We will alsobe removing the study time limit for students studying at a postgraduate level, althoughstudents will still be expected to be progressing academically in their studies whenmaking a further application in the UK. Students who meet eligibility requirements willbe able to make an in-country application for further leave regardless of their sponsoror level of study.

85. We recognise that students who have been studying in the UK after being grantedleave to enter as a student have already demonstrated an ability to supportthemselves and so we will not routinely request them to submit documentary evidenceof funds when making further applications to remain in the UK. We will also removethe requirement for students who are on a recognised Foundation Programme as adoctor or dentist in training, or who are employed as a Student Union SabbaticalOfficer to demonstrate funds.

86. Higher education providers with a track record of compliance will be able to make anoffer of study to students at degree level and above and carry out their ownassessment of those students’ academic ability. We will not routinely ask students toprovide academic qualifications with an application when their sponsor has made thisassessment.

87. Applicants who are citizens of certain countries considered to be low risk will benefitfrom reduced documentary requirements and EU countries will be added to this list.This list will be kept under regular review.

88. Sponsors will be required to monitor the academic engagement of their students, andthey will need to keep records of a student’s engagement. This requirement willreplace the current attendance monitoring duty for higher education providers.Sponsors who are a Higher Education Provider with track record will be able to selfassess academic and English language ability. Sponsors will need to record details ofhow any self-assessment of English language was made when offering a place ofstudy to a student.

89. The current Tier 4 Pilot Scheme will close as the new Student route opens. Thereduced documentary requirements and extended post-study leave period of the PilotScheme are being improved upon by the launch of the Graduate route in 2021 and ourchanges to maintenance and academic requirements.

90. There will continue to be separate child and adult Student routes, and thosesponsoring students will be required to have regard to the safeguarding of internationalstudents under 18 studying at their institution. In time, and following the launch of anew sponsorship system, we will consider diversifying further by splitting the adultroute into separate Higher Education and Further Education routes to accentuate thepathways.

91. Students with an unconditional offer from a sponsoring institution, who candemonstrate they genuinely intend to study and can meet all the relevant requirementsof the route.

Table 8: Student route conditions and requirements


Able to bring dependants if studying at postgraduate level for at least nine months at a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance, or if government sponsored to study a course longer than six months.

Applicants must:

No switching of sponsoring institution is allowed without making a new application.

Students can apply for further leave as a Student or switch into other routes in line withthe wider approach to switching when applying for leave inside the UK. This will includethe ability to switch into work routes if they are able to meet the requirements.Whether supplementary work is allowed depends on the level of study and sponsoringinstitution. Separate restrictions apply regarding what type of employment is permitted.For example, students are not allowed to be employed as a professional sportsperson, a doctor or dentist in training or as an entertainer. Additionally, they cannot be selfemployed or engage in business activity.Students can generally only study at their sponsoring institution on the course for whichthe CAS was assigned.

Generally given a four-month ‘wrap up’ period post-study (varies with length of course).

Table 9: Child Student route conditions and requirements


A child student must:

92. Sponsors:

93. The Graduate route will be launched in summer 2021 to provide international studentsthe opportunity to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they graduate.Undergraduate and master’s degree students will be able to stay for two years underthe route, whilst PhD students will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will beable to switch into other routes in line with the wider approach to switching whenapplying for leave inside the UK. This will include the ability to switch into work routesif they are able to meet the requirements. The Graduate route will also increase theattractiveness of the UK’s offer to international students, ensuring we remaininternationally competitive and assist in our ambition to increase the number ofinternational students in higher education as set out in the International EducationStrategy published in March 2019.

94. It will be an unsponsored route. All successful applicants will be granted a one-timenon-extendable leave period of two years if graduating at undergraduate or masterslevel, or three years if graduating with a PhD, on this route and will be able to work, orlook for work, at any skill level during this period. The route will also be Points-Based,with the full number of points being awarded for the successful completion of a degreefrom a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.

95. The current Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), open to international students whohave completed a PhD in the UK and allowing them to remain and work here for 12months after completing their studies, will be closed at the point the new GraduateRoute is introduced. The Graduate route significantly improves on the offer of theDES, providing an additional two years and a more streamlined pathway for those whohave completed their PhD than the current route.

96. The Graduate route will be open to international students, who have valid leave as aTier 4 (General) Student or as a Student at the time of application and who havesuccessfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK HigherEducation Provider with a track record of compliance during that grant of leave.

97. Applicants must have completed the entirety of their degree in the UK except forpermitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessarydue to Covid-19.

98. The route will not have a maintenance requirement and applicants will not need todemonstrate English language ability as they will already have proved Englishlanguage ability by successfully completing a degree at a UK university. Applicants willneed to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the usual rate for the Points-BasedSystem’s routes. This route will not have recourse to public funds.

Table 10: Graduate route conditions and requirements


*Graduates whose dependants are already with them in the UK will be allowed tocontinue sponsoring family members who make an application for further leave at thesame time.

Applicants must:

Supplementary study is allowed, but not at a Student route sponsor.

Separate restrictions will apply regarding what type of employment is permitted.Graduates on this route will continue to be restricted from being employed as aprofessional sportsperson or as a doctor or dentist in training.

99. At the end of the transition period free movement will end and EU citizens will comewithin the scope of the new immigration system. We want to ensure legitimatetravellers who support our economy and enrich society and culture can continue tocome to the UK smoothly in the future.

100. Visitors can, in most cases, come to the UK for up to six months. A visitor may enterthe UK multiple times during that period, but they may not in effect live in the UK bymeans of repeat or continuous visits. They may not work or access public funds.Currently they may not study for more than 30 days.

101. The UK’s visitor rules already permit a wide range of activities, in addition to tourismand seeing family, that visitors can undertake. Business people can come to the UKfor meetings and to negotiate and sign business contracts; leading academics canpresent their latest research; or scientists, for example, can share their knowledge withcolleagues on international projects. People employed overseas can come andsupport companies who have bought goods from their company or to collaborate witha UK business which is supplying their employer overseas. More detail can currentlybe found in Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. We will continue to engage withstakeholders to further understand how the visitor rules can be improved andsimplified.

102. Anyone can apply to visit the UK. They must either apply for a visa before arrival orseek leave to enter at the UK border. Visa nationals (those who are citizens ofcountries listed in Appendix 2 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules) can applyanywhere outside the UK. Non-visa nationals (citizens of countries not listed) canapply at the UK border. The Government has already said that its intention is forcitizens of the EU and Switzerland to not require visas to visit the UK.

Table 11: Visitor conditions and requirements


*Only for visa nationals

**Unless you are in the UK doing activities as an entrepreneur you cannot switch frombeing a visitor into other routes.

***Visitors must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visitwithout working or accessing public funds.

103. We will permit study of up to six months under the standard visit route. All nonrecreational study must be undertaken at an accredited institution. Recreationalcourses undertaken for leisure, that last no longer than 30 days and which do not leadto any formal qualifications, will not need to be undertaken at an accredited institution.

104. We will keep the six to 11-month short-term English language study route open. Thisroute is distinct from both the main student route and the main short-term study routeand requires applicants of all nationalities to obtain an entry clearance in advance oftravel. It is specifically for people taking English language courses, does not requiresponsorship and does not permit work.

105. The purpose of arrangements for intra-company transfers and graduate trainees is toaccommodate temporary moves by key business personnel, enabling multi-nationalcompanies to move their workers between subsidiary branches. These arrangementssupport inward trade and investment and give effect to commitments that the UK hastaken in free trade agreements in respect of such workers.

106. The route will require applicants to be in roles skilled to RQF6, and subject to adifferent minimum salary threshold from the main Skilled Worker route. It will not besubject to English language requirements but will be subject to a requirement that theworker has been employed by the sending business for a minimum period prior to thetransfer (12 months in the case of intra-company transfers or three months in the caseof intra-company graduate trainees).

107. The route will not provide an avenue to settlement. Those admitted on the route will,however, be permitted to switch into the Skilled Worker route whilst still in the UK ifthey meet the qualifying requirements for that route.

108. We will also adjust the existing “cooling off” rules as they apply to intra-companytransfers to ensure the future system makes more flexible provision for shorter-termassignments. We plan to replace the existing rules with a rule that more simplyrequires that an overseas intra-company transfer must not hold entry clearance orleave to enter or remain as an intra-company transferee for more than five years inany six-year period, except where they qualify to be granted up to nine years on thebasis of their salary.

109. Subject to sponsorship requirements being met, existing skilled employees of thesending business, where they are being transferred to the UK branch or subsidiary ofthat business.

Table 12: Intra-Company Transfers and Intra-Company Graduate Trainees conditions andrequirements

Additional requirements:

Applicant must:

Employment restricted to role specified on Certificate of Sponsorship

Entry for 12 months for graduate trainee and five years for company transfer (nine yearsfor higher paid roles)

110. The UK Government is committed to facilitating cultural exchange and providingopportunities for young people. The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is a temporaryroute which exists to provide young people, from participating countries, with anopportunity to experience life in the UK, enabling them to work and travel for up to twoyears. The YMS is a reciprocal scheme, with its terms negotiated and agreed betweenthe two countries, which enables young British citizens to benefit from similaropportunities overseas.

111. The UK currently operates eight YMS arrangements with Australia, Canada, Japan,Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. The UK remainsopen to concluding further YMS agreements with other countries and territories.

112. Individuals who are aged between 18 and 30 at the time of application, who have£1,890 in savings and who are citizens of countries or republics listed in Appendix G ofthe Immigration Rules or are a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas TerritoriesCitizen or British National (Overseas).

Table 13: Youth Mobility Scheme conditions and requirements


113. The current system for sports provides both temporary and long-term arrangementsfor professional sportspeople participating in sport in the UK.

114. Sports Governing Bodies (SGBs) will continue to issue and operate an endorsementprocess for applicants, ensuring playing opportunities for resident sportspeople andyouth development are protected. Such endorsements will be based on objectivesporting criteria which are published on each SGB’s website, ensuring fulltransparency.

115. In line with our current arrangements for sports, sportspeople seeking to come to theUK on a temporary basis – 12 months or less – will not be subject to an Englishlanguage requirement. Those sportspeople seeking to either come for longer periods,or to settle in the UK, will be subject to an English language requirement, maintainingalignment to the Skilled Worker route. Accordingly, calculation of time periods on anyroute to settlement under this route will only begin once a migrant has demonstratedthe requisite English language requirement.

116. Internationally recognised sportspeople of all nationalities. They must have aconfirmed job offer, an endorsement from the relevant SGB, and their employmentmust be sponsored by a UK employer who is licenced by the Home Office.

117. Sportspeople are permitted to move on loan to another club, but if they decide to movepermanently, they will need to apply for a new Governing Body Endorsement with theirnew club.

Table 14: Sportsperson (temporary leave) conditions and requirements

Table 15: Sportsperson (long-term leave) conditions and requirements

*A sportsperson remaining in the UK for more than a 24-month continuous period, mustdemonstrate a knowledge of English equivalent to level A1 or above of the Council ofEurope’s Common European Framework for Language Learning; or have an academicqualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as beingequivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.

Additional: Sportspeople can apply for indefinite leave to remain after completing five-yearscontinuous residence in the UK and demonstrating the relevant knowledge of the Englishlanguage.

Both temporary and long-term leave visa holders:

118. Artists, entertainers and musicians contribute to the UK’s rich cultural life. The UK is,and will continue to be, an attractive destination for top international talent in thesefields. This route is for applicants in the creative industry who are entering the UK forshort-term contracts/engagements for up to 12-months.

119. Applicants in the creative industries will also have the option to come to the UK asvisitors. The existing rules for visitors allow artists, entertainers and musicians toperform in the UK, including being paid for their participation in certain events. We willcontinue to work with the creative sector to reform and simplify the offer for creativescoming to the UK on short-term trips.

120. Individuals of all nationalities who have a confirmed job offer, and whose employmentwill be sponsored by a UK employer who is Home Office licensed, to work in anoccupation in a creative industry.

Table 16: Creative route conditions and requirements

*Before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship, a sponsor must ensure they comply withtheir relevant Code of Practice (as per Appendix J of the Immigration Rules) for theoccupation (where one exists). Where there is no Code of Practice, the sponsor/employermust be satisfied the migrant worker has the unique attributes and skills to fill the postand they are ‘internationally recognised/established’ in their field.

The applicant:

Applicants can undertake supplementary work at the same level as primary employment,undertake a job on the Shortage Occupation List, or study up to 15 hours per week

The current Creative and Sporting concession, allowing creative workers who are non-visanationals with a valid certificate of sponsorship, to enter the UK to work for up to a maximumperiod of three months without prior entry clearance, will remain.Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage exemptions apply to someschemes, e.g. Erasmus).

121. A route for applicants who want to enter the UK to undertake unpaid voluntary work fora registered UK charity, advancing the charity’s primary purpose.

122. Individuals of all nationalities who wish to work voluntarily for a registered UK charityfor up to a maximum period of 12-months.

Table 17: Charity route conditions and requirements

123. There are two dedicated routes for religious institutions who wish to recruit fromoverseas. Ministers of Religion is a longer-term visa for those playing a leading role asfaith leaders, leading congregations and preaching the essentials of the creed.Religious Worker is a temporary, short-term visa, providing for those undertaking nonpastoral roles, supporting the activities of religious institutions.

124. Existing provisions are balanced to meet the needs of those institutions and to ensurethat those who come to the UK can integrate with the wider communities in which theylive.

125. Individuals of all nationalities who wish to play leading roles as either faith leaders(longer-term), or religious workers (temporary) filling short-term non-pastoralplacements in a religious institution.

Table 18: Ministers of Religion conditions and requirements


Table 19: Religious Workers (shorter-term) conditions and requirements


126. The UK Government is committed to facilitating international collaboration, culturalexchange and the sharing of best practice. Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)is a temporary work route that is aligned to UK growth and international developmentobjectives. GAE schemes enable migrants to come to the UK to undertake trainingand work experience. The GAE route cannot be used to fill vacancies, all placementsmust be supernumerary.

127. Under the current non-EU system, there are 60 approved GAE schemes covering awider range of sectors. There will be further consideration given to consolidating thecurrent schemes.

128. Any migrant, subject to immigration and criminality checks who is sponsored by anemployer who is an approved scheme owner.

Table 20: Government Authorised Exchange conditions and requirements

*Exceptions do apply for those who:

Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

129. This is a specialist route for those coming, under contract, to provide a service covered by international law. It includes:

130. The UK’s obligation to maintain visa arrangements required by international law, willcontinue after we leave the EU. However, the route will be reviewed in future to makeimprovements to its current form. The distinction between arrangements arising frominternational agreements and our obligations under the Vienna Convention onDiplomatic Relations will be made clearer.

131. Applicable to both EU and non-EU citizens.

Table 21: International Agreement conditions and requirements


132. The UK Ancestry route allows Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born grandparent tocome and live and work in the UK. The migrant will be able to come to the UK for fiveyears and do any kind of work (including self-employment), at any skill level. Holderscan apply to settle permanently in the UK after five years’ continuous residence.

133. Applicants must be Commonwealth citizens and be able to prove that one of theirgrandparents was born in the UK or Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man).

134. In addition, applicants must meet the other eligibility requirements below.

Table 22: UK Ancestry conditions and requirements

Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage (exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

135. Applicants do not need a job offer to come to the UK in this category, but must show they are able and intend to work. They can do any kind of work (including selfemployment) at any skill level. The work does not have to be with a licensed sponsor.

136. UK Ancestry visas are valid for five years, at the end of which holders can apply to settle permanently in the UK or extend their visa for a further five years.

137. English language is not required for an initial visa, but applicants must meet an English language requirement and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test to qualify for settlement.

138. This document covers the draft requirements for the main work and study routesopening later this year. It will be followed by the final arrangements in the ImmigrationRules and guidance for applicants. For all other routes, including the family route, fromJanuary 2021 EU citizens and their family members (who do not qualify under EUSS)will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens.

139. The Points-Based System is being implemented in phases to ensure smooth deliveryand allow sufficient time for everyone to adapt.

140. There are also other immigration routes beyond those outlined in this document, including:

Seasonal Workers pilot for agriculture: Further information has not been includedon the Seasonal Workers pilot, as it will conclude at the end of 2020. The pilot will befully reviewed, with a decision on whether it will continue under the Points-BasedSystem being made later this year.

Overseas Domestic Workers: This route allows a domestic worker in a privatehousehold, that has worked for their employer for at least one-year (for examplenannies or those providing personal care for the employer and their family), to visitthe UK with their employer for up to six-months.

141. The UK Government is deeply concerned by China’s imposition of a national securitylaw on Hong Kong that restricts the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong inbreach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. We have a historic and moral obligation toBritish Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong who elected to retain their ties to the UK,and we will honour our commitment to them. We will introduce a new immigrationroute for British Nationals (Overseas) and their immediate family dependents who areusually resident in Hong Kong, allowing them to live and work in the UK and providinga pathway to citizenship.

142. As part of the Points-Based System, we will implement a suite of changes allowing usto strengthen the security of our border. Our future border system will protect thepublic and enhance prosperity. Investment in border processes, biometrics andtechnology will result in a border that operates with a fully digital end-to-end customerjourney, improving both security and the passage of legitimate travellers through theborder.

143. As part of a phased programme to 2025, we will introduce a universal ‘permission totravel’ requirement which will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (exceptBritish and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel to facilitate thepassage of legitimate travellers whilst keeping threats away from the UK border. Wewill introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengerstransiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who donot already have an immigration status prior to travelling. Our ETA system will requireapplicants to undertake a light-touch application process, which will allow securitychecks to be conducted and more informed decisions taken on information obtained atan earlier stage, as to whether individuals should be allowed to travel to the UK. Thiswill act as their permission to travel.

144. For British and Irish citizens, who do not require leave to enter the UK, theirpermission will be demonstrated by their passport. Irish citizens will not normallyrequire permission and there will be no change to the arrangements for the CommonTravel Area. For those coming to either work or study in the UK or as visa nationalvisitors, their permission will be their visa, which we will develop into a digital statusrecord. We aim to make the visa a digital document to replace the paper one.

145. At the border, a passport will be required to demonstrate identity. During 2021, EUcitizens (other than those with protected rights under the Withdrawal Agreement) willhave to use a passport rather than a national ID card to cross the border. We willannounce further details on changes to border control procedures affecting EU citizensin due course, following the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

Fees stated are correct as of July 2020. Fees are kept under review and may be subject to change. View UK visa fees.

Table 23: Application fees

*Only for Visa Nationals. Further information on different visit visa fees can be found onGOV.UK.

Fees for sponsorship (licences and certificates) will continue to apply in the same way asthey do now. Fees for a sponsor licence depends on size of company and the route theyapply under. For example, under the Skilled Worker route, for small and charitableorganisations the fee is £536; for medium or large business the fee is £1,476. Furtherinformation can be found on GOV.UK.

Further details of fees for the Health and Care Visa, Graduate Route and Sporting routeswill be available in due course. View UK visa fees.

Jobs in the Skilled Worker route are grouped into occupation codes. Employers wishing tosponsor a Skilled Worker will need to select the occupation code which most accuratelyreflects the job they are offering. It is the duties and responsibilities of the job, rather thanthe exact job title, which are most important when making this match.

These occupation codes are taken from the SOC 2010 system, developed by the Office forNational Statistics (ONS). The system is designed to cover all types of paid jobs in the UKeconomy. In the Skilled Worker route, we use the 4-digit SOC codes in SOC 2010. We willconsider moving towards the newer SOC 2020 system when more data for this systembecome available.

If a sponsor is unsure which occupation code a job falls in, they should use the ONS’soccupation coding tool. This allows them to search by job title, providing the most likelyoptions.

Once the tool has identified possible occupation codes, sponsors should read thedescriptions for these to identify the correct SOC code for the job they are offering. Thesecan be found in the ONS’s detailed guides:

Volume 1 describes the typical job tasks and common job titles in each occupation code,helping to match job titles and duties with the relevant code.

Volume 2 is an alphabetical index of job titles, as an alternative to the coding tool to helpfind the relevant occupation code for a particular job title.

Having identified the most relevant occupation code, the sponsor must check whether it iseligible under the Skilled Worker route. If the occupation code is listed in Table 27 or 28 ofthis document, it is eligible. If it is listed in Table 31, it is not eligible. We will not distinguishbetween types of jobs within an individual occupation code – if the occupation code isincluded in Table 27 or 28, all jobs in that code are eligible.

Sponsors should, however, take care to choose the correct code as some closely relatedjobs have more than one occupation code. For example, chefs (code 5434) may besponsored as Skilled Workers, but cooks (code 5435) cannot. If in doubt, sponsors shouldrefer to the ONS sources above.

For the initial launch of the Skilled Worker route this is the list of occupations which will beable to claim PhD points. It will be kept under review.

Table 24: Occupations in the top skill level of the SOC code system

Additional STEM jobs which involve research or technical knowledge:

Table 25: Health/education public service occupations where national pay scales will be used to determine the going rate

The full list of professions, defined by Standard Occupational Classification code, whichwould currently qualify for the Health and Care Visa. This list reflects the current skillsthreshold. The list of professions will be updated in line with the launch of the new SkilledWorkers route and the expanded skills threshold later this year.

Table 26: Professions that currently qualify for the Health and Care Visa

Table 27: Eligible occupations where going rates are based on Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data

Table 28: Eligible health and education occupations where going rates are based on nationalpay scales

Going rates in this table are based on a 37.5-hour week. They must be pro-rated accordingly for other working patterns.

Table 29: Going rates for listed healthcare occupations by administration and band

Going rates in this table are based on the definition of a full-time teacher used whendetermining these pay scales. They must be pro-rated accordingly for other workingpatterns.

Table 30: Going rates for listed education occupations by administration and role

These occupations cannot be sponsored under the Skilled Worker route for variousreasons, including:

Table 31: Occupations not eligible for the Skilled Worker route

In most cases, references throughout this document to citizens of the European Union also relate to citizens of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. ↩

This includes a spouse but also a civil partner or what is known as a ‘durable’ partner where a couple are living in a quasi-spousal relationship. ↩

Unless over 16 and already living an independent life. ↩

Employers and applicants must use whichever salary is higher out of the general salary threshold or going rate. ↩

According to the official guidance published by the Office for National Statistics, the top skill level comprises “what are termed ‘professional’ occupations and high-level managerial positions in corporate enterprises or national/local government. Occupations at this level normally require a degree or equivalent period of relevant work experience”. ↩

Going rates must be pro-rated for other working patterns, based on the weekly working hours stated by the applicant’s sponsor. ↩

For Skilled Worker purposes, occupation code 2119 includes researchers in research organisations other than universities. ↩