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Immigration

The Home Office's Points-Based System is the UK's immigration regime relating to those wishing to apply to gain initial admission into the UK and permission to remain for all forms of business and employment related immigration, as well as those who wish to study in the UK.

Gherson provides specialist advice and legal representation throughout the application process of the Points-Based System, both for applicants themselves and for the employers and education providers who sponsor them.

Gherson's experienced caseworkers and lawyers can also assist on the full range of applications, including visa applications, applications for British citizenship and legal challenges to unsuccessful applications.

The Points-Based System

Since its gradual introduction in 2008 and 2009, the Home Office's Points-Based System has replaced the previous range of immigration routes for those seeking to enter the United Kingdom for employment, to invest in the UK, to set up in business or to study in the UK, although many of the criteria which used to be applicable to those routes continue to operate for qualification under the new system. With a few exceptions entry under the Points-Based System leads to eligibility to apply for settlement and thereafter for UK nationality.

The Points-Based System is comprised of five "Tiers" which are as follows:

Tier 1

highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors and graduates

The only part of the regime which does not require applicants to be sponsored either by an employer or an education provider. It has six subcategories: Investor, Entrepreneur, Graduate Entrepreneur, Exceptional Talent, General(closed to new applicants) and Post-Study Work (also closed to new applicants).

Tier 2

sponsored skilled workers

For skilled workers sponsored by employers holding a Tier 2 sponsor licence issued by the Home Office to come to the UK either in order to fill a job for which no suitable employee is available from the resident labour market (Tier 2 (General) ), or for people already working for a company outside the European Economic Area who are required to join their employer's UK office on a temporary basis (Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) ). Additionally, Tier 2 has separate subcategories for Ministers of Religion and for Sportspeople.

Tier 4

students

For those wishing to study in the UK. Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) Students have to be sponsored by a college or a school (in the case of Tier 4 (Child) Students) which has been granted a Tier 4 sponsor licence by the Home Office.

Tier 5

temporary workers

Which has two subcategories: Tier 5 (Youth Mobility), enabling young people from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco and Taiwan to live and work in the UK for a period of two years, and Tier 5 (Temporary Workers), for those sponsored by licensed UK employers to come to the UK on a temporary basis.

Eligibility for entry under the Points-Based System is heralded as being genuinely objective. A key feature of this is the absence of any discretion exercisable by the Home Office's staff when considering applications for entry clearance and for leave to remain. To this end applicants must prove their entitlement to leave to enter or remain by the production of documents specified by the Secretary of State in guidance published on the Home Office's website. The Immigration Rules point out that if an application is not accompanied by these specified documents it will not meet the requirements of the Rules.

The requirements for eligibility under each Tier are subject to frequent variation. Keeping abreast of the law is therefore a fulltime occupation and there are many pitfalls for the unwary. Anyone making an application under the Points-Based System is strongly advised to obtain professional legal advice.