Why has immigration to the UK changed?

 When the UK was an EU member, people from EU countries had an automatic right to work in the UK.

Taking control of immigration was one of the key themes of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum.

The new system for work visas is based on points.

The exception to this is Irish citizens, who are still able to live and work in the UK as part of the Common Travel Area.

How are points awarded?

To qualify for a visa, migrant workers who want to move to the UK will have to qualify for 70 points.

Having a job offer from an approved employer for a skilled job and being able to speak English will give 50 points.

The applicant can achieve the remaining 20 points if they are due to be paid at least £25,600 a year.

They can also gain extra points for having better qualifications (10 points for a relevant PhD, or 20 points for a PhD in science, technology, engineering or maths) or an offer of a job in which the UK has a shortage (20 points), even if it doesn’t pay as much money.

Certain jobs in health or education still merit 20 points even if the salary is less than £25,600. The applicant must be paid at least £20,480, and in line with set amounts for particular jobs in the UK’s four nations.

High Potential Individual

The High Potential Individual route will be open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university. There will be no job requirement and there will be an option to extend the visa and settle in the UK, unlike with the new Graduate route that launched on 1 July 2021. The government has said it will explore opportunities to expand this route to other categories of high potential.


The Scale-up route will be open to individuals with a high-skilled job offer from a qualifying scale-up and a required salary level. Individuals will be able to extend their visa and settle in the UK. They will also be able to switch jobs or employers. Scale-ups that can demonstrate an average revenue or employment growth rate of more than 20% over a three-year period and at least 10 employees at the start of the three-year period will be able to expediate their verification process to use this route.


The government has also announced plans to “revitalise” the Innovator route. The following changes have been set out in the UK Innovation Strategy:

  • the business eligibility criteria will be simplified so that applicants are required to demonstrate that their business venture has a high potential to grow and add value to the UK and is innovative.
  • a lighter touch endorsement process will be introduced for applicants whose business ideas are particularly advanced to match the best-in-class
  • international offers, with all applicants accepted on the Department for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme being automatically eligible.
  • there will no longer be a requirement to have at least £50,000 in investment funds where the endorsing body is satisfied that the applicant has sufficient funds to grow their business. the restriction on doing work outside of the applicant’s primary business will be removed.


What is the Skilled Worker Program?

The Skilled Worker Program has replaced the UK’s Tier 2 (General) work visa. Under the points-based immigration system, points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English and being paid a minimum salary. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.

  • Quick visa process
  • Spouse can work and earn
  • Free education for children


The UK Skilled Worker Program ‍

  1. Stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer
  2. 49,230+ employers on the list of approved UK employers
  3. Minimum salary threshold to be met
  4. 70 points needed to be able to apply
  5. Lower application fees and reduced salary requirement for occupations on Shortage Occupations List



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