Immigration Employer visa / appeals

Tier 1 – Highly Skilled Worker Visa

Applications under Tier 1 include highly skilled migrants (replacing HSMP), entrepreneurs, investors, graduate students and their dependants.

The United Kingdom’s Tier 1 visa immigration scheme is part of the points based system for employment-based immigration.

Entering the UK with a Tier 1 visa means you do not need a job offer or a sponsor and you would be free to seek employment anywhere in the UK. These visas are valid for three years, at which stage you will have to renew your visa.

This Tier is divided into a few categories:

General Highly Skilled Migrants

For people who are highly educated and highly skilled and who can score enough points based on their qualifications, education, previous earnings, age and UK experience. This replaces the old Highly Skilled Migrant Visa (HSMP).

Graduates: Post-Study Work Visa

This category is designed to keep the brightest foreign students who have studied in the UK. It is simply there to bridge the gap between study and highly skilled or skilled work. If you are granted a visa under this category, the Home Office expects you to switch into another part of the points system as soon as you are able. You must apply for this category within 12 months of receiving your qualification and, if successful, you will be granted 2 years leave and it is non-renewable. This replaces the similar International Graduates Scheme.


Individuals who plan to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over a business, and being actively involved in running the business can come to the UK under and entrepreneur visa. At least £200,000 of disposable income is required to qualify.


Wealthy individuals who plan to substantially invest in the UK can qualify for the investor visa. At least £1m of disposable income is needed but investors are exempt from the English language requirement and do not need to prove they can support themselves and their dependants.


Migrants granted leave in the UK under Tier 1will be able to bring their dependants provided they can support them during their stay. Dependants include children, spouses, civil partners, same sex partners, and unmarried partners.

Dependants of migrants in the highly skilled Tier 1 will be able to work in the UK as well. However, they will not be able to switch into any points system tier other than as a dependant of the main applicant to switch.

The Points Based System

In each category of Tier 1, points will be earned according to qualifications, age, experience, English language ability and maintenence requirements.

Migrants will be required to reach the pass mark for each of the criteria above in order to gain entry under Tier 1 and to remain in the UK when seeking renewal of their Tier 1 visa after three years.

It is important to note that if your application is refused there is no right of appeal, therefore we highly recommend using one of our experienced immigration lawyers to ensure that your application has a greater chance of success.

If you wish to extend your stay under Tier 1, renewals are granted for two years. After five years, most people may apply for settlement/indefinite leave to remain.

There are certain requirements and restrictions when renewing a Tier 1 visa. Migrants must apply for the same sub-category under which they originally applied and score enough points again.