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Categories of Migrant -Immigration by Category: Workers, Students, Family Members, Asylum Applicants

Categories of Migrants | Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visas

The introduction of the Points Based System by the UK Home Office have simplified and created categories for businesses, organisations and educational providers. In this section, there will be a brief summary of each category:

Tier 2 - Skilled Worker

The Skilled Worker Category (Tier 2 General) is for people coming to the United Kingdom with a skilled job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker unless working through the exemption requirements.

The job must be at S/NVQ level 6 or above (unless they are part of the transitional arrangements), and the migrant must earn the appropriate salary or another package of remuneration appropriate for the job in the United Kingdom.

Tier 2 - Intra-Company Transfer

The Intra-Company Transfer Category is for migrants who have been working for multinational companies and are being transferred by their overseas employer to a skilled post in a related United Kingdom entity. The migrant must have been working for the overseas employer for at least six months directly before the transfer.

If you want to register to employ intra-company transferees, all of the branches (or entities) given in your application must be linked by common ownership or control and you will have to provide evidence to prove this. Because of the specific nature of these transfers, you do not have to meet the resident labour market test.

Tier 2 - Sports Person

The Tier 2 - Sports Person Category is for elite sports people and coaches:

  • who are internationally established at the highest level; and 

  • whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the United Kingdom; and

  • who intend to base themselves in the United Kingdom.

Migrants under this category must be sponsored by a club (or equivalent) that is licensed by The Home Office to issue certificates of sponsorship under this category.

Tier 2 - Ministers of Religion

The minister of religion category is for people coming to the United Kingdom to work in a job as religious workers within a genuine (bona fide) religious organisation for up to three years.

Categories of Temporary Workers

This section explains the different categories of temporary worker that you can apply to sponsor under Tier 5.

Tier 5 - Creative and Sporting 

This category is for migrants who want to come to the United Kingdom to work as sports people for up to 12 months, or to perform as entertainers or creative artists for up to 24 months.

It does not cover people who currently enter the United Kingdom under the permit-free concessions for entertainers (including permit-free festivals) and sports people. These concessions have been brought within the immigration rules (outside the points-based system) under the revised visitor categories.

Tier 5 - Charity Worker

Migrants coming to work temporarily in the United Kingdom as charity workers should do only voluntary activate and not paid work. They should intend to carry out work directly related to the purpose of your organisation. Migrants entering the United Kingdom under the charity workers category will be given a maximum of 12 months' permission to stay.

Tier 5 - Religious Worker

The religious worker category is for people coming to the United Kingdom to work temporarily. Religious workers can:

  • do the preaching, pastoral work and non-pastoral work;

  • work in the United Kingdom in the same way that they are working in an overseas organisation (although their duties in the United Kingdom may be different) - the job should be done in their holiday from their job overseas; or

  • work in a religious order with a community which involves a permanent commitment, such as a monastery or convent. The work in a religious order must be in the order itself or be outside work directed by the order. A migrant can apply if he or she is a novice whose training means taking part in the daily community life of the order.

Tier 5 - Government Authorised Exchange

The government authorised exchange category is for people coming to the United Kingdom through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice. This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the United Kingdom. Migrants entering the United Kingdom under the government authorised exchange category will be given a maximum of 24 months' permission to stay.

Tier 5 - International Agreement

This category is for migrants who are coming to the United Kingdom under contract to provide a service that is covered under international law, including:

  • the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);

  • similar agreements between the United Kingdom and another country;

  • employees of overseas governments and international organisations; and

  • private servants in diplomatic households.

Migrants in the GATS and similar agreements between the United Kingdom and another country can come for up to a maximum of 24 months. Employees of overseas governments and international organisations can come for an initial maximum of 24 months. They then have the option to apply from inside the United Kingdom for an extension for periods of 12 months at a time, up to a total maximum of 72 months.

Tier 5 - Youth Mobility Scheme

Sponsors under the youth mobility scheme are the national governments of the participating countries. The youth mobility scheme is for young people from participating countries who would like to experience life in the United Kingdom. Sponsored young people from participating countries will be allowed to come to the United Kingdom for up to two years, while young United Kingdom nationals enjoy similar opportunities in participating countries. 

These young people will be free to do whatever work they like during their stay in the United Kingdom, except for setting up their own business, playing the professional sport or working as a doctor in training.

Categories of Student

This section covers the different categories of student that you can apply to sponsor under the Tier 4 of the points-based system.

Tier 4 (General) Student

This category (also referred to as 'adult students') is for people who want to come to the United Kingdom for their post -16 education. Students aged 16 or 17 are advised to apply as general students if they want to take a course at or above National Qualification Framework level 3 (or equivalent) lasting more than two years. Students aged 16 or 17 must apply as general students if they want to study for an English language qualification at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level A2 or above.

Tier 4 - Child

This category is for children between 4 and 17 years old. Children between 4 and 15 years old will only qualify as child students if they are coming to the United Kingdom to be educated at independent fee-paying schools. Students aged 16 or 17 must apply as child students if they want to take a course below National Qualification Framework level 3.

Categories outside the points-based system

The 'prospective student' and 'student visitor' routes remain outside the points-based system.

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