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UK Border Agency Statement of Intent on Points Based System Eligibility Criteria 060508 | Immigration Matters

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The finer details of the Tier 2, for skilled workers, of Points Based System are buried deep inside the colossal Home Office website.

Immigration Matters has reproduced the details for the benefit of its many thousands of reader worried about the effects of the new system on their status, as well has employers who could lose much needed valuable staff.


This page explains the planned eligibility criteria for Tier 2 – skilled worker in the points-based system.

The information is based on our statement of intent published on 6 May 2008. The information will be updated as the UK Border Agency continue to develop the policy over the next few months.

To be eligible to apply to come to the United Kingdom under Tier 2 – skilled workers need to have:

  • a job offer;
  • certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor; and
  • scored enough points to apply

Points assessment

Applicants will need to score a pass mark of 70 points from the three sets of criteria:

  • attributes;
  • English language skills; and
  • maintenance


Applicants must score at least 50 points in this category and can score points under three set of criteria:

  • sponsorship;
  • qualifications; and
  • prospective earnings
Resident labour market test

If your job is not on the shortage occupation list, your job offer will need to pass the resident labour market test. This test ensures that resident workers have had the opportunity to apply for the job before it is filled under Tier 2.


To apply under Tier 2 – skilled workers will require a valid certificate of sponsorship issued by one of our licensed sponsors. You can score up to 50 points for your certificate of sponsorship. More information about how sponsors can become licensed can be found in the employers and sponsors section.

In order to come to the United Kingdom under Tier 2 your potential employer will only issue a certificate of sponsorship if you:

  • are filling a vacancy that requires a worker with skills at NVQ level 3 or above;
  • will comply with the conditions of permission to stay and leave the UK when leave expires.

If you have a certificate of sponsorship for a job on a shortage occupation list you will be awarded 50 points.

If you have a certificate of sponsorship for a job not covered by the shortage occupation list, your job will have passed the resident labour market test and you will be awarded 30 points.


You can score up to 15 points for your qualifications. Points will be awarded in the following way:


Points awarded

No qualifications


NVQ level 3


Bachelors or Masters




Points will only be awarded for the highest level qualification you hold.

Prospective earnings

Applicants can score up to 20 points for your prospective earnings. Points will be awarded in the following way:

Prospective earning (£)

Points awarded

17,000 – 19,999


20,000 – 21,999


22,000 – 23,999


24,000 +



Applicants must score 10 points in this category by showing that you are able to support yourself while you are in the United Kingdom. To score these points you will need to show that you have £800 in savings that you will be able to use while in the United Kingdom. If you intend to bring dependants you will need to show you have a further £600 for each dependant.

English language skills

Applicants must score 10 points in this category by showing that you are able to speak English to a basic standard. This is a mandatory requirement. This will include an ability to understand and use familiar everyday expressions, basic phrases and be able to introduce yourself and others, and be able to answer basic personal questions about yourself. Guidance on language tests that will be accepted as evidence will be available on the website at a later date.

Applicants will need to show that you are competent in the English language by:

  • passing a test in English equivalent to the appropriate level;
  • coming from a majority English speaking country; or
  • having taken a degree taught in English (verified by national academic recognition information centre data NARIC).

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