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Brand New Points-Based-System

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

Since the lead up to Brexit, our Government has been focused on a key area, immigration. The Government has been looking at how our immigration system can attract "the best and the brightest". Something Mrs May (our former PM) was saying since she was the Home Secretary.

The response was a 'NEW' Points Based System ('PBS'). A system which draws yet again inspiration from the Australian System.

The first phase of the system will due to commence in January 2021. It will apply to foreign nationals and European nationals that have not been resident in the UK before 1 January 2021.

So what does the system look like?

Essentially, it's a slimmed down and tweaked version of what the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme and Tier 1 General system were.

Designated points are given for an offer of a job, skill level, language skills, etc.. A summary of the points table is detailed below:

A total of 70 Points is required to be eligible to apply.

So what changes will we see?

Good question! It seems to be the same as what we have before. Meet some arbitrary points in full, or you don't?

Well, there is some difference to the existing points-based system and for those that have recently read the MAC recommendations, key differences will be spotted.

There will be winners and losers to these changes and, in particular for those who have been entering the UK under Tier 2 ICT or Tier 5 routes.

Further guidance will likely to be provided in respect of how this system will work, but if we go by the points table above, we will probably shave off quite a few categories under the rules - in essences, shaving off accessibility for quite a lot of people.

Other Changes

Apart from the above, the Government has also announced that they will extend the pilot scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture to 10,000 places.

They have also confirmed that the Youth Mobility Scheme (#YMS) and Dependants ability to take up employment should not be altered.

For those that are hopeful for a lower-skilled route, this will not happen in any near future.


The Government's intent is ultimately to attract the best and the brightest and those they want to draw in the UK. Although best and brightest vs need is something the Government ought to be looking at.

Whilst the new points-based system appears to be workable, we can already see clear losers to the new system (and in fact, the evolving system that we have currently). In particular, genuine entrepreneurs who don't otherwise meet the stringent rules under the start-up and innovator visa route and those that are self-employed in the UK who currently utilise the Tier 2 / 5 routes.

Also the fact that the Home Office decide to provide no-route for lower skilled workers was definitely not something that we were expecting.

The fact that the preliminary unveil of a points based system that looks much of the previous HSMP / Tier 1 General system is somewhat laughable.

On a slightly different note, will the Government also overhaul other work-related routes outside the points-based system, for example, the Sole Representative route?

Time will only tell, but with the ambition for change (in any shape / form) with this current Government, everything seems possible.

Shores & Legal are experienced and expert immigration partners for your business and personal immigration requirements. If you wish to discuss your UK immigration requirements, contact us at +44 (0) 207 097 6778 or

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