UK introduces Points Based System for Visa

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Mumbai, Apr 1: From today, highly skilled applicants from India seeking UK Visa will have to follow the new Points Based System (PBS) route, replacing the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. India is the first country where UK has introduced the PBS, a five-tier system, to manage migration for those wishing to enter UK for work and study. It is being introduced tier by tier, according to an official release from the British High Commission.

The British government is rolling out Tier one in India first. The roll out to the rest of the world will take place in summers. UK Immigration Minister Liam Byrne during his visit to India recently had said, ''We want India to come first because India is Britain's most important market for highly skilled migrants.'' Under the PBS, applicants will need sufficient points to qualify.

Points are awarded for objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience. British High Commissioner to India Sir Richard Stagg said in the release, ''The introduction of Tier one of the PBS is good for those wanting to work in Britain and good for the UK economy.

The new system allows those wanting to work in Britain to calculate, before they make their application, whether their points add up to entry as a highly skilled worker. It is also a quicker and more straight forward process. What was a two-stage application process now has only one stage - and the initial Visa will be granted for three years not two. The new System, therefore, facilitates the flow of people with the skills that the UK needs.'' The introduction of PBS takes place at a time of fundamental changes to the UK's immigration system. The changes included, in the first quarter of 2008, the completion of the global biometrics programme, the introduction of severe penalties for the employers of illegal workers in UK and the creation of a unified UK Border Agency.

In addition, as of April 1, applicants who use false documents or deception to try to get access to the UK would face bans on coming to that country for 10 years.

Tier one is the first of five tiers of the PBS to be rolled out over the next 12 months. Tier two, targeting skilled workers with a job offer and Tier five, for temporary workers would both come online in the third quarter of 2008. Tier four, for students, would follow in early 2009. Tier three, which covers low-skilled migration routes, would only be used if shortages are identified that cannot be filled from the UK or European labour force.


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