A new points-based system (PBS) for UK immigration is being introduced during 2008 and 2009. Points are awarded to reflect the applicant's ability, experience, savings, age and other relevant factors. Employers or educational institutions will be given extra responsibility to ensure that their workers or students follow the rules of their visas, and will need to report to the Home Office the names of anyone who stops attending without permission or who is employed for more hours than are allowed.
The new visa system has five tiers:
Tier 1 - highly skilled (e.g. scientists or entrepreneurs, or post-study workers)
Tier 2 - skilled workers with a job offer (e.g. nurses, teachers, engineers) [this replaces the previous work permit schemes] [started on 27 Nov 2008]
Tier 3 - low skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages (e.g. construction workers for a particular project) [this tier is not available at present]
Tier 4 - students [points-based system to be introduced from 31 March 2009]
Tier 5 - youth mobility and temporary workers (e.g. working holiday makers or musicians coming to play a concert) [started on 27 Nov 2008]