The current visa structure for UK uses tiers to determine which form of visa you will take. Each tier will have separate requirements which mean different documentations before the applicant is approved for a visa. These requirements will have corresponding points on the current immigration system in the UK. Each tier has different points required before you are granted entry in the country with the specific visa at hand.
Tier 1 Visa
Tier 1 visa used to be the HSMP or the Highly Skilled Migrant Program. Now with the points based system, this form of visa is offered to highly skilled workers that could reach the required points. The tier 1 visa is divided into four categories:
• General Visa
• Post Study Work
Except for the Post Study Work visa, these visas could be renewed after its expiration. Those who have this visa could also ask for indefinite leave to remain or ILR in the UK which is practically a permanent visa. The unique feature of this visa is that those who have this visa could freely come to the UK without any sponsor who will hire them.
Tier 2 Visa
Simply put, tier 2 visa is a form of visa for those who intend to work in a company in the UK. They will be required sponsorship aside from fulfilling the requirements that could earn those points. Even with the sponsorship, it’s never guaranteed that the applicant will be approved for tier 2 visa.
Like the tier 1 visa, a major requirement for this form of visa is English proficiency. As they will be employees in an English speaking country, it’s a must that this visa holder will have a good command of the English language.
Tier 3 Visa
This special type of visa is geared for those who wanted to enter the UK temporarily as employees. Their stay in the UK is determined by their employers who are also their sponsor. These applicants could not be part of tier 1 visa as their role in the UK would be for the unskilled.
This form of visa is not used as a step for permanent residency. The usual validity of this type of visa is just for 12 months.
Tier 4 Visa
Tier 4 visa was created for students in mind. Those who wish to enter the UK as a student should have this type of visa before entry. Before entry, they would need to show financial stability to study and live in the UK and they need to have a sponsor which should be a recognized school in the UK.
Tier 4 visa will give the holder four years to stay in the UK. This could be extended if the degree requires five years of study.
This type of Visa is almost the same compared to tier 3 visa except that they are offered for non-profit and very short stay in the UK. Performing artists, visiting sports players and those involved in non-profit work could have this form of visa. This type of visa is also offered for YMS or Youth Mobility Service in the UK which aims to hire young people to certain jobs for a limited time.