Tier 1 (General) Visa
The Tier 1 (General) Visa is the replacement of the HSMP or Highly Skilled Migrant Programme since March of 2008. Those who can obtain Tier 1 Visa will be allowed to work in any industry and in any job as they are considered highly skilled migrant workers. They are also allowed to ask for an extension and enjoy the possibility of obtaining citizenship after years of experience in UK.
Like the HSMP, getting qualified for Tier 1 (General) Visa is based on point system. This system was first implemented in 2002 and has since been observed to determine if the applicant qualifies for the HSMP. Before the Tier 1, those who have applied and was able to qualify using the point system will qualify shall receive an HSMP approval letter from the government. The HSMP letter could be used to obtain entry to UK.
Tier 1 (General) Visa has also emulated the point system. Each qualification, quality and age of the applicant will have corresponding points. There are three parts of the point system: the general qualification, English proficiency and available funds. The general qualification is subdivided to age, educational attainment and annual earnings based on their county. The applicant should have at least 75 points in the general category to qualify. English proficiency and available funds should be no less than 10 points each. If anything is lower that the required points, the applicant will fail to qualify for Tier 1 Visa.
Because Tier 1 was just recently implemented, it is still possible for some applicants to receive HSMP approval letter especially when they applied for HSMP Visa before the end of February 2008. When this happens, the recipient of the letter should go through the transition process of Tier 1 wherein their letter will be accommodated and their process will be slightly different but the letter will still be useful to gain entrance to UK as a HSMP.