The Tier 1 (General) category allows highly skilled people to come to the UK to look for work or self-employment opportunities.
Who can apply as a highly skilled worker?
Unlike sponsored skilled workers (who are covered by Tier 2 of the points-based system), you do not need a job offer if you are applying as a highly skilled worker. When you apply, you are awarded points based on your qualifications, your previous earnings, your UK experience, age, your English language skills and your maintenance (funds).
You can apply under Tier 1 (General) if:
- you are already in the UK with permission to stay (known as 'leave to remain') in an immigration category that allows you to switch into Tier 1 (General);
- you are already in the UK under Tier 1 (General) and you want to extend your permission to stay under this category;
- you are already in the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), you want to extend your stay and you are eligible to switch into Tier 1 (General); or
- you are outside the UK and eligible to apply for permission to enter (known as 'entry clearance') under Tier 1 (General).
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