Tier 1 - High Value Migrants

In March 2008, Tier 1 - General, previously known as Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) was introduced. Tier 1 of new points-based immigration system focuses on High Value Migrants based on points scored in various categories such as Age, Earnings, knowledge of language, Maintenance/Savings etc.

Tier 1 of the UK's points-based system is for exceptionally talented and highly skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs wanting to work in the UK and consists of 5 sub-categories:

  • Tier 1 (General) - The Tier 1 (General) category allows highly skilled people to look for work or self-employment opportunities in the UK.
  • Tier 1 (Post-study work) - This category is for those people that want to work here after recently graduating from a UK university.  Please note that this category is closed until further notice since 1st April 2012.
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) -  This category is for people who are recognised or have the potential to be recognised as leaders in the fields of science and arts.
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) - This category applies to individuals who wish to set up or take over, and be actively involved in running a business or multiple businesses in the United Kingdom.
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) - This category allows graduates identified by UK higher education institutions as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish business in the UK.
  • Tier 1 (Investor) - This category is for people wanting to make a substantial financial investment in the United Kingdom.

Replaced categories

The immigration categories listed below have been closed and replaced with the 5 categories shown on the right. If you currently have permission to stay in the UK in one of the categories listed on the right and you want to extend your stay, you must apply under one of the Tier 1 categories.

If you have been in the UK for 5 years or more under any of these closed categories listed below, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the United Kingdom. For more information, please complete our free visa assessment and one of our experienced advisors will contact you within 24 hours.

  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
  • Business persons
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland
  • Innovators
  • International Graduates Scheme (IGS)
  • Investors
  • Writers, composers and artists

If you have a HSMP approval letter or believe you may be affected by the HSMP Forum Ltd judicial review judgement, we can advise you of the next steps to take.


With the exception of the Post-Study Work category, time spent in the UK under any of the Tier 1 categories will count towards the minimum residency requirement of five years for permanent settlement in the UK.

Tier 1 spouse and dependent immigration

Since tier 1 immigration is designed for skilled migrants immigrating to the UK for a long-term permanent stay, a successful applicant may also bring their dependants, including their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, and/or children with them. However, the main applicant must demonstrate their ability to support and maintain their dependants in the UK.

This category is for those people who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts, and who wish to work in the UK.


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