Tier 1 General Extensions – Quick Guide For Initial Applications On Or After 19 July 2010

This section acts as a quick guide for those that come under the rules from 19th July 2010. That is those who are currently in the UK on a Tier 1 general Highly Skilled Migrant visa which was applied for on or after 19th July 2010. On this day the pass mark went up from 95 to 100!

For the rules applicable for initial applications between 6th April 2010 and 18th July 2010 (inclusive), click here

For the rules applicable for initial applications on or before 5th April 2010, click here

Points Required

Although you need 100 points to qualify for an extension;

  • 10 points are awarded for ‘English Language’ (you qualify automatically for these points as you proved your English Language ability for the initial application)
  •  10 points are awarded for ‘Maintenance’. You must gain these points, if you don’t you will not qualify. For more details on Maintenance Guide
  •  5 points are awarded for ‘UK Experience’ (if you have been working in the UK and you meet the minimum earnings requirement you will qualify for these points). For more details on UK Experience

The real question comes down to the last 75 points for Age, Qualifications and Previous Earnings.

None of us can affect our Age, and (unless adding the finishing touches to a thesis will yield a PhD) it’s probably too late to alter your qualifications at this stage, so your age and qualifications will determine the required earnings.

The following four tables break down the points required for Previous Earnings based on your age at the time of application and your qualification.

Age at the time of initial Tier 1 Application: Under 30 = 20 Points

Qualification

 No tertiary qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree

30 Points

Master’s Degree

35 Points

 PhD

45 Points

Earnings Points Required

 55 Points

25 Points

20 Points

10 Points

Earnings Required

£150,000 pa (=80 points)

£40,000 pa

£35,000 pa

£30,000pa (=15 points)

Age at the time of initial Tier 1 Application: 30 to 34 Years of Age = 10 Points

Qualification

No tertiary qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree

30 Points

Master’s Degree

35 Points

PhD

45 Points

Earnings Points Required

65 Points

35 Points

30 Points

20 Points

Earnings Required

£150,000 pa (=80 points)

£55,000 pa

£50,000 pa

£35,000 pa

Age at the time of initial Tier 1 Application: 35 to 39 Years of Age = 5 Points

Qualification

No tertiary qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree

30 Points

Master’s Degree

35 Points

 PhD

45 Points

Earnings Points Required

70 Points

40 Points

35 Points

25 Points

Earnings Required

£150,000 pa (=80 points)

£65,000 pa

£55,000 pa

£40,000 pa

Age at the time of initial Tier 1 Application: 40 Years or more = 0 Points

Qualification

 No tertiary qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree

30 Points

Master’s Degree

35 Points

 PhD

45 Points

Earnings Points Required

75 Points

45 Points

40 Points

30 Points

Earnings Required

£150,000 pa (=80 points)

£75,000 pa

£65,000 pa

£50,000 pa

If you earn enough to claim the needed points via PAYE salary earnings, you should not have too many complications. Gaining points for your earnings can be more complicated for contractors. With PAYE salary & bonus earnings, it is clear cut, but UKBA have more than once changed their treatment of other types of earnings such as dividends paid by a personal service company, and Allowances paid to employees.

Particularly for those whose initial applications were made on or after 6th April 2010, and who thus usually need to show much higher earnings than those who initially applied before 6th April 2010, the treatment of expenses can make the difference between success and failure, especially for those on expat packages which including significant accommodation, schooling, and car allowances. Such allowances may be included in your earnings in some circumstances but by default most tax-optimised allowance structures will not.

Pension contributions can be structured so that they are part of your qualifying earnings, but the default treatment eg where an employer makes pension contributions on your behalf to a company scheme, is that they will not be included.

By working with experts who understand both visas and contracting, you can ensure that your tax planning decisions are taken in the light of your needs to prove earnings for any visa extension applications, and so ensure the smoothest possible path along the usual steps of Tier 1 extension, then permanent Residence (ILR) and finally, if you so desire, eventual UK nationality and passport.

Particularly for contractors, it is best to contact us and put things in place long in advance of making an application, and ideally in advance of the 12 month qualifying period during which your earnings will be assessed. The ideal time to talk to us is two or more years in advance of making the application. This can allow for the restructuring of allowances / expenses in ways that do not result in permanent tax losses, and for insurance against gaps in your contracting.

If, we have not been able to put in place advance insurance, and for example due to a career disaster, you are going to fall short of the required earnings during your qualifying period, then all is not necessarily lost. You may well be able to ensure UK continuity by getting an employer-sponsored Tier 2 visa. This gives you far less freedom than Tier 1, but can be preferable to leaving the UK, particularly of after your career blip things are now looking positive.

Our partners offer solutions that work particularly well if you are a contractor, but even if you are not, contact us and we can look at the options. Our OISC registered partners can help you with visa extension applications, and can help an employer obtain a Tier 2 sponsorship licence and then sponsor you directly of that is needed.

Find out More

To find out more about our solutions, discuss applying for a Tier 1 General visa extension, and to lay solid foundations for eventual success, call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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