The points based immigration system

Collated guidance to assist employers to navigate the system points-based immigration system.

14 May 2024

On 1 January 2021, when free movement ended, a points-based immigration system was introduced. It applies to everyone from outside of the UK (excluding the Republic of Ireland) wishing to live and work here.

The end of freedom of movement has implications for those who previously could freely come to the UK from the EU for work and study. EU nationals now require a visa to work and study here.

For individuals who arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020 and who meet the requirements of the EU Settlement Scheme, the new system does not apply. EU nationals had until 30 June 2021 to secure their pre or settled status. More information on the settlement scheme can be found on our EU Settlement Scheme webpage, including information on reasonable grounds for making a late application.

The immigration system aims to attract and prioritise highly skilled migration and improve the experience for applicants and employers. It provides routes for skilled workers, students, global leaders, and innovators.

On 4 December 2023, the UK government announced changes to the immigration policy with changes taking effect from March 2024. A detailed overview of the changes is available on our impacts of the immigration changes webpage. Please also check the GOV.UK website for more details.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published the Immigration Salary List (ISL) in April 2024 which has replaced the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The ISL has a reduced number of roles listed and is now using the new version of SOC Codes 2020. A full list of roles is available on the GOV.UK website. 

The points-based system includes a dedicated NHS support and visa processing which will enable HR teams to contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if there are any issues with the application process or eligibility queries for the new Health and Care Visa. Sponsors can contact UKVI’s NHS team directly at

Employer resources

The Home Office has produced a dedicated suite of employer resources to support you. These include: