Tier 1

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Tier 1 (General) - now closed to new applicants and extension applications

When recruiting an individual with a Tier 1 or Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) visa, employers are responsible for ensuring all the employment checks are undertaken in accordance with the Employment Check Standards. You do not need to undertake a resident labour market test (RLMT) or issue a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) prior to the individual commencing employment. However, it is important to check that there are no restrictions placed on the type of activity that can be undertaken by the individual on this visa.

For example, if the Tier 1 (General) visa states that the individual can undertake ‘any employment except working as a postgraduate doctor’ you cannot employ the person in a postgraduate training post unless the person transfers to another tier, such as Tier 2. At this stage, the RLMT will need to be evidenced and sponsorship will be needed.

Tier 1 (Post-study work) - now closed to new applicants

The Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route previously granted individuals, who had graduated from a UK university under Tier 4, two years of leave to remain with the ability to work without a sponsor. Individuals had to then transfer to another employment route on the points-based system before the two year visa expired if they wanted to continue to live and work in the UK, such as Tier 2. Where transferring from Tier 1 (post study work) to Tier 2, employers were not required to apply the resident labour market test and they were allowed to issue an Tier 2 CoS from their unrestricted allocation.

Since 6 April 2012, individuals who graduated after studying in the UK under Tier 4 have been entitled to apply for leave to remain but need to apply directly under the Tier 2 route. Access further information about Tier 2.

Within the NHS, the majority of individuals who will be affected by this change are either pre-registration pharmacists or doctors in training, although anyone who has graduated from a UK university and meets the criteria is eligible to apply under the Tier 2 route.

Access more information on recruitment into medical or dental posts.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

This Tier 1 category is aimed at exceptionally talented migrants and is restricted to 1,000 visas per annum. It has been created to support the promotion of science, humanities, engineering or the arts. It is very unlikely that anyone seeking employment in the NHS will be eligible for one of these visas but further information can be found on the Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration) website.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

This category was introduced in April 2012 and is open to individuals who have been identified by UK universities to have developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills. In this instance the university will be the sponsor.

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