The UK Home Office has announced that from April 6, 2016, the Points Based Calculator can no longer be used to support immigration applications.
The online calculator was introduced to assist applicants for UK visas using the Points Based System to determine whether they may be eligible to work or study in the UK. For years, the point-based system has dictated immigration to the UK by different categories of applicants such as workers, students, trainees and investors. Under this system, applicants must score a specified minimum number of points in order to be granted a visa. Factors such as the applicant’s age, experience and qualification are taken into account while allocating points; and additional points may be granted where there is a shortage of talent in a particular occupation. Applicants must use a ‘points based calculator’ to calculate whether they would receive the requisite number points with respect to the relevant visa.
The Points Based System includes Tier 1, 2, 4 and 5 applications as well as applications for indefinite leave to remain and naturalization as a British Citizen. The calculator also helps to assess whether an overseas academic qualification meets the academic or English language requirements for the relevant visa categories.
Due to various changes in the immigration rules and application procedures in recent years, the Points Based Calculator has become difficult to maintain and is no longer considered a cost-effective tool for the Home Office. The change to eliminate the calculator will affect those using a foreign (outside the UK) qualification as part of their visa or nationality application. This includes all areas of the points based system, applications for indefinite leave to remain and naturalization as a British Citizen.
Applicants applying on or after April 6, 2016, who need to establish that their foreign qualification meets the immigration English language requirement, will now need to obtain, an official statement from UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre) at an additional cost. The applicants will need to contact and pay UK NARIC directly for this statement. UK NARIC provides information, advice and opinion on worldwide vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications.
Whilst the above changes mainly affect applicants wishing to use academic qualifications to meet the English language requirements, being a national of a majority English speaking country or having the appropriate Secure English Language Test (SELT) may be sufficient in certain cases.