The “Australian-style” Points Based System: doesn’t the UK have a similar immigration system?


With the run-up to the General Election in the next few weeks, just weeks before Christmas, some of us may very well want to escape to Australia for the warmer weather. For the most part, British citizens who visit Australia can likely do so with little difficulty under the “Subclass 651 eVisitor” category (although you should always check with a qualified Australian adviser). Equally, Australian nationals can visit the UK for short-periods and can even take advantage of the ePassport gates. So far, so good – no points involved!

The “Australian-style” Points Based System

In a nut-shell, this is basically a points-scoring system usually for longer-term visas such as for work purposes. You will usually be able to score points on a sliding scale based on numerous different factors such as age, qualifications, experience and other criteria. If you score the minimum number of points (and it is possible to score more than the minimum), then you would usually be granted the visa if you meet the other requirements as well. Examples of Australia’s points scoring system on a sliding scale can be found on the Australian Home Affairs website.

What about the UK’s immigration system?

The UK has a body of rules which apply to EEA nationals (and family members) only, and a separate body of rules which apply to everyone else including EEA nationals. The rules which apply to everyone else can be further split to those within the Points Based System such as for a Tier 2 (General) visa and those outside the Points Based System such as a Spouse/ Civil Partner visa.

However, the UK’s Points Based System is different to that of Australia’s as there is no real sliding scale. There are specific mandatory criteria which must all be met to score the minimum number of points. If one requirement can’t be met, one set of points can’t be scored, and an individual would not be able to apply for the visa. It is not possible to make up the points from elsewhere nor is it possible to score more than the minimum number of points available.

The UK’s Point Based System is therefore one of name only and does not truly function like an “Australian-style” Points Based System. However, the UK may, in the near future, be implementing its own “Australian-style” Points Based System subject to the conclusion of a consultation, and of course the policy of the new UK Government. Brexit uncertainty aside, the Immigration White Paper and the proposed new immigration system from 2021 might be derailed.

We can assist with all matters of business and personal immigration including assisting with right to work checks/ procedures; maintenance of a Tier 2 sponsor licence; and applications across the UK immigration system. If you have any questions and/or would like to subscribe to the immigration newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact Vincent Chung:

The data contained within this document is for general information only. No responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies. Readers are also advised that the law and practice may change from time to time. This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute accounting, legal or tax advice. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.