The UK has introduced the new PBS Immigration System: What should I know?

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On July 2020, the UK announced further details on a new points- based immigration system that will take effect from 1 January 2021. It is subjected to come into action, once the freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) ends after which EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally. The new measures aim to attract skilled individuals to the country who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now. 

Points- based immigration system (PBS) is a part of a wider multi-year programme of change, led by the Home Office to transform the operation of the border and immigration system. It is the means of regulating immigration to the United Kingdom in which the points are assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. 

The new Points-Based Student route is built on the current Tier 4 system whose core tenets are: sponsorship at a licensed provider, demonstration of English language ability and the ability of the student to support themselves in the UK.

Under the new PBS immigration system, the international students will now have to achieve 70 points. According to the Government statement:

“Students will be covered by the points-based system. They will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English, and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.” 

In detail, international students gain 50 points for all of the following put together:


  • • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies requirement
  • • Course requirement
  • • Approved Qualification requirement
  • • Level of Study requirement
  • • Place of Study requirement


For 10 points each they must then also meet:

  • • Financial requirement
  • • English language requirement


In addition, there will be no limit on the number of international students who can enter the United Kingdom. Students will also be able to apply for permission to enter the United Kingdom up to six months before the start of their course

The government has also announced the Graduate route which will be launched in summer 2021 to provide international students the opportunity to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they graduate. The undergraduate and master's degree students will be able to stay for two years under the route, whilst PhD students will be able to stay for three years. The graduates will be able to switch into other routes that will include the ability to switch into work routes if they are able to meet the requirements. 

The United Kingdom (UK) is a major attractive study destination. In the year ending March 2020, according to the figures, there was a 23% increase in the Tier 4 student visa grant compared to March 2019 which is the highest level since June 2011. There have been various changes to attract international students in the United Kingdom and the graduate route seems to be one of them. It increases the competitiveness for the country and further paves way for the increase in the international student enrolment.

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