Tier 1 General Highly Skilled Visa Extension (HSMP)
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS VISA HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED AND THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES.
The Tier 1 Visa (General Highly Skilled) replaced the previous and popular Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) some years ago and allowed working in the UK for an initial period of 2 years without needing a job offer. This visa was probably the most popular work visa for the UK and offered the most flexibility as you could work for any employer in any capacity, including setting up your own business.
The Tier 1 General Visa was closed to all new applicants on 5 April 2011 and was closed for extension applications from April 2015.
In addition, Tier 1 General extension applications have not been accepted since April 2015 and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications from Tier 1 General visa holders will not be accepted from April 2018.
Tier 1 General visa holders who have a visa expiry date after April 2015 and who will need an extension to reach the ILR 5-year qualifying period are advised to extend their visa prior to April 2015.
Qualifying Criteria for the Tier 1 Visa Extension
To qualify for the Tier 1 General Visa Extension you must meet the following criteria:
You must score a minimum level of points to qualify. Points are awarded for your age, qualifications, past earnings and UK experience. The qualifying mark will depend on when you first applied for your Tier 1 General or HSMP Visa.
You will need to show sufficient available funds to evidence your ability to support yourself and your family.
You will need to evidence your English language ability, either by way of nationality, education to a certain level in specific countries or an English language test such as IELTS or PTE Academic. If you have previously proven your English Language ability, which should be the case, then you will not need to do so again.
All time spent in the UK while holding Tier 1 General Visa status counts towards Indefinite Leave to Remain. After spending 5 years in the UK holding continuous Tier General, HSMP or Tier 2 General Visa status you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as ILR or Permanent Residence.
HSMP Visa holders in the UK
If you are currently in the UK with HSMP Visa status and you need an extension then the extension will be considered under the Tier 1 Visa rules that were in place prior to 30 March 2009. If you were approved for HSMP after 5 December 2006 then you will not need to evidence your English Language ability when making an extension application.
Your Dependants and Family Members.
Your dependants can be added to your Tier 1 General Visa at the time of application and they will all have to complete a PBS Dependants application form.