South Africans with matric certificates will be able to move to the UK under the new points-system

The UK government has announced a new points-based immigration system that is due to come into effect 1 January 2021.

The new system will significantly impact the Tier 2 visa scheme and what it means for South Africans looking to live and work in the UK, says immigration consultants Sable International.

“Under the current Tier 2 visa scheme, skilled workers are required to have a degree and earn £30,000. The Home Office says that this new system will provide greater flexibility and ensure UK businesses have access to a wider pool of highly skilled workers.

“The new system is inspired by Australia’s points-based immigration system that assigns points for certain skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. It’s aimed to attract individuals with the highest skills from across the globe.”

The overall skills threshold will be reduced to only require A levels in the UK or a matriculation certificate from countries such as South Africa.

The minimum salary threshold will also be reduced to £25,600 (from £30,000) per annum.

How many points?

Skilled migrants from across the globe will require 70 points to be eligible to apply to enter and work in the UK.

In addition to meeting the necessary points you must also:

  • Have a job offer;
  • Be offered a salary of £25,600 a year or more;
  • Be able to speak English;
  • Have an A level qualification or equivalent.

“Some characteristics can be swapped out, meaning if you cannot meet one of the criteria but meet another, you may still qualify,” Sable said.

“For example, a university researcher in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) who earns £22,000 (below the minimum salary threshold), may still enter the UK if they have a relevant PhD in a STEM subject.”

However, Sable International clarified that it is unlikely that a South African with just a matric certificate will have the necessary income, skill level, salary or job in demand to achieve the 70 points required.

Here’s an overview of how the points will be allocated:


This article has been updated to clarify that a matric certificate alone is unlikely to be enough to qualify under the new system.

Read: These are some of the most popular visas South Africans are using to emigrate

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South Africans with matric certificates will be able to move to the UK under the new points-system