Tier 1 General is an immigration permission for highly skilled migrants which allows an individual to work for any employer in the UK or on a self employed basis (except as a Doctor in Training). It is has therefore been very useful for those not wishing to be restricted to one within your global business, new hires already living in the UK or those who obtained Tier 2 ICT permission after 5 April 2010 who wish to settle in the UK in the future. In order to qualify, an individual must score 80 points through an assessment of their attributes (education, earnings, UK experience and age), meet the maintenance requirement (£800 at all times in the 3 months before an application is made) and meet the English language speaking requirement.

The Tier 1 General scheme will close for in country applications on 5 April 2011, although transitional provisions will be put in place for those who are already on the scheme. This is the last chance to switch those already in the UK to this flexible type of immigration permission.