Tier 1 Visa Statistics 2008-17 for PBS High Value Migrants

1. Introduction: The Story of Tier 1 Visas


Welcome to our comprehensive analysis of the Tier 1 Visa statistics. As one of the pillars of the UK’s immigration system, the Tier 1 Visa scheme has a fascinating story to tell.

The Tier 1 Visa category is designed for “high value migrants” from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. There are various sub-categories under this visa, catering to a range of professionals including entrepreneurs, investors, and those with exceptional talents in their field. Although some routes, such as the Tier 1 General and Post Study Work (PSW) visas, have been closed, others continue to be pivotal in attracting international talent to the UK.

The statistics related to Tier 1 Visas provide critical insights into the trends and patterns of high-skilled immigration into the UK. They reveal not just the number of people choosing to move to the UK through these routes, but also the success and refusal rates of applications, which are invaluable for understanding the broader picture of the UK’s immigration landscape. Furthermore, these figures can be an essential tool for prospective applicants seeking to make informed decisions about their immigration journey. Join us as we delve deep into the world of Tier 1 Visa statistics, tracing the numbers from 2008 to 2017.

2. The Broad Picture: Tier 1 Visa Statistics 2008-17


Let’s start our journey by taking a look at the Tier 1 Visa statistics as a whole. Here, we will look at the overall numbers and the yearly breakdown of entry clearance grants, extensions, and settlements from 2008 to 2017.

Between 2008 and 2017, a total of 505,687 main applicants received a Tier 1 & pre-PBS equivalent visa. The grants during this period can be broken down as follows:

  • Entry Clearance grants: 78,137
  • Extensions (including Leave to Remain grants): 355,615
  • Settlements: 71,935

The most significant number of entry clearances was granted in 2008 (17,427), whereas the most substantial amount of extensions was given in 2011 (66,508). The peak year for settlements (14,497 indefinite leave to remain grants) was 2013. It’s also noteworthy that there has been a significant reduction in the number of grants from 2015 onwards, largely due to the closure of the Tier 1 Post Study Work and General routes.

Let’s break down these numbers further by year, to better understand the fluctuations and trends:

  • 2008: 17,427 Entry Clearances, 66,048 Extensions, 4 Settlements, Total: 83,479
  • 2009: 18,851 Entry Clearances, 65,962 Extensions, 1,568 Settlements, Total: 86,381
  • 2010: 16,003 Entry Clearances, 54,328 Extensions, 3,783 Settlements, Total: 74,114
  • 2011: 8,656 Entry Clearances, 66,508 Extensions, 9,071 Settlements, Total: 84,235
  • 2012: 6,271 Entry Clearances, 57,330 Extensions, 13,936 Settlements, Total: 77,537
  • 2013: 1,903 Entry Clearances, 24,883 Extensions, 14,497 Settlements, Total: 41,283
  • 2014: 1,087 Entry Clearances, 9,029 Extensions, 11,104 Settlements, Total: 5,543
  • 2015: 2,689 Entry Clearances, 4,475 Extensions, 10,184 Settlements, Total: 17,348
  • 2016: 1,619 Entry Clearances, 2,824 Extensions, 6,035 Settlements, Total: 10,478
  • 2017: 2,694 Entry Clearances, 4,228 Extensions, 1,753 Settlements, Total: 8,675

These statistics underscore how the Tier 1 Visa landscape has evolved over the decade, and the impact of changes to immigration policy on the number of people entering, staying, and settling in the UK under this category.

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    3. Diving Deeper: Tier 1 Visa Statistics by Sub-Categories


    After taking a broader look at the Tier 1 Visa statistics, it’s crucial to delve deeper into the different Tier 1 Visa sub-categories. Each of these categories serves a specific purpose, attracting diverse sets of skills and talents to the UK.

    Over the ten years from 2008 to 2017, there have been clear differences in the volume of grants under each Tier 1 sub-category:

    • The Tier 1 General route, now closed, saw the highest number of entry clearances (33,766) and settlements (69,924).
    • The Post Study Work route, also closed, had the most substantial number of extensions (167,766).
    • Other routes like the Investor, Entrepreneur, Graduate Entrepreneur, and Exceptional Talent had significantly lower numbers of grants, reflecting their more specific nature.

    The closure of certain routes had a significant effect on the Tier 1 statistics. The Post Study Work and General routes, along with the International Graduates Scheme, accounted for over 90% of the entry clearance, leave to remain, and settlement applications under Tier 1 during the past decade.

    This is reflected in the sharp decline in visa grants from 2015 onwards. However, this does not necessarily represent a reduction in interest or demand for the Tier 1 Visa, but rather a shift in the landscape of immigration policy in the UK. As we look at these statistics, it’s essential to keep in mind these changes and how they affect the interpretation of the data.

    4. Insight into Tier 1 Visa Extension Statistics: Refusal Rates


    A visa extension can be as crucial as the initial entry clearance. It ensures that the visa holder can continue their stay in the UK, contributing to the economy and society. This section will examine the refusal rates for these extensions, giving a sense of the challenges faced by Tier 1 visa holders.

    Between 2008 and 2017, a total of 590,055 decisions were made on Tier 1 extension applications, including switching applications. Out of these, 71,541 applications were refused, indicating an average Tier 1 visa extension refusal rate of 12.12%.

    The refusal rates for Main Applicants and Dependents vary, shedding light on the different considerations in these cases.

    • For Main Applicants, a total of 406,762 extension decisions were made between 2008 and 2017, out of which 51,147 were refused, leading to an average refusal rate of 12.57%.
    • For Dependents (spouse/civil partner and children under 18 years of age), out of 183,293 decisions made, 20,394 were refused, resulting in an average refusal rate of 11.13%.

    Understanding these refusal rates can help potential applicants and policy-makers alike to better navigate the Tier 1 visa landscape.

    5. Yearly Analysis: Tier 1 Extension Visa Statistics (Main Applicants)


    When analyzing Tier 1 Visa statistics, it’s helpful to take a look at how the yearly figures have evolved over time. This will allow us to understand trends and changes in the visa application process.

    For Main Applicants, the annual data from 2008 to 2017 reveals some intriguing patterns:

    • The highest number of decisions was made in 2009, with 81,364 cases evaluated.
    • Grants peaked in 2011 with 66,508 visas extended.
    • 2014 saw the most rejections with 4,660 applications denied.

    The refusal rate fluctuated considerably throughout this ten-year period:

    • It started relatively low in 2008 at 10.46% but escalated in 2009 to 18.93%.
    • The refusal rate reached its lowest in 2011 at 5.32%.
    • However, 2014 saw a high spike at 34.04%, the highest in the ten-year period.

    These figures indicate the dynamics of the Tier 1 visa policy and can provide valuable insights for future applicants.

    6. Yearly Analysis: Tier 1 Extension Visa Statistics (Dependants)


    The influence of dependants on Tier 1 visa statistics is considerable. Here, we focus on the figures specifically related to dependants: spouses/civil partners and children under 18 years of age.

    When it comes to dependants, the figures reveal the following trends:

    • 2013 witnessed the highest number of decisions with 26,105 cases considered.
    • The peak year for grants was 2012, with 24,513 visas extended to dependants.
    • 2014 saw the most rejections, with 2,369 applications denied.

    The refusal rate for dependants has seen its own unique trend:

    • Starting relatively low in 2008 at 6.55%, the refusal rate then rose to 15.84% in 2009.
    • A dip occurred in 2012, with the refusal rate falling to 4.70%, the lowest in the ten-year period.
    • However, the highest refusal rate was in 2014, reaching 22.48%.

    These numbers highlight the complexities of the Tier 1 visa process for dependants and underscore the importance of preparing applications thoroughly to ensure success.

    7. Conclusion: Making Sense of Tier 1 Visa Statistics


    In conclusion, the Tier 1 Visa statistics from 2008 to 2017 present a comprehensive view of the journey of Tier 1 visas. From a total of 505,687 main applicants receiving visas to the yearly fluctuations in decisions, grants, and rejections, these numbers provide valuable insights. Key highlights include the high volume of extensions granted in 2011 and the considerable decline in visa grants from 2015 onwards due to the closure of Tier 1 Post Study Work and Tier 1 General routes.

    These statistics underline the significant role that Tier 1 visas play in the UK’s immigration landscape. The closure of certain routes and subsequent decrease in granted visas highlights the evolving nature of UK immigration policy and its impact on applicants. Understanding these trends is essential for future applicants, policymakers, and anyone interested in the complexities of the UK’s immigration system. It also signals potential changes and strategies that could shape the future of Tier 1 visas and immigration in the UK.

    For further information, please refer to Migration Statistics Gov.UK

    8. FAQs on Tier 1 Visa Statistics


    1. What is a Tier 1 Visa?

      Tier 1 Visas are part of the UK’s points-based system, designed for high-value migrants who bring economic benefits to the country. Categories include Investor, Entrepreneur, and Exceptional Talent visas.

    2. How have Tier 1 Visa grants changed over time?

      Between 2008-2017, the total number of Tier 1 Visas granted fluctuated, with the highest number granted in 2009. There’s been a decrease since 2015 due to the closure of the Post Study Work and General routes.

    3. What are the main categories of Tier 1 Visas?

      The main categories include General (now closed), Investor, Entrepreneur, Graduate Entrepreneur, Exceptional Talent, and Post Study Work (now closed).

    4. What can we infer from the Tier 1 Visa success and refusal rates?

      The success and refusal rates indicate how stringent or lenient the UK immigration authorities have been in granting Tier 1 visas. A higher refusal rate suggests stricter scrutiny of applications.

    5. What’s the difference between main applicants and dependents in Tier 1 statistics?

      Main applicants are the primary holders of the Tier 1 Visa, while dependents are family members (spouses/civil partners and children under 18) who are granted visas based on their relationship to the main applicant.

    6. How has the closure of certain Tier 1 routes impacted the statistics?

      The closure of the General and Post Study Work routes significantly affected the number of Tier 1 visas granted. These categories previously accounted for a substantial proportion of Tier 1 visas.