The PBS replaces a process which relies on the officers in the embassies and high commissions having to make a judgement about whether an applicant is suitable or not. The new PBS allocates points to a student based on the course of study they plan to undertake and their ability to support themselves financially during their stay in the United Kingdom.
Under the new system, migrants will need to pass a points-based assessment before they are given permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. The system consists of five tiers. Each tier has different point requirements.
Tier 1 Highly Skilled Migrants, entrepreneurs, investors, post study workers
Similar to existing schemes to attract "the best and brightest" of migrants that will "increase the productivity and growth of the UK economy.
Tier 2 General, Minister of religion, Sportsperson, Intra company transfer
It is expected that this will be the route for most arrivals. This tier is basically employers recruiting overseas, either for jobs identified as suffering a shortage of labour, or after proving that the new arrival is not displacing a UK or EU potential worker. (Skilled workers with job offer, General Intra Company Transfers, Sports Person, Minister of Religion, work permit for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals)
Tier 3 Low skilled migration
These are the migrants that will suffer the worst restrictions as the HO's five year plan is to "phase out" schemes for non-EU poor migrants. Again it will be based on overseas recruitment of workers only for job shortages, after being unable to find cheap EU labour, and only from countries that sign a "returns arrangement" with the UK. Currently, this Tier is suspended and not expected to be operational.
Tier 4 (General) Students
The main change here is the greater responsibility for educational institutions to police immigration compliance. (Students,Adult Students,Child Students, Student Visitors, Language School Students, University Students, Post-Graduate Students)
Tier 5 Youth mobility and Temporary Workers
This is a rag-bag of schemes for people coming to UK mainly "to satisfy non-economic objectives". Au pairs, artists, volunteers for charity, International agreement religious workers, will fall in the Temporary Workers category.