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Posted on February 26 2020

Points-based immigration system: Why more countries are adopting it

By  Editor
Updated March 27 2024

With the United Kingdom deciding to adopt a points-based immigration system in the last week, the country joins the list of nations that have successfully adopted a points-based system to control immigration in their countries. The countries include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


The UK government hopes that a points-based system will bring in immigrants based on their skills and what they can contribute to society.


The country hopes to get the best and brightest migrants to come to the country and contribute to the development of the economy.


The advantages of using a points-based system are many- it ensures only highly skilled migrants gain entry and gives a fair chance to every applicant. The immigration policies till now, in the UK, were strongly in favor of those who belong to the EU. Post-Brexit, the country wants to provide a level playing field to non-EU citizens as well. The new system will treat both EU and non-EU citizens on the same level.


The other advantage of the points-based system is transparency. The system makes it clear to applicants the various criteria on which they will be given points and the scoring basis for each criterion.


Based on their scores, applicants will know exactly where they stand, and they can determine the areas they need to improve on to score more points.


Here is a quick comparison of the points-based system used by immigration systems of prominent countries:


The United Kingdom:

The latest entrant to the points-based system, the UK will now provide equal opportunity to all immigrants irrespective of the fact where they are from, the focus will be on their skills. The candidates will get points for specific skills, or if they belong to a profession or meet the salary requirements. Points are awarded for English language proficiency and job offer from an approved employer. Applicants will have to get a total of 70 points to be eligible.


      Maximum points

Job offer

20 points

Job at the appropriate skill level

20 points

English speaking skills

10 points

Salary of 26,000 and above or relevant PhD in a STEM subject

20 points


70 points



Australia also follows a points-based system which determines an immigrant’s eligibility for a PR visa. Applicants must score at least 65 points under the Points Grid. The below table describes the different criteria for scoring points:



 Maximum Points

Age (25-33 years)

30 points

English proficiency (8 bands)

20 points

Work Experience outside Australia (8-10 years)

Work Experience in Australia (8-10 years)

15 points

20 points

Education (outside Australia)

Doctorate degree

20 points

Niche skills such as Doctorate or master's degree in Australia

5 points

Study in a regional area

Accredited in community language

Professional year in a skilled program in Australia

State sponsorship (190 visa)

5 points

5 points

5 points

5 points


The applicant must choose an occupation that is available in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) based on their visa type. The SOL list contains the occupations that are currently acceptable for migration to Australia. The occupations are updated regularly and reflect the changes in the Australian labor market. Before this, the applicant must get a Skill Assessment done from an evaluating expert.



Canada has been following a points-based system for quite some years. The eligibility of immigrants is decided on various points such as age, language, education and work experience. Candidates should score 67 points out of 100 in the eligibility factors given below to qualify for permanent residence:



Maximum points


Those between 18-35 years get maximum points. Those above 35 get lesser points while the maximum age to qualify is 45 years.


Applicant’s educational qualification must be equal to higher secondary education under Canadian standards.

Work experience

For minimum points, applicants should have at least one-year of full-time work experience. More years of work experience means more points.

Language ability

Applicants must have at least 6 bands in IELTS. They get extra points if proficient in French.


If the spouse or common-law partner of the applicant is willing to migrate to Canada, he is entitled to 10 extra points for adaptability.

Arranged employment

A maximum of 10 points if applicants have a valid offer from a Canadian employer.


A valid job offer from a Canadian employer entitles applicants for ten points.


Apart from this, the applicant’s occupation must be listed as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).


New Zealand:

This country also follows a points-based system where immigrant candidates who fulfil the points requirements are eligible for a PR visa. The criteria are age, work experience, qualifications, English language skills, and a job offer for skilled employment. The applicant must score at least 160 points if he is applying under the Skilled Migrant category.



Maximum points

Skilled employment in New Zealand for 12 months or more

60 points

Work experience-10 years

30 points

Qualifications-post graduate or doctorate

55 points

Family ties-close family members in the country

10 points

Age (between 20 to 29)

30 points


Comparison of different points-based systems:

A comparison of the points-based systems of the different countries reveals that the immigration systems focus on the skills of the immigration candidates to assess how far they will be able to meet the skill requirements in their countries.


The applicants stand to gain more points if they have a valid job offer in the country, they are wishing to migrate.


The use of a points-based system allows countries to implement a uniform immigration system based on skills.


UK Immigration


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