UK-based highly skilled migrant workers will have to apply for visa extensions under new rules from 29 February, the government has announced.
Foreign workers already in the UK will have to prove they have enough points under the new Australian-style immigration system if they want to stay longer.
Points are awarded for qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience. Migrants also need to be sponsored by an accredited employer.
From April, the system will apply to all new highly skilled visa applicants from India, and, by the summer, the government hopes to have extended the scheme to cover applicants from all other countries.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: “Our points system is starting on time and on plan. I’ve no problem with taking the best systems in the world, like Australia’s points system, and bringing them to the UK. This is a key part of the huge shake-up to our border security this year.”