Before 1 January 2021, EU and EEA nationals could travel freely to the UK to live and work without a visa. There was a separate system for migrants from outside the EEA – a four tier points based system.
In order to be eligible for a visa in any of the four tiers the individual must have passed a points-based assessment. These visas covered most work, study and investment opportunities in the UK:
Tier 1 – High-value migrants
Tier 2 – Skilled workers
Tier 3 – Low skilled workers (never introduced)
Tier 4 – Students
Tier 5 – Temporary workers
There were also other visa types for non-EEA nationals which fell outside of the points based system and were primarily for visitors, family and limited business categories.