Tier 2 General – Skilled Workers

The Tier 2 visa allows skilled workers to enter the UK on a long term basis to fill a skilled job vacancy; for example in IT, accountancy, teaching, or healthcare.

We hold a 100 percent success rate for points-based visa applications due to the exceptional service and support provided by our solicitors.

The Occupation and Shortage Occupation List

To be eligible for this visa your occupation should be on the Tier 2 occupation list or Tier 2 shortage occupation list.

Before you apply, you must have a job offer and a Tier 2 certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence.

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of five years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month, whichever is shorter. Your stay must start no more than 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship. You can apply to extend this visa for up to another five years, as long as your total stay is not more than six years.

Individuals applying for a visa under Tier 2 can also apply for visas for their dependents.

  • How points are calculated

    When applying for a visa under the points-based system applicants are allocated a certain number of points. Under Tier 2 (General), applicants must gain a minimum of 70 points. This is calculated as follows:

    • 30 points for having been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship
    • 20 points for earning the appropriate salary – i.e. the greater of £20,800 and the minimum rate for jobs falling within the relevant SOC code.
    • 10 points for meeting the UKVI English language criteria
    • 10 points for meeting the UKVI maintenance criteria
  • What you can do

    While you are in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa you may:

    • Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
    • Work in a second job
    • Partake in voluntary work
    • Study as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you are sponsored for
    • Travel abroad and return to the UK
    • Bring family members with you
  • Visa restrictions

    What you cannot do:

    • Own more than 10 percent of your sponsor’s shares, unless you earn more than £159,600 a year
    • Access public funds
    • Apply for a second job until you have started working for your sponsor

    While the individual is in the UK on a Tier 2 visa:

    • The individual will not be allowed access to state benefits or other public funds
    • They must register with the police if they are of certain nationalities planning to stay in the UK for more than six months
  • Documents to provide

    For the Tier 2 visa application you must provide:

    1. A CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) from your employer
    2. Your original UK Degree certificate
    3. If the certificate has yet to be issued, you must submit a Tier 2 reference letter stating you have successfully completed your course
    4. A letter from your scholarship provider stating that they consent to you remaining in the UK
    5. Proof you meet the English language requirement
    6. Original bank statements proving that you have a minimum daily balance of £945 for a continuous three month period
    7. Provide a criminal record certificate from any country you have lived in for twelve months or more in the last ten years if you will be working with vulnerable people
    8. Application form
    9. Application fees for sponsorship up to three years
    10. Immigration Health Surcharge
    11. Proof of appropriate salary

    Income requirements

    You will usually need to be paid at least £30,000 per year or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job you are offered - whichever is higher.

    You may be exempt from this requirement if:

    • Your certificate of sponsorship was assigned to you before 24 November 2016
    • You will work as a medical radiographer, nurse, paramedic or secondary school teacher in some subjects
    • You will work as a pre-registration nurse or midwife

How a Business can Sponsor You

Firstly, you will need to know if your employer is eligible to sponsor you.

A business must not have any unspent criminal convictions, which includes any immigration offences.

If the business has previously sponsored foreign employees and they were found to have failed to carry out their sponsorship duties they are also unlikely eligible for the required sponsorship licence.

Type of Sponsorship Licence Required

If your employer meets the eligibility criteria as outlined above they can apply for a sponsorship licence. If they are successful they will be granted a licence rating and they will hold a valid sponsorship licence for four years.

There are two types of licences a business can apply for:

  • Tier 2 – skilled workers (for employing long term workers)
  • Tier 5 – skilled temporary workers (for employing short term workers)

Sponsorship Licence Management

Once the type of licence has been chosen the business must appoint people to manage the sponsorship on the business’ behalf. The roles that need to be appointed can be filled by the same person if this works in the business’ interest. These roles include:

  • The authorising officer
  • The key contact for UKVI
  • The level 1 user who is responsible for the day-to-day management of your licence

The employees that will take on these roles will undergo further checks from UKVI prior to the licence being approved.

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