Assessing if you can apply for your UK work visa
A Tier 2 skilled workers visa is a points-based visa. This means that your application will be assessed by how many points you score in the different categories that the Home Office set out. These categories include your age, your English language requirements, the qualifications you hold and your income.
Generally, when applying for a visa under the points-based system, you need to score at least 70 points. This may sound complex, but there is no need to worry. Our solicitors can help you quickly assess if you are eligible for this visa type before you apply.
Job offer and qualifications required for a UK work visa
To be eligible for a Tier 2 general visa, you need to be qualified to perform a role on the Tier 2 occupation list, or the Tier 2 shortage occupation list.
You also need to have a job offer from a UK employer before you can apply for this visa. However, that’s not all. Before you apply, your employer must also have the permission to sponsor your application by having a sponsorship licence in place. It’s up to the employer to apply for their sponsorship licence.
If you are already employed and you are working in an international company, transferring from an overseas branch to a UK location, you’ll need a Tier 2 intra-company transfer visa.
What your visa allows you to do
A Tier 2 general visa allows you to stay in the UK for a maximum of five years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month, whichever is shorter.
You can arrive in the country up to 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship. You can also apply to extend your visa for up to five more years after your initial visa expires, as long as your total stay is not more than six years.
Applying for a Tier 2 visa also entitles you to apply for visas for any dependents, such as your spouse or children. They may then live in the UK with you for the same duration as you are, and they will be allowed to work and study.
While you are in the UK on a Tier 2 general visa you can:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
- Work in a second job, if you wish
- Undertake 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
However, there are certain things you can’t do, such as:
- Own more than 10 per cent of your sponsor’s shares, unless you earn more than £159,600 a year
- Access public funds
- Apply for a second job before you start working for your sponsor
People from certain nationalities also need to register with the police when they are planning to stay in the UK for more than six months.
If you wish to change employers while you are on a tier 2 visa, you will likely need to go through the visa application process again.
Documents you need to provide for your UK work visa application
For the Tier 2 visa application, you must provide:
- A CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) from your employer
- Your original UK Degree certificate
- If the certificate has yet to be issued, you must submit a Tier 2 reference letter stating that you have successfully completed your course
- A letter from your scholarship provider stating that they consent to you remaining in the UK
- Proof you meet the English language requirement
- Original bank statements proving that you have a minimum daily balance of £945 for a continuous three month period
- A criminal record certificate from any country you have lived in for twelve months or more in the last ten years (this is only if you will be working with vulnerable people)
- Application fees for sponsorship up to three years
- Your Immigration Health Surcharge
- Proof of appropriate salary
In order to qualify 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’re going to be working as a medical radiographer, nurse, paramedic or secondary school teacher in some subjects
- You’re going to be working as a pre-registration nurse or midwife
We can help you apply for your work visa once you have a job offer secured. We cannot help you find an employer.
Working on a temporary basis
If you wish to come to the UK to work on a temporary basis you may be able to apply for a Tier 5 visa. This visa category was set out with the aim to share knowledge and experience with temporary visitors from countries outside the UK and EEA.
Getting sponsored for a UK work visa
How a business can sponsor you
Firstly, you need to find out whether your employer is eligible to sponsor you. They must have a sponsorship licence before you can apply for your visa.
The business must also not have any unspent criminal convictions, including immigration offences.
If a business has previously sponsored foreign employees and they were found to have failed to carry out their sponsorship duties, they are also unlikely to qualify for a sponsorship licence.
If your employer does meet these eligibility criteria, they can apply for a sponsorship licence. If they are successful they will be given a licence rating. The licence will remain valid 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, people need to be appointed within the business to manage the sponsorship. The roles that need to be appointed can be filled by the same person, if this works for everyone involved.
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
Employees who take on these roles will undergo further checks from UKVI before the licence is formally approved.
How we can help you apply for your UK work visa
Applying for your visa
Our immigration solicitors are here for you when you are ready to apply for your Tier 2 skilled workers visa.
We can help both you and your employer with the immigration process. We can support and guide you through your visa application and we can support your employer with their sponsorship licence application, to ensure the entire application process runs smoothly.
To speak to one of expert solicitors call us today or request a call back for a time that suits you best.
We can not help you find or apply for jobs.
Please note: A 30-minute consultation with one of our immigration experts can be held in our offices or over the phone or Skype. Please be aware that we do not offer free advice and will charge a non-refundable fee of £95 per consultation.
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