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UK Tier 2 Work Visa

The Tier 2 visa is now one of the most important entry routes into the United Kingdom for skilled workers who are citizens of countries outside of the European Economic Area. In all cases, if you are applying for entry under this visa scheme you MUST be in possession of a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence. You must fulfil the requirements of the particular Tier 2 visa for which you are applying.

Tier 2 has four categories:

  • General: for people coming to the United Kingdom with a job offer to fill a position that cannot be filled by a settled worker. In 2011, an annual cap on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas was introduced. It currently stands at 20,700. People who earn £150,000 a year or above are excluded from the cap.
  • Intra Company Transfers: for employees of multi-national companies who are being transferred by an overseas employer to a skilled job in a UK-based branch of the organisation
  • Sports People: for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level
  • Ministers of Religion: for those people coming to fill a vacancy as a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order *

UK Tier 1 – Post-Study Work Extension Visa

To qualify for inclusion under the Tier 2 (General) or the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visa, a job must require a skill level of S/NVQ level 3 or above as indicated in the codes of practice relevant to the sector and to the job.

Some people who are in the UK with other UK visas can apply under Tier 2 (General). For a complete list of visa categories eligible to switch into Tier 2. Please see Tier 2 - Switching from another scheme.

Points Based System (PBS) – Tier 2 (General) Migrants

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) replaced the old-style work permit with the new Tier 2 (General) visa category for skilled workers in November 2008. The Tier 2 visa is a point’s based category and has much in common with the Tier 1. The main difference in the Tier 2 category is that in order to make a Tier 2 application, you must already have an offer of employment, and your employer must be willing to sponsor you.

Some occupations such as engineering, healthcare and teaching are currently considered to be in such high demand in the UK that a shortened application process has been devised for the skilled worker. Other occupations may also qualify under Tier 2 providing appropriate advertising has been conducted to meet the resident labour market test.

Call to speak with a 1st Contact consultant to check if your occupation is on the shortage list and to start the Tier 2 process or complete the online assessment.

If your occupation is not on the shortage list, your employer must be able to demonstrate that the role cannot be filled by a suitably qualified or experienced resident worker. 1st Contact can assist you in an application providing you are qualified for the role on offer, the occupation is listed as a qualifying occupation for Tier 2 and you meet the point’s criteria.

How does it work?

Tier 2 (General) is a points based category. Points are awarded for the following

  • Qualifications;
  • Future expected earnings
  • Sponsorship
  • English language skills
  • Available maintenance (funds).

To be eligible for the Tier 2 work permit you must have qualifications, experience and salary as appropriate to your occupation. Each occupation has differing eligibility requirements.

What stages are involved?

There are 3 main steps involved in lodging an application under Tier 2.

Step 1: Sponsorship Licence:

The first stage in applying for Tier 2 is undertaken by the employer. The employer must apply directly to the UK Border Agency for a Sponsorship Licence. The UK Border Agency will assess the organisation to ensure it is genuine and has an operating or trading presence in the UK. The company’s Human Resource systems will be assessed, as will their compliance, civil penalties and criminal history. Documents required at this stage will vary depending on the type and structure of the business, but they will generally be required to provide financial records, bank statements, accounts, proof of any relevant registrations and/or listings, insurance, proof of premises etc

Step 2: Certificate of Sponsorship:

Once the company has been approved as a sponsor they can then apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the position they would like filled by a non-resident worker. If the position is not listed as a shortage occupation then advertising must have taken place prior to this CoS application in order to meet the resident labour market test. Once a CoS is assigned the migrant can apply for their visa.

Step 3: Applying for the Tier 2 visa:

In this final stage the migrant will submit their application for the Tier 2 visa using their unique CoS number and proving they meet the Tier 2 points outlined above. In most instances this step will be applied for in the applicant’s home country or a country of which they are resident. To determine if you can apply for this within the UK or need to return to your home country to apply please call to speak with a 1st Contact consultant today. Or take the online assessment