Changing Jobs Whilst On A Tier 2 Visa

Changing Jobs Whilst On A Tier 2 Visa

Working on a Tier 2 visa can be a tricky business, so you may be unsure of what you can and cannot do in relation to switching employers (or even industries). In this article, we'll focus on what you can do if you are looking to move on from your current role and the impact it could have on your visa.

Can I Change Jobs While on a Tier 2 Visa?

Yes. Even though your visa relies on sponsorship from your current employer, it is far from impossible to move on to a different company. However, there are drawbacks to changing employers which you must take into account when considering your moving.

What Are the Drawbacks of Changing Jobs While on a Tier 2 Visa?

The main drawback bothers on the fact that you may have to make a new Tier 2 visa application.  Sometimes this may include having to go through the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) again, adding at least one more month to the total processing time.  

There is also the difficulty in tracking down a new employer and get them to offer you a new Certificate of Sponsorship so you can make a brand-new visa application. We have seen some employers who are put off by the length of time they have to wait to onboard a Tier 2 visa migrant vs a non-visa applicant. However, employers are generally likely to wait a reasonable amount of time for a good/qualified Tier 2 visa talent.  From here it's best to consult the government's database of sponsor licence holders to help narrow down the search to specific sectors and areas. It can be very difficult to find employers in the mainstream marketplace, so a database like this would be ideal for new job seekers.

Please note that you can only start your new job when you receive your Biometric Residence Permit.

Can I Change Jobs Without Applying for a New Visa?

Unfortunately, this will not be possible. Since your sponsor plays a part in your visa application, your visa becomes invalid once you cease working for them. You must then submit a new application with your new Certificate of Sponsorship from your new prospective employer.

It is important that you have continual employment while you remain in the UK, which is why you must have a Certificate of Sponsorship. Sponsor licence holders are responsible for you while you work as part of their business. As a result of this employers haves a number of conditions they need to abide by to issue out sponsor licences.

Where Can I Find a New Employer?

There are numerous job sites in the UK wherein you can find your next employer, but trying to find a site which specifies a sponsor licence holder will be difficult. Fortunately, the government maintains a database of sponsor licence holders that you can access to find a new prospective employer in your industry. It may also be worth speaking to employment agencies who tend to be very well informed about their clients and can help to point you in the right direction.

Click here to see our Tier 2 Companies search tool 

Frequently asked questions when switching employers on a Tier 2

Even though your visa relies on sponsorship from your current employer, it is far from impossible to move on to a different company. When switching employers on a Tier 2 visa, part of the requirement will be to submit a new Tier 2 application including the details of your new sponsor. This means that your new sponsor must be have a valid sponsor licence to be able to issue you with a new Certificate of Sponsorship(€˜CoS')

Here are a few common questions: 

What if my new employer does not have a sponsor licence?  

In other to be employed as a Tier 2 migrant, your employer needs to have active tier 2 sponsorship licence. If they do not have a sponsor licence they will need to apply for one. Feel free to contact our business immigration department if you are looking to make a tier 2 sponsor licence application.

Will the new employer have to do a new RLMT? 

The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) may need to be carried out by your new employer before you can be assigned a role and a certificate of sponsorship (COS). 

 Your new employer has to ensure that they have completed the RMLT and there is no suitable settled worker who can fill the role, or that the job is not part of the RMLT before they can offer you a role in their company. This process can be a complicated one which is why it is important to seek legal advice from a qualified immigration lawyer

Changing jobs on a Tier 2 ICT  

Persons on a Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa who intends to change jobs to work for a different employer will have to make an application for a new Tier 2 visa. In most cases, it is not possible to switch from a Tier 2 Intracompany visa to a Tier 2 general visa whilst inside the UK.  

You will need to wait for 12 months before you can apply for another Tier 2 visa. 

How We Can Help

If you are considering leaving your current role to take on a new one and you need some advice on your visa status, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert immigration solicitors. Our specialist solicitors can help assist you in submitting a new application with your new Certificate of Sponsorship.

Related articles

Tier 2 visa sponsorship cancelled - Expert advice on what to do

How to find employers that sponsor work permits in the UK

When to hand in notice after job offer whilst with present company 

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