Many people who come to the UK to work on a Tier 2 General Visa will remain with their sponsors for the entire duration of their stay in the UK. But for those who are looking to move on (perhaps to take on better opportunities) there are specific concerns about their eligibility criteria and the maintenance of their visa conditions which they must take into consideration. In this article, we are going to look at your options if you wish to switch employers while working in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa, so you know where you stand if you wish to make your next career move.
While you are clearly linked to your sponsor for the duration of your visa, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot change jobs. Many people incorrectly believe that they must remain with their sponsor for the entirety of their stay in the UK in order to remain in the country, this is only true if they wish to stay with their sponsor, otherwise they can opt to gain a Certificate of Sponsorship from a new Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder and apply for a new visa which will allow them to move.
There are numerous reasons as to why you would want to change careers, none of them is particularly important as far as your visa is concerned. As long as your new prospective Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder has correctly applied the resident labour market test and is in a position to do offer you an eligible job, there is little stopping you from changing jobs, and even careers. The major benefit of switching after you have moved to the UK is that your application is more straightforward as you will not be asked to provide much of the documentation that you had to on your original application.
Another major concern for those who wish to switch their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder while already in the UK is that they will no longer be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. While Indefinite Leave to Remain has significant eligibility criteria attached, changing employers will not affect your ability to apply to settle in the UK as long as you have been in the country for 5 years and meet all of the other eligibility criteria laid out.
In order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain you will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
Not being absent from the country for more than 180 days in any 12 month period of your stay in the UK
You must have always lived in the UK legally
You must pass the Life in the UK test
You must either be a national of a majority English speaking country, have gained a degree that was taught in English or you obtain a qualification that proves your ability to understand the English language at a relevant level
As long as you meet these eligibility criteria, you will be able to make an application. If you have failed to meet a condition such as absence, you will need to be able to prove your reason for being out of the country and lodge an appeal. Our team can help with this, so get in touch if you need help.
Another false belief that often does the rounds is the idea that you can only apply for one job at a time if you intend to use a Certificate of Sponsorship in order to make a Tier 2 General Visa application. Again, this is not true. You can make applications for as many roles as you choose, but you must ensure that if you do not accept a role that you are offered, you must inform the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder so that they can avoid creating a Certificate of Sponsorship. If they already have created a Certificate of Sponsorship, your contact will let them know to cancel it.
It is vital that any Certificate of Sponsorship that is created is cancelled if a job is not being accepted. Not only does this give the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder the option to offer the job to an alternative applicant, but it also ensures that UK Visas and Immigration know precisely which role you are taking and with which licence holder. In this instance, it is vital that you ensure that unused Certificates of Sponsorship are cancelled.
The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder that you had been offered a job by will need to cancel the issued Certificate of Sponsorship if you choose to decline their invitation. While it may not be the news they wish to hear, your contact will let them know that they can speak to other applicants about the role. It is also important for you that this Certificate of Sponsorship is cancelled as it may affect your future prospects.
In order to ensure cancellation of the Certificate of Sponsorship, you need to make contact with the company. If you do not hear back within 5 days, you must contact them again. If after a further 5 days you do not receive a response, you must write to UK Visas and Immigration to notify them of the details so that they can follow up with the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder and ensure that it is cancelled.
If you have an immigration query then please get in touch. Our expert team can help with applications, appeals and anything else that you could possibly need in order to ensure a safe and prosperous stay in the UK. So if you need help, call today and have a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.
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My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
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