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Differences between the Skilled Worker visa & other Tier 2 visa routes

When it comes to immigration law, change is a constant. The Home Office is constantly refreshing existing schemes and creating new ones. And for those trying to acquaint themselves with the latest rules and visa routes, this can sometimes be confusing. One of the most recent and significant changes for 2021 has been the phasing out of Tier 2 (General) work visa and the introduction of the Skilled Worker visa to replace it. This has led some to believe that the Tier 2 visa category has been removed altogether, however, this is not the case. In this article, we will explain the difference between sponsoring an international worker under the Skilled Worker visa scheme vs the Tier 2 route and the requirements for employers and workers for the latter.

What Is The Difference Between The Skilled Worker And Tier 2 Visa Routes?

The Skilled Worker and Tier 2 schemes are both classed as long-term work routes. The new Skilled Worker visa route, which replaces the outgoing Tier 2 (General) visa, is the Home Office’s main points-based immigration route for skilled migrants from outside of the UK. There are still some existing Tier 2 visa routes, notably the Minister of Religion visa and the Sportsperson visa. The difference is that the remaining Tier 2 routes are much more narrow in their purpose compared to the Skilled Worker visa, which covers a wide range of eligible occupations. There are two other long-term visa routes; the Health and Care visa and the Intra-company visa.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For The Tier 2 Visas?

Tier 2 Minister Of Religion Visa

Employee requirements

Like the Skilled Worker visa, Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa candidates needs a job offer before applying. The UKVI guidance states applicants need a “job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK”. The job offer must be from an employer that holds a sponsor licence specifically for this specific visa type. It is not possible for a Skilled Worker licence holder to employ someone applying under this Tier 2 route; they would need to apply to add a new category to their sponsor licence to do so.

In addition to holding a job offer in an eligible faith community role, applicants also need to:

  • Meet the English language requirements – either by passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening or academic qualification that was taught in English (this must be recognised by Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) as at the same level of a UK degree, master’s degree or PhD. Applicants from certain countries do not need to satisfy this requirement – see the Home Office website for more details
  • Have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK
  • Provide your travel history for the past five years
  • Provide a negative TB test result if you are from a ‘listed country’

Employer requirements

From the perspective of the sponsor, as per the guidance issued by UKVI, employers using the Tier 2 Minister of Religion scheme must:

  • have charitable status
  • have the structure for a faith-based community with a common system of belief and spiritual goals, codes of behaviour and religious practice, which exists to support and/or propagate common beliefs and practices.
  • not exclude anyone from their community on the basis of gender, nationality or ethnicity
  • receive financial and material support for their core religious ministry from their congregation or community on a voluntary basis, without promise or coercion
  • not breach, or encourage others to breach, any UK legislation
  • not work against the public interest, or have a detrimental effect on personal or family life as commonly understood in the UK

Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa

Employee

In order to apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa, applicants must be an ‘elite sportsperson or qualified coach’, recognised by their relevant sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of their profession internationally. In addition to having a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer with a sponsor licence, the relevant governing body must endorse the application. Applicants also need to demonstrate that their employment will help to progress the sport in the UK at the highest level. Like the Minister of Religion visa, applicants need to meet the English language requirements, but only to A1 rather than B2 level. They also need to have at least £1,270 in funds to support themselves when in the UK.

Employer

To make a successful application for a Tier 2 Sportsperson sponsor licence, applying businesses/organisations must be a “UK-based sporting body, sports club, events organiser or other organiser operating, or intending to operate, in the sporting sector. You must also be endorsed by the relevant, Home Office-approved, sports governing body”. The scheme is not available to non-UK sports clubs or organisations or agents. The Home Office advises that if there is no relevant sports body, “you should email the Economic Migration Policy team. We will ask the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Sport and Recreational Alliance (SRA) and/or other sports councils to identify if there is a suitable body who could act as your recognised sports governing body”.

In Conclusion

It is important that existing or prospective sponsoring businesses and organisations in the UK, whether in the private or public sector, hold the relevant type of sponsor licence for the type of visa route that their sponsored workers will require. If you already hold a sponsor licence in one category, it is possible to apply to add additional categories. And because you will already have the necessary sponsorship systems and processes in place, this will reduce the overhead on your organisation of securing a new sponsor licence.

Some of our Happy Client

Reiss Edwards Awards

ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated
Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge
Lexology Legal Influencers
ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge
Lexology Legal Influencers Lexology Legal Influencers

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

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"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

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As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

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Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee...

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Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A mas...

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"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija ...

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Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into st...

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Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

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Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva th...

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Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recomme...

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Deepak Chartbhurjh

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Hakeem Salam

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"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled ...

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Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration...

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Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They ac...

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Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the a...

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Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

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Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my expe...

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Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a ...

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"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused...

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"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people....

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