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Scenario on Switching Companies on Tier 2 Sponsor visa.

I have applied for UK visa tier 2 about 3 years ago and soon I have to extend it. I've heard, that when I was applying for it, the law was: after 3 years visa holder would not be tied to company anymore - so I'd be able to freely move between companies that sponsor visas (without reapplying for visa each time). What do you know about this? Thanks in advance,

Our Response

Thank you for your Tier 2 General visa enquiry of which I have been asked to reply to.

I am afraid you have not been informed of the correct information regarding your right to switch sponsors when you hold a Tier 2 General visa. If you would like to switch employers from your current provider, you will need to follow the same procedure as you had when initially applying, although you will be able to switch from inside the UK rather than apply for entry clearance from your country of origin.

The process for switching sponsor can be summarised as follows:

  • Advertise a skilled occupation in accordance with the Home Office SOC codes for 28 days in two sources;
  • If the company that has offered you a Tier 2 visa does not have a licence, they will then need to make an application to join the list of sponsors. This process requires the company to provide the Home Office with specified evidence related to its operation as well as showing they can comply with the responsibilities of being a sponsor;
  • Once the licence is approved (or if not required) a COS will either be sat on the SMS system or will need to be requested. A COS can be requested on a normal basis on the sponsor licence SMS system or using the Home Office priority COS request service;
  • Once the COS is issued, you can then make an application for a Tier 2 General visa either on a postal service, priority postal service or premium service. I am happy to explain what each of these mean if you need me to.

So in conclusion, you being the holder of a Tier 2 visa allows for you to apply from inside of the UK for your switch, but it does not allow you to switch employers without following the above protocol. However, once you have worked on a Tier 2 General visa for 5 years and meet the indefinite leave to remain requirements, you can apply for settled status and will no longer be the subject to immigration control.

How we can help

If you want to speak to one of our immigration solicitors, regarding sponsor licence, tier 2 general visa or switching sponsors, you are welcome to give us a call per the telephone number on the site.

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