Switching Into Tier 2

Switching Into Tier 2

The Tier 2 General Visa is one of the UK's most popular visa routes. Applicable to a variety of sectors, it is one of the most versatile and easy to apply for visas in the UK. An excellent feature of the Tier 2 General Visa is the ability to switch into it from other UK based visas. In this article we are going to take a look at the Tier 2 General Visa in a little more detail. We are also going to look at the options for switching into the visa and the visas that it is possible to do this from.

Which Visa Routes Can I Switch From To Apply For A Tier 2 General Visa?

The following routes are all eligible to switch to a Tier 2 General Visa from inside the UK:

  • Any of the Tier 1 Visa routes
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you're applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 4 visa - if you have an eligible qualification or you've done at least 12 months of a PhD

If you are not eligible under the criteria above, you may fit one of the following criteria that are also eligible to apply to switch to a Tier 2 General Visa:

If you do not meet any of these criteria, you will need to leave the country and apply for a Tier 2 General Visa from outside of the UK. You will need to source a job with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Holder and ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria of the visa as laid out in the section below.

What Is The Eligibility Criteria For Someone Switching To A Tier 2 General Visa?

The eligibility for switchers to the Tier 2 General Visa is exactly the same as the eligibility criteria for those who are looking to apply for the Tier 2 General Visa from outside of the UK. These will include the following:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder
  • A job that meets the minimum wage requirements for a Tier 2 General Visa (Currently £30,000 - but there are some exceptions)
  • A high level of English language skill (may need to be proven depending on your country of origin)
  • Funds to support yourself upon your entry to the UK

As long as you can meet these basic criteria, you should have little problem applying for a Tier 2 General Visa in the UK. your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder should be able to give you all the information that you need in order to make your application, but if you are in any doubt or need some help, please get in touch today and our immigration specialists can help you.

Are There Any Visas Which Are Not Valid For Use To Switch To A Tier 2 General Visa?

There are exceptions to those looking to switch to the Tier 2 General Visa, the main one being the Tier 4 Student Visa (exemption for PhD applies). The reasoning for this is not clear, but it may lay in the sheer number of people who use the Tier 4 Student Visa to enter the country. It may simply be a case that it is not wise to encourage students to come to the UK and then give them a mechanism to exit their studies early in order to join the workforce.

If you are currently on a Tier 4 Student Visa and are looking to remain in the UK after your studies, the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa may be a more suitable route to apply for. If you do not fit the eligibility criteria for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, then you may need to leave the country in order to come back on a Tier 2 General Visa. It is important to note that if you plan to remain in the UK for the long-term, you should not overstay your student visa. Any overstay will be used to help decide on any future application to move to the UK and will likely result in a failed application.

Do I Still Need To Work For A Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Holder If I Switch Into A Tier 2 General Visa?

Yes. One of the major conditions of the Tier 2 General Visa is that you have to be employed by a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder. It is their job to ensure that all of your details are kept up to date with the Home Office. They are responsible for your stay in the UK. Failure by them to correctly keep your records could not only negatively affect them, it could also negatively affect you and your ability to remain in the country. It is vital that you work for a reputable Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder and ensure that your records are kept up to date.

By adequately maintaining your visa conditions, you can ensure that your stay in the UK is comfortable and worry-free. The Home Office is only there to ensure that people who are entitled to be in the country are here. As long as you stick with your visa conditions, you will never have anything to fear. If you have any queries then get in touch with us and we can help you to avoid breaking the law and potentially be removed from the country.

Where can I get more help?

If you need more help with switching to a Tier 2 General Visa or indeed you have any other immigration query, please get in touch and our immigration solicitor will be more than happy to help to look into your case. Our specialists can offer expert advice and assistance for those looking to switch to the UK's Tier 2 General Visa.


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