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Tier 2 Visa and Skilled Worker Visa Extension Guidance 2022

The Skilled Worker visa (previously the Tier 2 general visa) can be further extended or renewed before it expires as long as you still meet the UK Skilled Worker visa requirements (see below for more details). It is important to note if you have already spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa, you may have the option to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

We recommend submitting your Skilled Worker visa / Tier 2 visa extension application as soon as possible before your existing visa expires. The earliest date you can apply to extend your Skilled Worker visa is 60 days before your current visa’s expiry date. Once you have submitted your extension application, you can remain in the UK lawfully even after your visa expires while UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) consider your case. However, it is important that you have submitted your renewal application before your visa expires.

The 6-year maximum stay rule, which applied to the old Tier 2 (General) visa, no longer exists, meaning there is no limit to the number of times you can renew your Skilled Worker visa.

Skilled worker visa extension requirements

As a Skilled Worker visa extension applicant, you must meet below requirements:

  • You are still in the same job and with the same employer as when you were granted your previous work visa.
  • The occupation code for your job must not have changed. This is because only certain occupations are eligible1 under the Skilled Worker visa route.
  • You have a new UK CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) covering your extended period of employment.
  • Your employer continues to hold a valid UK sponsorship license to employ Skilled Worker visa holders.
  • You still receive an annual salary that meets the minimum salary requirements: £25,600 (£10.10 per hour) or the ‘going rate’ for your occupation.

The salary requirement is reduced for those with a Ph.D. in a STEM subject, a job in a shortage occupation, or for those who are under the age of 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training.

Tier 2 general visa extension requirements

As the Tier 2 general visa has now closed to applications, if you have this type of visa and wish to extend your stay, you can do so under the Skilled Worker visa route. The criteria you will need to meet to renew your Tier 2 general visa for a Skilled Worker visa are broadly the same as above, but there may be slight differences depending on when you received your Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos) and your occupation, as follows:

  • CoS issued prior to 24th November 2016
    • You must extend your visa by 23rd May 2023.
    • You only require an annual salary of £20,800 unless the ‘going rate’ for your occupation is higher.
  • CoS issued on or after 24th November 2016
    • For renewal extensions submitted before 1st December 2026, you will need to meet the newer Skilled Worker visa salary requirements outlined above. However, you can include allowances, such as London weighting, which are guaranteed for the length of your stay in the UK. The minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa (£25,600) is considerably lower than the £30,000 required under the Tier 2 general visa.

How to apply to extend Tier 2 visa and Skilled worker visa

To renew your Skilled Worker visa or Tier 2 general visa, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Request a new CoS from your employer to cover your extended period of sponsorship.
  2. Prepare and submit your extension application online2.
  3. Pay the application fee and immigration healthcare surcharge.
  4. Upload any documents required by UKVI to support your application.
  5. Provide your updated biometrics either by:
    1. Using the UKVI ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app
    2. Booking an attending a biometric appointment to provide your fingerprints and a photograph at a UKVCAS service point
  6. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be asked to attend an interview with UKVI before a final decision is made.

Once you have fully submitted your application, documents, payments, and provided your biometrics, you can expect to receive a decision within 6 – 8 weeks. It is possible to pay an extra fee of £500 to use the priority processing service for a decision within 5 working days, or £800 for the super-priority service, for a decision by the end of the next working day.

Supporting documents required

To support your UK Skilled Worker or UK Tier 2 visa extension, you may need to provide some of the following documents:

  • A new Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
  • Current passport
  • Updated photo and fingerprints (biometrics)
  • Evidence of £1,270 or more in support funds (i.e. bank statement) – this is not required if you have been in the UK for 12 months or more
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency (e.g. pass certificate for an approved English language test at level B1 on the CEFR scale)
  • An updated criminal record certificate, if required for your occupation

Skilled worker visa extension cost

The extension of Skilled Worker visa costs are as follows:

  • Application fee for visa of up to 3 years: £719 per person
  • Application fee for visa of more than 3 years: £1,423 per person
  • Immigration healthcare surcharge: £624 (or £470 for those under 18) per person per year. The immigration healthcare surcharge allows full access to healthcare in the UK.

What happens after extending your Skilled Worker visa?

After you have extended your Skilled Worker visa, you can either further extend your stay or apply for settlement (ILR) in the UK. Tier 2 and Skilled Worker visa holders can apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.

With ILR, you will no longer be subject to immigration control. This means that you will no longer need to apply for further visas to enter or remain in the UK. You can also change jobs and employment without seeking permission from UKVI. And crucially, a person with ILR can apply for UK citizenship after 12 months.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards specialises in UK work visas, including the Skilled Worker and Tier 2 general visa routes. Our immigration solicitors can:

  • Prepare and submit your Skilled Worker extension or Tier 2 general visa extension application on your behalf.
  • Prepare and submit visa extension applications for your dependant family member (i.e. spouse and children).
  • Handle a Skilled worker visa refusal.

For assistance with your Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa extension, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

References

1 GOV.UK: Skilled worker visa eligible occupations

2 GOV.UK: Skilled worker extension application online

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