When things are going well, the Tier 2 General Visa is a great option for those who are living and working in the UK, but there is a significant downside to working in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa: you are always at risk from external factors. While this is true for almost any of the UK's visas, the Tier 2 General visa relies heavily upon your employment. In this article, we are going to look at some of the reasons why your Tier 2 General Visa may be curtailed and give you some practical advice on what to do.
As you will be keenly aware, the Tier 2 General Visa relies heavily upon your continued employment. If, for any reason, this employment is ended, your employer has to inform the Home Office within 10 days. After your employer contacts the Home Office, you will receive a letter from the Home Office informing you that you have 60 days (or the date on your visa if it is less than 60 days) to leave the country. This, of course, is a nightmare situation for Tier 2 General Visa holders who are currently living in the UK.
The reasoning for your employment ending will not make a difference to your rights. Your employment may be ended by you being dismissed, made redundant or you choosing to leave the business. Whatever the reasoning for your employment ending, your employer is duty-bound to inform the Home Office that your employment has ended. They must follow this process to comply with the requirements of their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.
While the first scenario is bad enough, there is also the potential that you could lose your Tier 2 General Visa as a result of your employer failing to maintain their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence conditions. Through no fault of your own, you could potentially end up having your visa taken away due to non-compliance. Of course, there is little you can do to prevent this, but unfortunately, you could end up bearing the brunt. While these instances are rare, they do happen. Being prepared for this scenario could definitely help to reduce its impact.
So how do you protect yourself from this nightmare scenario?
This, of course, is going to depend heavily upon your employer. While this scenario conceivably could happen to any business of any size, it is certainly far more likely in companies without a dedicated HR department. Due to the nature of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, a more professional company with a dedicated HR department is far more likely to be compliant than one which is not. While, clearly, there is little you can do to affect whether or not your employer has a dedicated HR department, it may be worth bearing in mind if the employer's set up is a little less than professional, the chances of them losing their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is higher. For prudence, it may be worth doing a very deep dive into your prospective employer before taking up employment with them.
If you are in the scenario where your employment has ended or your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder has had their licence revoked, you need to know what is going to happen next. As we said, in the event of your employment being ended, your employer is duty-bound to inform the Home Office within 10 days. Once they have received notice, the Home Office will then send you a curtailment notice which will layout how long you have to leave the country. This will generally be 60 days or the end of your visa, whichever is sooner.
In the event of your employer losing their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, it is likely that the Home Office will inform you directly of your visa curtailment. In this instance, you will receive exactly the same amount of notice to leave the country as you would do if your employment had ended in any other fashion. You will receive either 60 days or until the end of your visa, whichever is shorter. This will be laid out to you in the curtailment letter.
At this point, you really do only have a few options. You can either choose to leave the country within the notice period, find a new job with an alternative Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder or switch to an alternative visa. If you wish to discuss your options, give our experts a call today.
If you opt to leave the UK then it is important you understand there is a 12-month cooling-off period for Tier 2 General Visa holders. This means that you will not be able to apply for another Tier 2 General Visa for at least 12 months after your visa has finished. You may, however, apply for an alternative visa to come to the UK, but you must be aware that the 12-month cooling-off period also applies to certain other visa categories.
If you need more help and advice about what to do at the end of your Tier 2 General Visa then please get in touch. Our expert immigration advisers can help you to understand your options. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to give you a clear roadmap of your options.
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