Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa Work Restrictions: Working Hours and Conditions
The Tier 2 visa (now Skilled Worker visa) is subject to a number of work restrictions that applicants and holders must be aware of. In the following article, we will outline the main Tier 2 work restrictions on minimum and maximum working hours, taking on a second job, working from home, and volunteering.
Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa maximum and minimum working hours
There are no maximum or minimum working hours for a Tier 2 visa / Skilled Worker visa. In other words, there are no Tier 2 work restrictions for your main sponsored job when it comes to working hours.
It is important to note, however, that the number of hours you are sponsored to work is relevant when it comes to meeting the minimum salary requirement. In most cases, the Home Office base their minimum salary and going rates on a 39-hour week so if you are contracted to work fewer hours, you need to make sure you still meet the salary requirement on a pro-rata basis. This minimum salary requirement based on working hours is different for health care professionals and some other job roles on the shortage occupation list.
The immigration rules do impose a maximum working hours requirement if you work a second job. The maximum working hours for a second job as a skilled worker visa holder is currently 20 hours. This has been put in place to ensure that any second job does not detract from the sponsored work, which is a key part of your reason for being in the UK in the first place.
Can you reduce working hours on Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa?
Yes, you can reduce your working hours on Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visas without impacting its validity. To reduce your working hours, your employer must inform the Home Office of this change and reflect this on your employment contract and Certificate of Sponsorship.
Reducing your working hours will not invalidate your Skilled Worker visa or impact your visa renewal eligibility, as long as you continue to meet the minimum salary requirements. This means that if you are currently on the lower limit of the salary range and your hours are reduced without an increase in your pay, it may be that you no longer meet the salary requirement.
If your hours are being reduced, it is important to check that when your salary is adjusted on a pro-rated basis, you still meet the salary requirement. To do this, divide your salary by 39 hours (or the appropriate hours for your going rate) and multiply by your new working hours, and compare this with the required salary for your occupation. For example, if you’re reducing from 39 hours to 30 hours, the calculation is:
£25,000 / 39 x 30 = £19,230 (which is below the lower threshold for the Skilled Worker visa).
Can a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa holder do additional work?
Yes, a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa holder can take on additional employment without the need to ask for permission from the Home Office. Any part-time job will also be considered secondary employment as it is supplementary to your main sponsored work. It is important to note that additional work must:
- Be for a role either on the Shortage Occupation List or have the same occupation code as the job that you are sponsored to do
- No more than 20 hours per week
- Outside of your working hours covered by your current CoS
- Not interfere with the hours that you would generally spend on your sponsored work.
If you wish to take up supplementary employment as a Tier 2 visa holder which requires more than 20 hours or is in a different occupation code (assuming it is not on the shortage occupation list), you will need to:
- request a new Certificate of Sponsorship for your second role for supplementary employment Tier 2
- request a variation of your permission from UK Visas and Immigration
The restrictions on working up to or more than 20 hours on Tier 2 visa in a secondary or supplementary job only apply to paid work and not voluntary work.
If you are considering taking up a second job or part-time work on a skilled worker visa, it is important to check that you are within the rules.
Working from home on Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa
As hybrid working becomes the norm in the UK following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to consider the implications of home working on your Skilled Worker visa. It is possible to work from home on a Skilled Worker visa, but you and your employer must be able to satisfy the Home Office that:
- your role is genuine
- your working hours have not changed
- you still meet the minimum income requirement (i.e. consider the impact of any allowances that have been removed due to a switch to home working)
- you are still living in the UK (i.e. not working from another country)
Employers with staff on a Tier 2 visa working from home should also consider how they can continue to meet their sponsorship obligations in terms of tracking the attendance of home-based sponsored workers, keeping their personal and contact details up-to-date, and reporting any changes or problems to the Home Office. When a sponsored worker switches from an employer-based location to home working, this change should be updated on the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
Where a remote worker is wholly based overseas, this falls outside of the immigration rules, and a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa is not required. If they plan to split their working time both outside and inside the UK, they will need an appropriate visa such as a frontier worker visa, global business mobility visa, or meet the UK business visa requirements depending on the circumstances.
As long as the above requirements are met for a UK-based sponsored home worker or hybrid worker, this arrangement will not impact their eligibility for ILR (settlement) in the future. And from the perspective of the employer, as long as all efforts have been made to adhere to the immigration rules as outlined above, your eligibility for a renewal of your sponsor licence will not be negatively affected in the future.
If you are unsure if you are able to work from home as a sponsored worker or if you can allow a sponsored worker to switch to a home or hybrid remote working arrangement, speak to an immigration solicitor before you proceed. They will ensure you are within the immigration rules and explain any processes you may need to follow.
Can a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa holder do voluntary work?
Yes, as a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa holder, you can take on additional voluntary work in your spare time. If you plan to undertake voluntary work in addition to your current job, you must ensure that the voluntary work does not affect your ability to carry out your sponsored work.
You can work on a voluntary basis in any sector, but you must not receive any form of payment (except for reasonable expenses).