Working Hours for A Skilled worker (Tier 2) Visa Application
The Tier 2 General Visa now replaced with Skilled Worker Visa is ideal for those who want to come to the UK to live and work for a sponsor, but what do you do if you want to take on additional work? As you have surely noticed, the rules around the Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa are very strict and there is not much room for interpretation. So, in this article, we are going to look at the options for those who are in the UK on a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa who would like to take on additional work.
What Are The Maximum Working Hours For A Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa Holder?
There are no clearly defined maximum working hours for Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa holders. This is, at least, in their normal work that they carry out for their sponsor. There is, however, a maximum limit to the additional work that they can take on outside of their normal working hours for their Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Sponsor Licence holder. This limit is currently 20 hours, and 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.
This 20-hour limit only applies to paid work and not voluntary work. This is an important distinction as many believe that their voluntary work is likely to be limited as well. It is important to note, however, that you should avoid any voluntary or second job interfering with the sponsored work that you do, as this may significantly affect your prospects of gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Can A Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa Holder Do Additional Paid Work?
Yes, a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa holder can take on additional employment of up to 20 hours per week. It is important to note that this additional work must be either on the Shortage Occupation List or be in the same field and level as the job that you are sponsored to do. You must also ensure that it does not interfere with the hours that you would generally spend on your sponsored work. This is important, as any additional work is likely to be scrutinised intensely when it comes to any review of your visa.
One of the most common questions for Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa holders is whether they can be self-employed. This type of work, unfortunately, is prohibited. We have seen many examples of people taking on self-employment while in the UK on a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa and having significant problems after registering for self-assessment. While taking on a self-employed role is relatively easy these days, we urge you to not potentially affect your visa by taking on such work. The punishment for failure to follow visa conditions can be severe and certainly not worth it.
Can A Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa Holder Do Voluntary Work?
Yes, Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa holders are able to take on additional voluntary work in their spare time. Again, it is important that they do not mix voluntary work with their normal sponsored work as even voluntary work could be scrutinised. You will need to ensure that all of your working hours are accounted for in order to show that your voluntary work is not affecting your sponsored work. Even voluntary work could be frowned upon if there is any hint that it affects your day to day sponsored work.
This is not to say that Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa holders are discouraged from taking on voluntary work, far from it. UKVI is always principally concerned with ensuring that people are not using additional work to gain additional payment, or as a way to leave their current sponsored work. We would always urge Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa holders to use their judgement wisely when it comes to taking on additional work. If you are not sure how it will be interpreted, it may be best to get in touch with an immigration lawyer who can help to guide you as to whether the additional work you wish to take on could put you in potential jeopardy.
Can A Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa Holder Work For Themselves?
Unfortunately, Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa holders cannot work for themselves as self-employed. This is due to the fact that they are being sponsored to come to the UK. The problem is that there is always the potential that people are using the Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa as a way to get into the UK so that they can start a business of their own. This is far from an ideal situation, so therefore it is banned. This may seem heavy-handed but unfortunately that is where the rules currently stand.
If you are looking to start up a business of your own, you could use your free time to research and prototype your business. Once you have a business plan in place, you could then consider switching visa route to another such as the Innovator Visa. This is the ideal option for Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa holders who are entrepreneurially-minded, as they can move to the UK, get paid for their normal working hours, and work on their ideas in their free time. If you wish to discuss switching visas, call today and speak to our team who will be happy to help talk you through your options.
Getting More Help
If you need more help with the Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa then please get in touch. Our team of immigration lawyers have years of experience helping Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa holders to make the most of their stay in the UK. So, call today for a free, no-obligation consultation and see how we can help.