Forward thinking businesses look to attract only the best talents in the world to add value to their businesses. In a global state like the UK, it is important that businesses find it relatively easier to attract and retain top talent if it must remain the global economic hub that it is. Key sectors within the economy that must be open to global talent include all professional services, technological and medical services.
Sustained business growth in a contemporary world requires the most talented and skilled workers to help drive quality and innovation. Globalisation has further lent a helping hand to businesses - they are now able to source for the best talent from a global market place.
The UK, as a leading economy in the world, is in a position to take advantage of this. The Tier 2 Visa category has been designed as a points-based system to allow foreign skilled workers to take up skilled jobs in UK based firms.
At Reiss Edwards, our highly experienced and qualified UK immigration lawyers can help your company reach its full potential if you need to recruit workers from outside the UK. We have an expert team of business immigration and Tier 2 visa lawyers who specialise in global and corporate immigration.
Following the closure of the Tier 1 General route, the Tier 2 visa category has now become the major work visa category. It allows workers to apply for long term employment (General), to transfer from a company based overseas to a company in the UK (Intra-company Transfer), sports people involved at a high level in their sport (Sportsperson), and religious workers, (Minister of Religion)
It's important to note that you'll be required to have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to be able to apply for a leave to enter remain via any of the aforementioned categories. It is a PBS immigration route and would require successful applicants to score 70 points in order to qualify. Applicants will also need to meet the English language and maintenance requirements.
To apply for a Tier 2 work visa, you must have been offered work by an employer who has a valid Tier 2 sponsor licence. The role must be one above NQF Level 6 and the salary on offer must be at the appropriate level.
The Home Office have published a guidance of sponsorable jobs roles in the UK as well as their appropriate salary levels. The Home Office are very strict about their salary requirements, so your Tier 2 Visa application will be refused if the job you're being offered doesn't meet the stipulated criteria.
Click here to find salary requirements for sponsorable roles in the UK. Sponsorable roles are roles at or above NQF Level 6.
The Tier 2 Visa is normally issued for 3 years after which you may be eligible to apply for an extension. The extension will depend on your current employer wishing to keep you on in your current role, as well as on a salary which meets the requirements.
Tier 2 visa application fees include the following -
The sponsor license fees and Skills charge are paid by the employer only. The sponsor license fee itself only applies to employers who don't currently hold a sponsor license.
A restricted Certificate of Sponsorship is usually required for entry clearance as a Tier 2 General Migrant, unless the job has a shortage of occupations or the potential salary is £152,100 or more gross per annum.
The application can only be made after a licensed sponsor or employer approved by the Home Office (the UK's border agency which offers employment opportunities to foreign nationals) has been granted a CoS, giving them the authority to finance an individual's stay in the UK as a foreign worker. The Tier 2 Visa being a points-based category offers opportunities for points to be allocated for the CoS based on a suitable salary, English language skills and the funds available for maintenance.
To make an application for the Tier 2 General Visa, he/she must have sponsorship from his/her employer in the United Kingdom (granted they hold a Tier 2 sponsor license). The applicant is expected to adhere to all criteria as laid out by the employers, including the job level, minimum salary, etc.
Certificate of Sponsorship available under Tier 2 (General) is limited in number on an annual basis. This limitation is applicable to individuals who seek entry clearance under the Tier 2 (General) Category and also individuals who make applications to switch as a dependent of a Tier 4 (General) student into the Tier 2 (General) category from within the United Kingdom. These are further referred to as Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship.
Individuals who seek entry into the UK to take up vacant positions with a £150,000 salary or more are not influenced by the limit. In this circumstance, the CoS is unrestricted and can be assigned by sponsors without initially making an application for authorisation.
It is important to note that Tier 2 General applications that are a success will surmount to the applicant being offered leave for up to 3 years with a tendency of the leave being extended for 3 years additionally. The individual is not permitted to apply again in order to return to the UK under this category until the elapse of 12 months after which the previous Tier 2 leave expired. Also applicable in situations where the individual has been in the Tier 2 for a period less than 6 years. However in a situation where the individual leaves the job held with the Tier 2 Sponsor, he/she should endeavour that the Sponsor passes the information across to the UKBA so that the leave will be curtailed. Note also that the 12 months period is counted beginning from the date of expiry of the individual's leave.
In a situation where the individual's application was rejected, he/she can choose to oppose the decision by making a request for an Administrative Review to the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM). However, if the decision is also held by the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) then the individual can challenge by making an appeal through a Judicial Review in High Court.
Tier 2 visa applicants must score a minimum of 70 points to be eligible for a visa. The summary of the points are as follows:
|English language requirement||10|
However, if you do need to employ someone from outside the UK, you'll need to apply for a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship. It's also important to note that the points gained from assigned Certificates of sponsorship may vary depending on the type of job.
See the table below for additional information:
|Type of job||Points||Salary||Points|
|Shortage occupation||130||£100,000 to £159,599.99||60|
|£75,000 to £99,999.99||55|
|PhD level occupation code listed in Table 1 of Appendix J of the Immigration Rules||75||£70,000 to £74,999.99||50|
|£65,000 to £69,999.99||45|
|£60,000 to £64,999.99||40|
|£55,000 to £59,999.99||35|
|£50,000 to £54,999.99||30|
|Resident labour market test met by the 'milkround' provisions and the individual being sponsored meets the 'post study work' provisions, other than applying for entry clearance rather than leave to remain.||30||£45,000 to £49,999.99||25|
|Job passes resident labour market test or an exception applies||20||£45,000 to £49,999.99||25|
|£44,000 to £44,999.99||24|
|£43,000 to £43,999.99||23|
|£42,000 to £42,999.99||22|
|£41,000 to £41,999.99||21|
|£40,000 to £40,999.99||20|
|£39,000 to £39,999.99||19|
|£38,000 to £38,999.99||18|
|£37,000 to £37,999.99||17|
|£36,000 to £36,999.99||16|
|£35,000 to £35,999.99||15|
|£34,000 to £34,999.99||14|
|£33,000 to £33,999.99||13|
|£32,000 to £32,999.99||12|
|£31,000 to £31,999.99||11|
|£30,000 to £30,999.99||10|
|£29,000 to £29,999.99||9|
|£28,000 to £28,999.99||8|
|£27,000 to £27,999.99||7|
|£26,000 to £26,999.99||6|
|£25,000 to £25,999.99||5|
|£24,000 to £24,999.99||4|
|£23,000 to £23,999.99||3|
|£22,000 to £22,999.99||2|
|£20,800 to £21,999.99||1|
An individual who is already residing in the United Kingdom, while also under a visa category enabling the person to make a switch into the Tier 2 General category, is entitled to apply for residence as a Tier 2 General migrant from within the United Kingdom. The individual, however, is expected to fulfil all applicable criteria inclusive of any other stipulation related to a switching into the Tier 2 General category. In order for the individual to be eligible to apply for leave from within the UK, he/she must be issued an Unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). For more information on the Tier 2 General Category, please refer to the Tier 2 General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
If an individual is issued or was previously issued leave of entry in any one of the below listed categories, he/she can apply to switch into the Tier 2 General Category from within the UK:
An individual wishing top make the switch from a Tier 4 General Student category into the Tier 2 General can do so as long as the following requirements are fulfilled:
If the Tier 2 sponsor fulfils the requirements for switching as mentioned above, they would be free from fulfilling the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). The applicant will make use of the Unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) that is expected to be issued to him/her by the Employer to make the application. However, it is expected that the individual's working position and salary level be in line with the criteria for Code of Practice.
An individual who has been granted entry into the UK on a Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa can make an application to switch to the Tier 2 General from within the UK. In this category, it's expected that the employer makes available an unrestricted CoS which the individual would use while making their Tier 2 General application.
Tier 2 Visa migrants can switch from their current visas to become dependents to any visa categories in-country. This means they won't be required to leave the country to make their application.
An individual residing in the UK as a Tier 2 General migrant can seek to extend their stay either before their authorised permit is expired, or if they're changing job, alongside getting sponsorship from a different sponsor of the Tier 2 category.
If an individual seeks to change employer, he/she must make an application for change of employer. He/she is expected to possess a new Certificate of Sponsorship as well as fulfil points criteria.
An individual is also required to apply for a change of employment if he/she is still with the same employer (subject to exceptions).
The applicant doesn't have to make an application for change of employment if they, whilst remaining with the same employer, have switched to a new job that is within the same SOC code - this new job will also have a significant increase in salary while the individual moves under TUPE (or similar) that is due for a takeover, merger, or de-merger (or any other situations triggered by TUPE).
Technically, you can renew your Tier 2 visa anytime; however, you'd stand to gain no strategic advantage if your renewal application submitted too long before your current Tier 2 visa expires.
As a firm, we'd advise you towards submitting a renewal application 28 days before your current visa expires. If you submit your renewal application too far in advance before your current one expires, the Home Office will process it as normal, leaving you with less time than you were originally granted. Remember, you must have been in the UK for at least 5 years before you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain, otherwise you risk not fulfilling the necessary requirements.
Therefore, we suggest that you apply for you Tier 2 visa renewal or extension at least 28 days before your current (Tier 2) visa expires.
If you're looking to make an application for ILR since having been on a Tier 2 General visa for 5 years, please give us a call now on 020 3744 2797. Generally, you must first and foremost have lived in the country for at least 5 years continuously under the Tier 2 visa category.
To ensure a successful ILR application, you will need to show you have actually been working in the UK throughout the 5-year period as a Tier 2 migrant and your current employer is your sponsor. In addition, must show that you are not only currently in employment, but your continued employed is needed. The employer will need to formally verify this in a letter as part of the supporting documents you will need.
We would normally recommend professional help/advice from regulated immigration lawyers if you're looking to apply for a Tier 2 ILR to submit your application under. The form needed for this application is the Form SET (O).
The following are considered dependents:
It is important to note that dependants must be over the age of 18 years except for child dependants. However, child dependants who are over the age of 18 may still qualify to apply as child dependants if they became 18 in the UK whilst on a PBS dependant visa.
If you have been granted leave to remain as a Tier 2 General migrant, your dependants may apply with you. Also, if you are looking to submit an entry clearance application as a Tier 2 general migrant, you may apply with your dependence as well.
The immigration rules have and will continue to be meet with several reforms and changes. The rules now allow for applications to be made within the country to switch into a PBS Dependant as a Tier 2 General migrant. The exceptions to this include where the applicant is currently in the UK as a visitor and where the applicant is on temporary admission or release.
The age of the dependant as highlighted above also applies in switching.
If you are currently in the UK as a dependant of a Tier 2 General Migrant, you may be able to extend your stay as a dependant of a Tier 2 migrant provided that you continue to meet the requirements. Importantly, you extension will be in line with that of the main applicant.
If you have been granted leave to remain as a PBS Dependant of a Tier 2 General prior to the 9th of July 2012, you will be able to apply for ILR if you have resided in the UK for at least 2 years as a PBS Dependant. The main applicant must have either been a settled person or has lodged an ILR application.
However for applications made after the 9th of July, PBS Dependants will need to have resided in the UK for at least 5 years as a PBS Dependant of a Tier 2 General migrant.
As a general rule, you will be eligible to apply for a British passport (citizenship) one year after holding an Indefinite Leave to remain status in the UK. This means that you will qualify to apply for British citizenship 6 years after your initial Tier 2 visa grant.
It is important to note that your British citizenship application is not really linked or directly related to your Tier 2 visa, rather it is based on the fact that you have held Indefinite Leave to remain for one year.
Earlier this year, the Home Office announced that the pricing changes were necessary to ensure that the Home Office achieves a self-funding system, whilst continuing to deliver a high level of competitive service which continues to appeal to both businesses and talents.
Cost for the Tier 2 migrant
|The Tier 2 visa application form||£575|
|NHS (IHS) Surcharge - Fees paid upfront for the duration of the visa||£200|
|Priority service from inside the UK||£500|
|Priority service from inside the UK - Weekends and out of office hours||£563|
|Priority postal service||£300|
|Priority service from outside the UK||£460|
|Super priority service form outside the UK||£750|
|Tier 2 Indefinite Leave to remain application||£2,389|
|Tier 2 migrant naturalising as a British citizen||£1,236|
Cost for the Employer
|Sponsor licence application fee (large organisations)||£1,475|
|Sponsor licence application fee (small organisation)||£536|
|Assigning a Certificate of sponsorship||£199 (per worker)|
|Immigration skill charge (large organisations)||£1,000 (per worker)|
|Immigration skill charge (small businesses and charities)||£364 (per worker)|
The rules require a Tier 2 migrant to not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12-month period (within the continuous period of 5 years). The end date of the 5-year period will be considered as whichever is the most beneficial to the applicant.
Where the absences are work-related, these must be confirmed by the employer in writing. The letter from the employer must detail the purpose and period of absences including periods of annual leave.
Any long period of absence from the UK, due to any reasons other than work, must be considered "serious and compelling" - a detailed explanation must be provided in writing by the applicant as well as any relevant supporting documents.
Does absences for the main applicant differ from absences for dependants?
The residential requirement for main applicants has been in place since the category was first established. The rules, however, did not confirm that dependents were subject to this same requirement for several years, leaving up to 11th January 2018 when they were amended to include dependents. The effect, however, is not retrospective and only absences incurred after 11th January 2018 will count towards the 180 days.
Our team of specialist Tier 2 visa lawyers can advise you on how best to prepare your application. We will advise you on all the documents required to ensure a successful visa application.
Get in touch today if you require professional advice. Our immigration lawyers are based are based in London and offer a free initial consultation over the phone.
You can reach us on 02037442797 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Tier 2 Entry clearance|
|Switching to the Tier 2 General visa|
|Extension of leave as a Tier 2 General Migrant|
|Tier 2 Indefinite Leave to remain|