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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. Glocalisation has further lent a helping hand to businesses; such that businesses are now able to source for the best talent from a global market place.

The UK as a leading economy in the world is not left out. The Tier 2 visa category has been designed as a Point Based system to allow foreign skilled workers 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.

Tier 2 (General) Visa

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 is important to note that you will be required to have a certificate of sponsorship 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 requirements as well as the maintenance requirements

Tier 2 Visa application

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 strictly follows the salary requirements, as your Tier 2 visa application will be refused if the job you are been offered does not meet the stipulated salary requirements.

Click here to find the salary requirements for sponsorable roles in the UK. Sponsorable roles are roles at or above NQF Level 6.

Tier 2 Visa Extension

The Tier 2 Visa is normally issued for 3 years after which you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 visa extension. Your extension application will depend on whether or not your current employer is willing to continue to have you on that role as well as with the appropriate salary.

Cost of a Tier 2 Visa

Tier 2 visa application fees include the following -

  1. Home office fees
  2. IHS Fees
  3. Skills charge
  4. Sponsor licence fee
  5. Legal fees - Tier 2 Lawyer fees

The sponsor licence fees and Skills charge are payable only by the employer. Also, the sponsor licence fees only relates to a where the employer does not have an existing sponsor licence.

Tier 2 Entry Clearance application - Out-of-country

A restricted Certificate of Sponsorship is usually required for entry clearance as a Tier 2 General Migrant except the job is in shortage of list of occupations or the potential salary to be paid to the individual (Tier 2 Migrant) is £152,100 or more gross per annum.

The application can be made only after a Licensed Sponsor or employer that is approved by the Home Office, United Kingdom Border Agency to offer employment opportunities to foreign nationals, has been granted a certificate of sponsorship 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 point to be allocated for the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) on the basis of Suitable Salary, English Language and funds available for maintenance.

To be make an application to for Tier 2 General visa, he/she must have sponsorship from his/her employer in the United Kingdom that has a Tier 2 sponsor license. The applicant is however expected to adhere to all the criteria of code of practice for employers which include the job level, minimum salary etc.

Tier 2 General Annual Limit - Restricted Certificate Of Sponsorship (CoS)

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 so as to take up vacant positions with a £150,000 salary or more whilst other applications within the UK apart from the Tier 4 dependants who intend to switch, are not influenced by the limit. In this circumstance, the Certificates of Sponsorship is known as unrestricted and it can be assigned by the sponsors without initially making an application for authorisation.

Terms And Conditions Of Tier 2 Leave

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.

Challenging Refusal Of a Tier 2 Visa

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 held also by the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) the individual can challenge by making an appeal through Judicial Review in High Court.

What is minimum point to get Tier 2 visa applications approved?

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:

Condition Points
Valid CoS 30
Appropriate Salary 20
English language requirement 10
Maintenance funds 10

However, in the event that you need to employ someone from outside the UK, you will need to apply for a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship. It is important to note that the points gained from assigning Certificates of sponsorships may vary depending on the type of job.

See the table before 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 they will be 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

Switching Into Tier 2 General

An individual who is already residing in the United Kingdom under a visa category that enables the person to make a switch of category into the Tier 2 General category, he/she is entitled to apply for residence as Tier 2 General migrant from within the United Kingdom. The individual is however expected to fulfil all applicable criteria inclusive of any other stipulation that is relating to switching into the Tier 2 General category from the individual's current visa status. 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).

Who Can Switch Into Tier 2 General Category From Inside The UK?

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:

  • Any Tier 1 category;
  • Tier 2 (General);
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer: Established Staff) if you are applying to change sponsor;
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer), under the rules in place before 6 April 2010 if you are applying to change sponsor;
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson);
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion);
  • Tier 4 (General) student;
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) in the Creative and Sporting sub-category, for a job as a professional footballer switching into Tier 2 (Sportsperson)only;
  • Dependant partner of a Tier 4 student;
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme;
  • Innovator;
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme;
  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme);
  • Business and Commercial work permits (except multiple entry work permits) including Intra-Company Transfer work permits;
  • Sports and Entertainment work permits (except multiple entry work permits);
  • Jewish Agency Employee;
  • Member of the Operational Ground Staff of an Overseas-owned Airline;
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order;
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife;
  • Person Writing Up a Thesis;
  • Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist;
  • Representative of an Overseas Business;
  • Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation;
  • Student;
  • Student Nurse;
  • Student Re-Sitting an Examination;
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer.

Switching From Tier 4 General Student To Tier 2 General

An individual wishes to make a switch from the Tier 4 General Student category into the Tier 2 General, he/she can do so as long as the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • The individual must have excelled and successfully completed a bachelor's or master's degree, post graduate certificate in Education or a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education acknowledged by the United Kingdom; or has spent a minimum of 12 months in the United Kingdom on Study towards earning a PhD in the UK during the present leave period or a continuous leave inclusive of the previously issued leave of entry;
  • The individual have studied for an eligible award at an institution recognised by the United Kingdom or a listed body; or an educational institution that holds a permit to take up sponsorship for Tier 4 Points-Based system students;
  • The individual is making the application from within the United Kingdom.

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.

Switching From Tier 1 PSW To Tier 2 General

An individual who has been granted entry into the United Kingdom on Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa, he/she can make an application to switch into the Tier 2 General from within the UK. In this category it is expected that the employer makes available an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which the applying individual would use whilst making the Tier 2 General application. However, it is expected that the individual's working position and salary level be in line with the criteria for Code of Practice.

Tier 2 visa to dependent visa

Tier 2 visa migrants are able to switch from their current visas to become dependants to any visa categories in-country. This means that they will not need to leave to country to make an application to switch their visas.

Tier 2 Work visa Extension

An individual who is resided in the United Kingdom as a Tier 2 General migrant can seek to extend his/her stay in the United Kingdom either before the authorised permit is expired or if he/she is changing job and also going to get sponsorship from a different sponsor of the Tier 2 category. This application can only be made from within the United Kingdom.

Change Of Employment Applications

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 required to also apply for a change of employment if he/she is still with the same employer subject to exceptions

A circumstance of change in jobs that do not require the applicant to make an application for change of employment, includes a situation where an individual whilst remaining with the same employer has changed jobs to a different job that is within the same SOC code, but has a significant increase in salary while the individual moves under TUPE (or similar) that is due for takeover, merger, or de-merger or any other situations triggered by TUPE.

When can I apply to renew or extend my tier 2 visa?

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 normally advice to submit a renewal application 28 days before your current visa expires. If you submit renewal application ages before your current one expires, the Home Office will process it as normal and you may end up with a time less than 5 years. Recall that you must have been in the UK for at least 5 years before you qualify for Indefinite Leave to remain. Any time shorter than that will mean that you may not easily hit the 5 years required for Indefinite leave to remain.

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.

ILR Tier 2 General

If you are looking to make an application for Indefinite leave to Remain on the basis of you been on a Tier 2 General visa for 5 years, please give us a call now on 020 3744 2797. As a general rule, 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 that actually have been working in the UK throughout the 5 year period as a Tier 2 migrant and your current employer is your sponsor. In addition, you have to show that you are not only currently in employment, but you are continued to be needed on the job. The employer will need to formally verify this in a letter as part of the supporting documents you will need.

We would normally recommend you get professional help and/advice for regulated immigration lawyers if you are looking to apply for a Tier 2 ILR To submit the application under this category. The application form to make this application is the Form SET (O).

Applying for a Tier 2 Dependant Visa

The definitions of who a dependant strictly includes a husband/wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, same-sex partner; or the child (under the age of 18 years) of a main applicant. The main applicant here is the person who was either granted the Tier 2 general visa or applying for the Tier 2 General visa.

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.

Entry Clearance As PBS Dependent Of Tier 2 General Migrant

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.

Switching Into PBS Dependant Visa As A Dependant Of Tier 2 General Migrant

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.

Extension Of Stay As PBS Dependant Of Tier 2 General Migrant

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.

ILR As PBS Dependant Of Tier 2 General Migrant

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. Importantly, the main applicant must have either been a settled person or has lodged an Indefinite Leave to remain 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.

Can you get citizenship in the UK after a tier 2 visa?

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.

Tier 2 Visa cost - How much will the whole Tier 2 visa application process cost?

The spiralling cost of Tier 2 visa applications is aimed at achieving two things, ensuring that more employers are priced out of it, meaning that employers will only employ migrants when they really need to and act as a revenue generator for the Home Office.

Earlier this year, the Home Office announced that the prices changes were necessary to ensure that the Home Office achieves a self-funding system, whilst it continues to deliver a high level of competitive service which continues to appeal to businesses and talents.

Cost for the Tier 2 migrant

Fees Description Amount
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

Fees Description Amount
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)

Maximum stay outside the UK

The rules require that a Tier 2 migrant must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12 month period in the continuous period of 5 years. The end date of the continuous period will be considered as ending on 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.

Where there is a long period of absence from the UK is due to any reasons other than work-related, these must be "serious and compelling" and detailed explanation must be provided in writing by the Applicant as well as any relevant supporting document.

Does absences for the main applicant differ from absences for dependants?

The residential requirement for main applicants have been in place since the category was established. The rules however did not confirm that dependants were subject to this same requirement for years until 11 January 2018 when the rules were amended to include dependants. The effect however is not retrospective and only absences incurred after 11 January 2018 will count towards the 180 days.

Tier 2 Visa Lawyers London

Our team of specialist Tier 2 visa Lawyers can advise you on how best to prepare your Tier 2 visa application. We will advise you on all documents required to ensure a successful visa application.

Contact us today if you will require professional advice. Our business immigration lawyers are based in London are offer a free initial consultation over the phone. You can reach us on 02037442797 or send us an email on info@reissedwards.co.uk

Related Links

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

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Our price ranges from £1000 to £4000 depending on whether you are applying alone or with dependants; and also if we would also be advising on your sponsor licence application as well.
I'm currently on a tier 5 visa and considering switching to a tier 2 uk visa (general). I'm planning to apply for a part time 26hrs/week (35000 salary) and locum for the other 2 days. I know i'm unable to open a limited company or be a sole trader in the UK but is there anything stopping me from opening an isle of man company (as it isn't the UK) to locum through for my 20 hrs /week secondary work?
This enquiry has been dealt with in a private email by one of our tier 2 visa lawyers
This visa category is for non-EEA nationals who have received job offers to take up professional positions that cannot be filled by workers in the UK.
The labour market test can be said to mean a procedure which an employer is mandated to follow before offering employment to an individual who is not residing full-time in the United Kingdom, if they can evince that there is no suitable resident worker who can take up the jobr.
For the employee to employ you to take up a job that is not in the shortage occupation list, they will be required to provide proof that there is no resident worker, citizen in the UK or European Economic Area (EEA) suitable to take the job. The employer is expected to adhere with the resident labour market test before issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship to you. If you are a tier 1 PSW visa or Tier 4 Student visa holder intending to switch into the Tier 2 General category you will be excluded from the labour market test if you have a valid leave and fulfill the criteria to switch into the Tier 2 General category.
It is required that you make a score of 10 points for English Language. You are entitled to get points if you can evince that you are a citizen of an Anglophone (English-speaking) nation; or you have succeeded in an adequate English Language Examination authorized by the Home Office UKBA; or you have a degree that was lectured in English Language which is also equal to a bachelor's degree in the United Kingdom. You can automatically fulfill the requirements for English Language and earn points without requiring further proof if:
  • You were issued entry into the United Kingdom formerly in any the following categories: Tier 1 (General) or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), as a businessperson, a work permit holder, a representative of a foreign country's newspaper, news agency or broadcasting firm, an operational ground staff of a foreign owned airline, or a Jewish agency employee;
  • you were granted authority to stay under the Highly skilled migrant programme after the 7th of November 2006;
  • you seek for an extension of stay having previously been granted authority to reside under the Tier 2 category, and therefore proof that you fulfill the English Language requirement have already been given to the authorizing body.
  • You are making the application because you switched jobs and as such proof that you fulfill the requirements for Tier 2 English Language have already been given to the authorizing body.
  • You were issued authority to reside previously as a minister of religion on or after the 23rd of August 2004; and you are making the application because you have switched jobs.
The Certificate of Sponsorship can be said to be a 'virtual document' that is given to a migrant by a licensed sponsor (employer). The Certificate of Sponsorship number is required to be provided by the person whilst making an application for authorization to take up job in the United Kingdom under the Tier 2 General category.
You are permitted to take up additional work as long as:
  • You will still work in the same sector and level;
  • Your work on the jobs does not exceed 20 hours weekly;
  • Your working time in the job is outside that contained in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) you were issued.
You are permitted to take up charity work but are not allowed to received payment for the job; payment for reasonable expenses is however permitted for charity work.
This can be said to be an official listing of specified work types that do not have sufficient resident employees to take up the available position. An employee who seeks to employ foreign workers outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to take up positions available on the shortage occupation list may do so without embarking on a resident labour market test.
An individual who enters the United Kingdom as a Tier 2 General Migrant in order to undertake a specialized job contained on the shortage occupation list, he/she will be awarded all the required points for the application except points for maintenance and English Language.
In order for an employee to be sponsored to take up a job, the sponsoring employer must make sure the job meets the skill level required as well as the salary requirement in accordance to the code of practice applicable. The employer is not permitted to grant a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) if the job do not meet the requirements.
If your application for a Tier 2 visa application is refused, your next line of action may depend on the reasons for refusal. However your options include administrative review, make a fresh application or judicial review. Note that with an admin review you cannot give a new evidence. Please contact or immigration advisers if you are not sure about what direction you should take.
Application under this category made from certain foreign country can be submitted online. Online application from outside the United Kingdom should be done on this website: http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/ApplyNow.aspx

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