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.
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
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.
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.
Tier 2 visa application fees include the following –
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.
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.
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.
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 held also by the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) the individual can challenge by making an appeal through 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, 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|
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).
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 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:
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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. 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.
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.
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
|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 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.
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 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|