- What is a Tier 2 Visa?
- Tier 2 Visa requirements
- How do I apply for a Tier 2 Visa?
- Tier 2 General
- Tier 2 Sportsperson
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion
- Tier 2 Intra-copmany Transfer
- Tier 2 Health and Care
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- How long can I stay in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?
- Tier 2 Visa Extension
- Costs and Fees
- Salary requirements
- The Shortage Occupation List
- The Resident Labour Market Test
- The cooling-off period
- Knowledge of English
- Family members
- How Manchester Immigration Lawyers can help
- Frequently asked questions
What is the Tier 2 Visa?
A Tier 2 Visa is the main immigration route for those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland wishing to work in the UK. To be eligible you must already have a job offer.
The most common visa in the Tier 2 category is the Tier 2 General visa, but there are several different types of visa in this category that correspond to different types of jobs.
The Tier 2 Visa is part of the points-based immigration system. To be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa under this system you must prove that you can be classed as a skilled worker by scoring 70 points.
Scoring the points required does not mean that your application will be automatically accepted. The Home office will also review applications against the General Grounds for Refusal Criteria so applications may still be refused.
The process for applying for a Tier 2 Visa can be complicated and costly, to ensure you get it right first-time seek professional guidance or hire one of our expert immigration lawyers.
For more information, contact our Manchester immigration lawyers on 0161 826 9783.
Tier 2 Visa Requirements
To score the requited 70 points for a Tier 2 Visa you will need to have:
- Valid certificate of Sponsorship – 30 points
- Appropriate salary rate – 20 points
- Knowledge of the English language – 10 points
- Maintenance funds – 10 points
As well as this you should ensure that you are able to meet the other requirements before applying. You can be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa if you:
- Have a job offer from a UK-based company
- Hold a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by a licensed sponsor
- Will be earning an appropriate salary for the job
- Meet specific English language requirements
- Are over the age of 16 on the date of your application
- Pass the “Genuine Vacancy Test”, meaning that your skills must be appropriate for your role in the UK
- Can support yourself and your family without relying on public funds.
How do I apply for a Tier 2 Visa?
To apply for a Tier 2 Visa you will first need to receive a job offer from a UK-based company that is a registered sponsor. If they are not a registered sponsor already then they will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence.
The company must also complete a Resident Labour Market Test for the role that you have been offered. Once this test has been passed, your employer will be able to apply for your Certificate of Sponsorship.
After your CoS has been granted, you will be able to start your Tier 2 Visa application. You must apply for your Tier 2 Visa online via the gov.uk website.
You must apply within 3 months from the date your CoS was assigned. You should know that if your application is refused and you wish to make another request, you will need a new CoS.
Tier 2 General
The Tier 2 General visa is the most common category for non-EEA skilled workers coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations in the labour market.
To be eligible you must have a job offer from a company that is on the list of organisations registered to sponsor migrants under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
You must meet the required salary, which is usually at least £30,000 and your employer must issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
If your employer is not a registered sponsor then they may be able to apply to be on the list.
Tier 2 Sportsperson
The Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa is for elite sporting professionals or coaches whose activities will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport in the UK.
To be eligible you must be sponsored by your sport’s governing body and they must recognise you as playing at the highest level of your sport.
With a Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa you are allowed to work a second job, play for your national team and work as a sports broadcaster.
Tier 2 Minister of Religion
The Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is used for religious officials from outside the UK coming to undertake preaching and pastoral work. This includes missionaries and members of religious orders.
To be eligible you must have an offer of employment from a religious organisation that is also a registered Tier 2 sponsor.
Those applying for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa cannot own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year) or get access to public funds.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer
The Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer Visa allows non-EEA migrants to transfer to their existing employers UK branch for a limited time or temporarily. There are two sub-categories of this visa:
- Long Term Staff – for those who have been worked for their organisation for at least 12 months before their transfer to the UK. Eligible applicants can stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years.
- Graduate Trainee – for recent graduate recruits who are being transferred to a UK branch of their organisation for training purposes. Eligible applicants can only come to the UK for a maximum period of 12 months.
Tier 2 Health and Care
The Tier 2 Health and Care Visa is new category of the Tier 2 Visa, with applications opening on August 4th 2020.
This permit is for those with a job offer from the NHS or any organisations that provide medical services to the NHS or adult social care. This includes those with job offers as; doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and senior level care workers. This category is faster and cheaper than the other Tier 2 categories.
Workers on this visa will not be required to pay the NHS surcharge fee for access to health care.
Certificate of Sponsorship
One of the main requirements of this visa is that your employer is on the licenced Tier 2 Sponsor list. You will need to show this in your visa application by providing proof through your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
The CoS is not a physical document but a reference number that must be included in your application.
Should your company have its Sponsor Licence revoked while you are an employee there, you will need to find a new sponsor and reapply for your visa.
If your employer is not a registered sponsor then they will need to apply to be on the Tier 2 sponsorship list.
How long can I stay in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?
The length of time you can spend in the UK on a Tier 2 visa varies.
You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 General Visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter. You can enter the UK using your Tier 2 Visa up to 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.
Tier 2 Visa Extension
If you already have a Tier 2 Visa and you would like to remain in the UK after the 5 years are up, you will have to apply for an extension of your Tier 2 Visa.
If you have any dependents on your visa, such as children, siblings or a spouse, then it’s important to ensure that they are also included on your extension application if they are still a dependent.
You will be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 Visa extension if you meet the following criteria:
- You have remained at the same company as when you were previously granted your work visa
- You are still earning an ‘appropriate salary’ (£30,000 or above depending on the industry/experience level)
- You still meet the eligibility requirements
Costs and fees
The Tier 2 Visa fees vary depending on what category of visa you are applying for. The current fees are as follows:
- Tier 2 General Visa – £610 for up to 3 years or £1,220 for more than 3 years
- Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa – £610
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion – £610
- Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer – £482 for a Graduate Trainee or ranging from £610 to £1220 for long term staff
- Tier 2 Health and Care – £232 for up to 3 years or £464 for longer than 3 years
It’s also important to consider other costs that you will incur when applying for a Tier 2 Visa, these may include:
- English Language Test – £150
- Biometric fee (to have your fingerprints and photo taken for your Biometric Residents Permit) – £19.20
- Immigration Health Surcharge – unless on a Tier 2 Health and Care visa then you will be required to pay the health surcharge for access to the NHS, this costs £400 a year.
To be granted a Tier 2 Visa the job you have been offered must satisfy the relevant salary requirements, this is usually £30,000 per annum but can vary.
The visa salary requirements are as follows:
- If you are under 26 years old then you can come under the new entrant salary rate of £20,800 a year or the new entrant rate in the Codes of Practice for Skilled workers, whichever is higher.
- If you have completed a degree in the UK or are within three months of finishing your degree and are switching to a Tier 2 General Visa from a Tier 4 Visa you can also come under the new entrant rate of £20,800 per annum, or the new entrant rate in the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers, whichever is higher. This also includes those who have completed twelve months of a course leading to a PhD, or those who have completed or have three months or less to completion of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education.
- If you are are 26 or older and are not switching from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 General visa from within the UK after completing a degree in the UK, will usually need to be paid £30,000 per annum or the experienced worker rate in the Codes of Practice for skilled workers, whichever is higher.
The Shortage Occupation List
The Shortage Occupation List is a list of jobs compiled by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that identifies roles in the UK that are in short supply of employees.
The aim of the list is to set out the types of jobs that immigrants are needed to fill in the UK.
It is easier to get a Tier 2 Visa with a job on the Shortage Occupation List because employers do not have to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test for these jobs.
Just some of the jobs on the Shortage Occupation List include: Medical practitioners, electrical engineers, nurses, artists, biological scientists and many more.
There is also a Shortage Occupation List that is specifically for jobs in Scotland.
The Resident Labour Market Test
In many cases organisations that hold a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and wish to employ someone from outside the EEA will have to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test.
The purpose of the test is to show that the job role can’t be filled by someone who is already in the UK.
To complete the test the employing organisation must advertise the specific job role on at least two external platforms for a minimum of 28 days. The advertisement must list the job title, description of the job, salary, any requirements, location and a closing date for applications.
After this the employer must go through any applications and should keep a record of why any applicants were rejected in case the Home Office asks to check employer records.
Only once the Resident Labour Market Test is passed can an employer issue a Certificate of Sponsorship.
The Cooling-off period
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer applicants must leave the UK at the end of their authorised period. You will not be able to re-apply to return to the UK under the same immigration category until 12 months after you left the UK.
Exceptions apply for applicants who are have been offered a gross salary of £120,000 or higher, or that were sponsored for the first time for 3 months or less.
This condition is known as the Tier 2 cooling-off period. This time frame will start from the last day you spent in the UK. To calculate the start of your cooling-off period, you can support your case with evidence, such as travel tickets or entry stamps in your passport.
Knowledge of English
You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. You can prove your knowledge of the English language by either:
- passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
- having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD
You don’t have to prove your knowledge of the English language if you are from a majority English speaking country.
If you are applying for the Tier 2 Sportsman Visa you will only need to pass an English Language Test at level A1.
You may also be exempt from proving your knowledge of the English language if you have a disability.
Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa.
Your family members must have a visa if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:
- your husband, wife or partner
- your child under 18
- your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant
The visa costs remain the same for any dependent you wish to bring with you to the UK.
You must also show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK. Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.
You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.
How Manchester Immigration Lawyers can help
At Manchester Immigration Lawyers we know just how complicated the application process for a Tier 2 Visa can be. Our expert immigration lawyers are here to help make the process as smooth as possible and give you the best chance of success.
With over 50 years of experience and training in all aspects of immigration law, you can be sure your application is in the right hands with our immigration lawyers.
Whether you are an applicant or an employer, Manchester Immigration Lawyers has a wealth of experience in securing Tier 2 Visas. Our Manchester offices are staffed by a highly-skilled team of experienced immigration lawyers who are fully equipped to advise you on your UK immigration options.
Our services include:
- confirming that all documents are adequate before submitting the application;
- preparing a detailed Letter of Representation;
- managing contact with the Home Office during the application process;
- facilitating the assignment of the Certificate of Sponsorship;
- ensuring the Resident Labour Market Test is undertaken correctly; and completing the application form to a highly professional standard before submitting it.
Contact us now on or make an enquiry online to receive expert advice on your options from one of our immigration lawyers.
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You can make a change of employment while in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa.
However, you must obtain a new CoS from your new sponsor, and meet all the points requirements.
A Tier 2 change of employment application is also required if you remain with the same employer, but there is a change to your core duties, translating into a change of job.
If necessary, your sponsor may be required to carry out a new Resident Labour Market Test.
If you are an international non-EEA student studying in the UK you may want to remain here to work once you have finished your studies. To do this you will have to switch from your Tier 4 Student Visa to a Tier 2 General Visa.
To change your immigration status, you must first complete your course within a Tier 4 sponsor institution and must graduate with one of the following qualifications:
- UK Bachelors degree
- PGDE Completed 12 months of PhD
Yes, you must be sponsored by registered UK sponsor to be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa.
Once sponsored your employer will issue you with a certificate of sponsorship. A certificate of sponsorship holds your personal details and information about the job you’ve been offered. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document. Your sponsor will give you a certificate of sponsorship reference number to add to your application.
You can only use your certificate of sponsorship reference number once. You must use it 3 months after getting it.
The length of time you can stay in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa varies depending on what type of Visa you apply for. The maximum amount of time you can stay in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa is 5 years and 14 days or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month.
If you wish to stay in the UK longer than this then you will have to apply for a Tier 2 Visa extension, you should also make sure that any dependents are included on your extension application.
You can bring dependents with you on a Tier 2 Visa.
- Your spouse or partner
- Children under 18
- Children over 18 who are already in the UK as dependents
If you wish to bring dependents with you when you come to work in the UK then you will also have to apply for visas for them. The fees remain the same as your Tier 2 visa and you will also have to prove that they can be supported financially whilst in the UK.
Yes, you are allowed to undertake supplementary employment but it must either be:
- A job included on the Shortage Occupation List or a role in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work.
- No more than 20 hours per week
- Outside of the regular working hours of your primary occupation.
You can also undertake unpaid voluntary work in any sector.
If you wish to work more than one job and it doesn’t fall under these categories then you will have to apply for another visa and have the organisation sponsor you.
The Tier 2 Health and Care Visa is a new Tier 2 Category that has been introduced, applications opened on August 4th 2020. This category of visa is specifically for those who have a job offer with the NHS, an adult social care organization or with a company that provides medical assistance to the NHS.
Job roles included are as follows:
- Biological scientists and biochemists
- Physical Scientists
- Medical Practitioners
- Ophthalmic Opticians
- Dental practitioners
- Medical Radiographers
- Health Professionals not elsewhere classified
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
This new visa costs less than all the other Tier 2 visas. Workers on this type of visa also wont be subject to the £400-a-year health surcharge.
To be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa you will normally need to have a job offer with a salary of at least £30,000 or the “appropriate rate” for the job you are offered – whichever is higher.
The salary requirement may be lower if you are a graduate or are eligible for the starter salary rate.
To be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa to work in the UK you will need at least £945 in your bank account 90 days before you apply.
Your sponsor can cover this cost for you but they must confirm this on the certificate of sponsorship
If you are bringing dependents you will also need to prove you have savings to support them financially as well.