- Tier 2 Work Permit requirements
- Obtaining your Certificate of Sponsorship
- Different Tier 2 Visa categories
- How to apply for a Tier 2 Visa
- Tier 2 Visa validity
- Applying for a Tier 2 Visa extension
- Switching from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 Visa
- Changing your employment as a Tier 2 Visa holder
- UK Tier 2 Visa application fees
- The Tier 2 Visa cooling off period
- Tier 2 Visa conditions of stay
- Undertaking supplementary employment
- How can I get help from IAS
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Tier 2 Visa?
The Tier 2 Visa is the immigration route which enables UK-based employers to hire foreign workers to fill jobs that cannot be filled by British nationals or settled workers.
To be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa, you must score a minimum of:
- 50 points for Attributes, including having a sponsor with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship;
- 10 points for English language skills (except for Intra-Company Transfer);
- 10 point for Maintenance, which is your available funds.
It must be noted that scoring the required 70 points does not make your application automatically approved. Your case will still be considered against the General Grounds for Refusal criteria, and your application may be refused.
To seek professional guidance, you can hire one of our expert immigration lawyers. Call us on 0333 305 3750 to speak with our team.
What are the UK Tier 2 requirements?
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.
Do I need to be sponsored to apply for a Tier 2 Visa?
One of the main requirements of this visa is that your employer is a licenced sponsor of Tier 2 workers. You will need to show this in your visa application and provide 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.
Different categories in Tier 2
There are four various subcategories of Tier 2 Visa, which are as follows:
- Tier 2 (General) – this is for most non-EEA migrants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations or other skilled positions.
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson) –for sporting professionals or coach whose activities will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport in the UK.
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) – used for religious officials coming to work in the UK to undertake preaching and pastoral work. This includes missionaries and members of religious orders.
- Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer – this permit allows non-EEA migrants to work for their existing company’s UK branch for a limited time or temporarily. There are two sub-categories of this visa:
- Long Term Staff, for those who have been working for their organisation for at least 12 months prior to their transfer to the UK. Eligible applicants can stay in the UK for up to 5 years.
- Graduate Trainee, for recent graduate recruits being transferred to a UK branch of their organisation for the purpose of training. Eligible applicants must be coming to the UK for a maximum period of 12 months.
How do I apply for a Tier 2 Visa?
You can submit your Tier 2 Visa application once you have received a job offer from a UK-based a company which holds a valid Sponsor Licence.
The company must complete a Resident Labour Market Test, meaning the job must be advertised in two places for at least 28 days before it can be offered to applicants from outside the EEA.
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 within 3 months from the date your CoS was assigned. However, if your application is refused and you wish to make another request, you will need a new CoS.
How long can I stay in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?
You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 Visa (General) 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 Category||Duration of Stay|
|Tier 2 ICT (Long Term Staff)||Up to 5 years|
|Tier 2 ICT (Graduate Trainee)||12 months|
|Sportsperson||Up to 3 years|
|Minister of Religion||Up to 3 years and 1 month|
How can I apply for a 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 must apply for a visa extension. 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
What are the Tier 2 Conditions of Leave?
The following conditions of leave apply to all Tier 2 categories:
- You cannot recourse to public funds
- You can only work for your sponsor in the job recorded on your CoS or do voluntary work
- You can study, provided that you obtain a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate
Can I undertake supplementary employment?
You are allowed to undertake supplementary employment as long as it is:
- Either a job included on the Shortage Occupation List or a role in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work, your CoS was assigned
- No more than 20 hours per week
- Outside of the regular working hours of your primary occupation.
You can also undertake voluntary work in any sector, provided that you are not paid for your work.
How do I make a Tier 2 change of employment application?
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.
What are the Tier 2 Visa fees?
The Tier 2 Visa fees are as follows:
|Tier 2 Visa Category||Fees|
|Tier 2 General for skilled workers||Up to 3 years: £610|
More than 3 years: £1,220
|Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer||Graduate Trainee: £482|
Long Term Staff: from £610 to £1,220
|Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa||£610|
|Tier 2 Minister of Religion||£610|
An additional biometric fee of £19.20 applies.
How to switch from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 Visa?
Any non-EEA resident must apply to switch from a Tier 4 Study Visa to a Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa to continue to reside in the UK after completing their studies. 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
- Completed 12 months of PhD
What is the Tier 2 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 timeframe 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.
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The Tier 2 (General) Visa has a minimum salary requirement which is typically held at £30,000. This threshold, however, is dependent on the job and the level of experience required. For example, the threshold for graduates is more commonly £20,800 per year.
The salary requirement for each particular job will be relevant to the Codes of Practice outlined by the Home Office.
Those entering the country to work will be entitled to bring their spouse and/or children on a Tier 2 Dependent Visa. The fees and maintenance requirements for the Tier 2 application will change with each dependent.
Spouses in the country on a Tier 2 Dependent Visa have the same rights to work as the Tier 2 applicant. However, they will not need to show that they have a job offer before making their application.
Whether you are an applicant or an employer, IAS has a wealth of experience in securing Tier 2 Visas. Our UK-wide offices are staffed by a highly-skilled team of experienced immigration lawyers who are fully equipped to advise you on your UK immigration options.
With two offices in London, we are also one of the most respected immigration companies in the capital. Our corporate immigration lawyers are highly equipped to help you get your Work Permit for London.
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 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to receive expert advice on your options from one of our immigration lawyers.