It can be quite common, for whatever reason, for workers on a Tier 2 Visa to have their employment terminated early. This could be due to resignation, redundancy or dismissal, or the early finish of a project.
If this has happened, you will receive a curtailment of leave on your Tier 2 Visa. This will shorten your leave to be in the UK to 60 days or until the end of your visa – whichever is shortest.
What is a Tier 2 Visa?
So, you may be wondering what is a Tier 2 Visa? A Tier 2 Visa is given to workers who come from outside the UK and EU, and who want to come to Britain. They have to meet a set criteria – including earning at least £30,000 – and the job must be in demand, unless it is on the Shortage Occupation List.
Redundancy or dismissal
If you’re on a Tier 2 Visa and you have lost your job, it is the responsibility of your employer to inform the Home Office.
They will need to inform the Home Office within 10 days of your final work date. The Home Office will then send a letter to you detailing the curtailment of leave to you. For this, it is very important that the Home Office has up-to-date information on where you live so that the letter is sent to the correct address.
Once you receive this letter, you will have 60 days or until the end of your visa to either make a new job application or leave the country.
Making a new application
If you decide to apply for a new job in the UK, you will also need to apply for a new Tier 2 Visa. This means that your new employer will have to hold a Sponsor Licence in order to sponsor your visa application.
If you are offered a job from a company without a Sponsor Licence, they may be able to apply for one before your leave to remain ends, meaning you will not have to leave the country.
This may be difficult, however, as the company will need to make the Sponsor Licence application and then offer you a job which passes the Resident Labour Market Test all within 60 days or less.
The Resident Labour Market Test requires an employer to advertise the position for at least 28 days to British workers before offering it to non-EEA nationals.
Should you find a company that can offer you the right Certificate of Sponsorship within 60 days, you will be able to stay in the UK until a decision on your new Tier 2 Visa is made.
Finding a new job
Because your leave has been curtailed, you will not be entitled to work until you have received your new visa. You will need to be prepared to support yourself without working during this time.
Additionally, the minimum salary requirement will still apply to your new job, so taking a lower salary is not advised.
The Resident Labour Market Test
While the Resident Labour Market Test may be one of the more difficult parts of securing a new job in the 60-day period you’ll have in the country, there are a couple of things which can make it easier.
If the vacancy you are applying for has been advertised for 28 days already, it will be available to you immediately. If your employer already has a Sponsor Licence, all they’ll need to do is apply for the correct Certificate of Sponsorship.
If they can’t already sponsor foreign workers, this previous 28-day period will mean that they can offer you the job as soon as their Sponsor Licence application is granted.
If applying for a new Tier 2 Visa is not realistic for you, you may be able to stay in the UK on a different visa type depending on your circumstances.
The most common non-work visa is a Partner Visa. If you have a partner or spouse who is a British citizen or has Settled Status in the UK, this could be a great opportunity to remain in the UK.
Those working on a Spouse Visa will not need their job sponsored by a licenced sponsor and will not need to meet the minimum salary requirement.
Alternatively, a Family Visa could be an opportunity to stay in the UK for those with British children who might be unable to stay as a spouse or partner.
Tier 1 Visas
Tier 2 workers are able to switch from Tier 2 to Tier 1 Visas, such as the Entrepreneur Visa. If you have a genuine business idea and are able to develop a successful business plan, this visa would allow you to remain in the UK to set up a business without the need for sponsorship.
Tier 4 Student Visa
You can also switch from a Tier 2 Visa to a Tier 4 Visa to study at a higher level than any qualifications that you currently hold. This application will also require you to be sponsored by a licenced higher education organisation, so it may also come with some difficulties in such a short time frame.
Tier 2 cooling-off period
Should your 60-day leave expire, you will have to leave the UK and reapply from your country of origin. Applying for a Tier 2 Visa comes with a 1-year cooling-off period.
This means that if you’re intending to re-enter the country to work, you’ll either have to wait a year or enter on a different visa type.
Leaving the country early
Your Tier 2 Visa could be coming to an end because you’ve been offered a job somewhere else in the world. Leaving your current job will mean that your leave to remain is no longer sponsored by your employer. You will need to be careful that you are still within the Home Office’s limitations.
If you’ve submitted your resignation to your Tier 2 sponsor, some responsibilities will fall on you to make sure that everything is done correctly.
What you need to report
When you submit your notice of resignation, it is advised that you also send a copy to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You should also include your proposed leaving date with this notice to UKVI.
What your sponsor needs to report
Your sponsor will also have to inform the Home Office of your resignation within 10 days of it being issued.
Once they have received this, they will send a letter to you to say that your leave has been curtailed to 60 days or until your visa ends.
If both you and your employer report your decision to stop working in the UK it will ensure you are still complying to your visa restrictions and will not affect on any future applications you make.
When you need to leave
Although you are not required to leave until the end of this 60-day period, it is advised that you should leave as soon as is viable to ensure that further applications to enter the UK are not put at risk.
There is no longer a 28-day grace period of overstaying after these 60 days. Once your time is up, you will be in the UK illegally.
Re-entry to the country
Following these steps will mean that any future intentions you have to enter the UK will not be at risk due to non-compliance with the Home Office.
If you intend to visit using a Travel Visa, your previous record will show that you are not at risk of absconding and may give you a better chance of having your visa granted.
Experiencing a Tier 2 Visa termination of employment will most likely be a stressful time of significant upheaval in your life. Make sure you follow the rules of the Home Office by receiving expert advice from an experienced UK immigration solicitor. Call us on 0333 363 8577 or use our online contact form today.