Tier 2 of the UK’s Points-Based System replaced the former UK work permit and is available for skilled workers to fill particular jobs which cannot be filled by the settled workforce in the UK under the Sponsorship mechanism. A shortened process exists for occupations that are considered high-demand such as engineering and healthcare. Other occupations may also qualify under Tier 2 provided the roles were advertised appropriately to meet the resident labour market test demonstrating the role cannot be filled by a resident worker.
The Tier 2 route requires skilled workers be sponsored under the following sub-categories: T2 General, T2 Intra-Company Transfers, T2 Ministers of Religion and T2 Sports Persons.
In addition to meeting the demands of the Points-Based System (English language, maintenance funds, qualifications, salary and possibly having savings) Tier 2 visa applicants must also be in possession of an offer of employment from a Sponsor Licensed company and a Certificate of Sponsorship prior to applying.
*A Certificate of Sponsorship is a reference number and is not an actual document.
There is no need to apply if any of the following apply to you:
- You are an EU or Swiss national
- You are a British Overseas Territories citizen, unless you are from a sovereign base area of Cyprus
- You have permission to enter or stay in the UK as a Commonwealth citizen
- You have no conditions or time limit attached to your stay in the UK
- Your partner or (if you are under 18) one of your parents has permission to stay in the UK under Tier 2 PBS as you should apply for entry clearance as their dependant
UK companies wishing to hire foreign nationals must first obtain a sponsorship licence from the UK Border Agency and obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship for the position to be assigned to the proposed employee. Seeking specialist advice helps avoid submitting incorrect applications which may impact adversely on business.
Tier 2 General: It is possible for non-EU nationals and non-UK citizens to apply to fill a vacant position for a job posting which cannot be filled by the settled workforce in the UK.
Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer: This allows multi-national companies to transfer their overseas employees to posts in the UK provided the posts cannot be filled by UK resident workers.
Tier 2 Ministers of Religion: Ministers of Religion may undertake preaching and pastoral work, Missionary, or Member of a Religious Order, under the employment of a post/role within your faith community in the UK.
Tier 2 Sports Persons: This is designed to allow UK-based sporting organisations to employ sportspeople and coaches who are Internationally recognised at the highest level.
Initial Tier 2 General visas may be initially granted for 3 years and it is possible to apply to extend this a further 2 years under sponsorship. The option to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (no further need to apply for UK visas) exists after 5 years under Tier 2 provided no more than 90 days were spent outside of the UK in one year.
It is possible to study alongside your job in the UK with a Tier 2 visa.
There is the possibility to switch into the Tier 2 category (for instance from Tier 1) provided the eligibility criteria and regulations are met.
There is the possibility of bringing your dependents to the UK whilst you work there provided that they do not require access to public funds (e.g. benefits, job-seeker allowance, etc.). Your dependents would still be able to access the National Health Service and State Schools. Dependents may also work in the UK however this may not be as a Doctor in training and cannot switch into the Tier 2 General category. It is generally cheaper and easier if the main applicant and their dependent(s) apply at the same time.
The UK Border Agency consider the following as a ‘dependent’:
- husband, wife or civil partner, or
- unmarried or same-sex partner, or
- your child provided they are under the age of 18 (although extensions are possible if they turn 18 whilst in the UK as a dependent)
As well as meeting all the other eligibility requirements, you’ll need to:
- provide your current passport or other valid travel id
- provide a passport size photo
- get your bio-metric data taken at a visa application centre
- evidence that you’ve had £945 in your bank account for 90 days (different if bringing dependents) unless your sponsor is A-rated
- prove you meet the English requirement
- show evidence of Tuberculosis screening (if coming from relevant country)
Call us on 0208 8100 948 for more information, a free initial assessment of your requirements, and for fee details.