Does your employer have a Tier 2 sponsor licence?

The Tier 2 (General) Visa is designed for non-EEA nationals who have a confirmed job offer from a UK based company. The Tier 2 scheme is the main visa route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment, usually on a salary of at least £20,800 per annum for “new entrants” and £30,000 for “experienced workers”.

In order to apply for this visa, the migrant must be offered a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 A-Rated sponsorship licence. Applicants can find more information about the register of licensed sponsors on the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-workers

In order to meet the requirements for the Tier 2 (General) visa application, migrants need to:

  • Have a valid certificate of sponsorship;
  • Show that they are being paid at an appropriate salary;
  • Level of the job on offer – all positions under the Tier 2 scheme must be at a graduate level RQF 6. Roles at PhD level as well as those on the Shortage Occupation List will be awarded higher points than those relying on the Resident Labour Market Test;
  • English language requirement- CEFR Level B1;
  • Maintenance requirement- you must have £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply. This is to prove that you can support yourself. Additional funds are required for your dependants. Please note that you do not need to show evidence of this if you have a fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor who can confirm that the company will cover the maintenance for the first month of the certificate of sponsorship.
  • Tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed (TB) countries;
  • Provide a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve resided for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, if you’ll be working with vulnerable people.

 

You need to have an eligible qualification if you’re switching from a Tier 4 visa. In this case, your prospective employer will not need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test.

How long is it granted?

The initial leave to enter/remain under the Tier 2 visa category can be granted for up to 5 years with the option of further extension of a year. UKVI fees vary according to whether the applicant will be sponsored for 3 years (or less) or for more than 3 years attracting higher charges.

Tier 2 (General) extension of stay in the UK

Migrants wishing to extend their visa in the UK with the same sponsor must meet the requirements similar to those of the initial entry such as:

  • The migrant has been assigned COS for the same role; and
  • The job continues to be at the appropriate skill level; and
  • The migrant’s salary is at the appropriate level; and
  • No resident labour market test.

 

Please note that a Tier 2 migrant can apply for settlement after 5 years subject to meeting the requirements. However, a Tier 2 migrant can stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 years. After 6 years, there will be a ‘cooling off’ period of 12 months.

Change of employment

If the migrant is changing jobs whilst continuing to work with the same sponsor and the new position is in a different SOC code it will be necessary to submit an application and satisfy the RMLT requirement unless the job falls under the exempt category.

In order for the migrant to change employers, he/she will have to make a new application under the Tier 2 General category and gain the approval of the UKVI before commencing employment with the new sponsor. The sponsor will need to carry out a resident labour market test.

Settlement in the UK

Leave to enter/remain as a Tier 2 holder may lead to settlement upon completion of five years in the UK subject to meeting the relevant requirements. Tier 2 migrants are allowed absences of no more than 180 days per year over the 5 years period, including business trips and holidays.

Contact Our Immigration Team

For expert advice regarding any aspect of the Tier 2 (General) visa application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075 or complete our enquiry form below.