Skilled Worker Visa
The Tier 2 visa is the main visa for skilled workers looking to work within the UK. The option is open for both new and experienced workers with conditions related to minimum salary applicable. The pre-conditions for applying for this visa include a confirmed job offer and a sponsorship letter from the UK employer, along with a valid UK Tier 2 visa sponsor license.
If you are planning on applying for the Tier 2 visa, our experts can guide you through the entire process and help you prepare your application and the supporting documents. Do call us at 0207 043 2167 or send an email to email@example.com with your details and queries about Tier 2 visa guidance. We also keep you updated about the United Kingdom’s new immigration rules post Brexit.
What is a Tier 2 Visa and Who Can Apply for It?
A lot of people wonder what a Tier 2 visa is. It is the visa that most skilled workers apply for to be eligible to work within Great Britain. People looking to work within Great Britain need to get in touch with or look out for UK companies willing to sponsor Tier 2 visas for skilled jobs. A wide range of companies offer UK Tier 2 sponsorship jobs for skilled tasks in healthcare, IT, and accounting as well as for teachers and chefs.
People can apply for the Tier 2 visa for the UK provided:
- They have an offer letter for a skilled job within Great Britain and the employer issues a certificate-of-sponsorship after checking skills and ability to perform the job for which they are being hired. The licensed sponsor also has to mention the salary that will be paid to the applicant.
- They are from countries not included in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
Different Categories of Tier 2 Visa UK
Tier 2 visas fall under the following categories:
General Visa: This visa is available for people who have an offer for a skilled job and a sponsorship certificate from an employer within Great Britain. The employer needs to have a valid sponsorship license for Tier 2 visas. There is a tier 2 visa cap of 20,700 for job applicants who are residing outside the United Kingdom. This route for working inside the UK will be replaced by the Skilled Migrant Worker Visa within the post Brexit scenario.
Intra Company Transfer Visa: This visa is available to employees of multinationals who are being transferred to the company’s UK office. The visa can be for long term staff or graduate trainees. There is no limit or quota for the issuance of this type of Tier 2 visa.
Minister of Religion Visa: This option is available for people who have received job offers to work in a religious community organisation within the United Kingdom.
Sportsperson Visa: This category of visas is available to players and their coaches. The law requires the applicants to be recognised or endorsed by the governing body of the sport they are associated with.
Health and Care Visa: This visa option is available to people with a job offer from the NHS or an organisation providing medical services to the NHS or any organisation providing adult social care services. The applicants have to be from outside the EEA zone and Switzerland and their sponsors need to have informed them that they are eligible for the job. Health professionals, nurses, doctors and adult social care professionals are eligible for this category of Tier 2 visa.
What are the Requirements for Tier 2 Visa Applications?
A person applying for any type of Tier 2 visa for the UK is required to have:
- A valid sponsorship certificate from an employer who is part of the Tier 2 visa sponsor list.
- Adequate proof to show that he is being paid a Tier 2 visa minimum salary which is appropriate for the job.
- Proof of his knowledge of English.
- Proof of adequate personal savings that can support them on their arrival in the United Kingdom.
- Details of travel over the past 5 years.
- Results of a tuberculosis test if he belongs to a listed country.
- A certificate of criminal record from the country in which he has lived for a period of 12 months or more in the last 10 years, if he is going to work with vulnerable people within Great Britain.
- Required qualification for a specific job if he is switching from a Tier 4 visa.
What is a Certificate-of-Sponsorship?
An essential Tier 2 visa requirement is the certificate-of-sponsorship. This certificate is issued by your employer within Great Britain who is part of the companies that sponsor Tier 2 UK visas. The certificate mentions your personal details, besides giving information related to the offered job. This electronic document comes with a reference number that has to be quoted in your visa application. The reference number can be used only once in three months after its issuance.
What is Meant by Appropriate Salary?
An appropriate salary means that the amount of salary offered by the employer to you to carry out a job should be appropriate. The minimum amount of Tier 2 Visa salary for the General Category is at least £30,000 per year or the amount appropriate for the job, whichever is higher.
The rules mention certain situations where a person can be paid less:
- When a person works as a medical radiographer, a paramedic, a nurse or a secondary school teacher in certain subjects.
- When a person works as a pre-registration nurse. A midwife can also be paid less than the minimum requirement.
What is the Personal Savings or Maintenance Funds Requirement?
A person applying for a Tier 2 UK visa is required to have a minimum of £945 in his bank account for 90 days prior to the application. This is required to prove that the person can support his finances in the initial days of his UK stay.
The requirement is not applicable if the applicant has a fully approved sponsor who is ready to give him at least £945 to cover his costs for a month, if required. However, this has to be confirmed by the sponsor on the sponsorship-certificate issued by it.
What is the Requirement Related to Knowledge of the English Language?
Applicants are required to prove their knowledge of English by:
- Producing the results of an approved English language test for BI level in reading, writing, speaking & listening.
- Providing proof of an academic qualification that was taught in English. The qualification needs to be one that is approved by UK-NARIC as being equal to a bachelor’s or master’s or PHD qualification from the United Kingdom.
Applicants who have previously met the English-language requirements in a previous UK visa application are not required to do it again.
Nationals of the following countries are not required to prove their knowledge of the English language:
- Antigua & Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Kitts & Nevis
- New Zealand
- Trinidad & Tobago
- Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
Which Documents Need to be Submitted with Tier 2 Visa Applications?
Your application for a Tier 2 visa for the UK must be accompanied by certain documents proving your eligibility. Check the list here:
- The reference number given on the certificate-of-sponsorship issued by your UK employer
- Documents proving your knowledge of English
- Documents showing your personal savings unless your certificate-of-sponsorship mentions that your sponsor can support you initially
- Passport or travel documents showing that you can travel
- Previous passports or travel documents showing your travel history
- Results of a tuberculosis test, if you belong to a listed country.
- A certificate of criminal record, if you are working with vulnerable people
- Certified translations of all the documents if they are not in English or Welsh
- Any other document depending on your individual circumstances
When is the Criminal Record Certificate Required?
A criminal record certificate is required to be submitted along with the Tier 2 visa application if:
- The applicant works in the field of education
- The applicant is associated with the field of healthcare - as a nurse, doctor, manager, pharmacists, dentist or ophthalmist
- The applicant provides therapy - psychologists, speech and language therapists
- The applicant provides social service - social workers, probation officers and managers
The certificate is required from the countries where the applicant has stayed for a period of 12 months or more in the 10 years before applying for the Tier 2 visa.
How to Apply for a Tier 2 Visa?
All applications for Tier 2 visa except from residents of North Korea can be made online. Residents of North Korea are required to download the application form and follow the instructions given.
The application process involves giving your fingerprints at a visa application centre where a photograph will also be taken. This is essential to get a biometric residence permit which can be collected within 10 days of your arrival within the United Kingdom.
The Home Office also accepts applications for the extension of a person’s existing Tier 2 general visa or for switching to Tier 2 visa from another visa category.
How Long Does the Processing of the Tier 2 Visa Application Take?
One can apply for a Tier 2 visa three months before they are due to start work in the United Kingdom. The employer mentions the job start date on the certificate-of-sponsorship issued by them.
The visa processing is generally completed within three weeks of applying from outside the UK.
Can You Apply for an Extension of Your Tier 2 Visa?
The application for an extension of your Tier 2 UK visa needs to be made before the expiry of the current visa. Your application for UK visa extension for Tier 2 needs to include dependants who are on your current visa. For children who have turned 18 during your time within Great Britain, you need to submit a separate application to extend the Tier 2 visa.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for Seeking an Extension of a Tier 2 Visa?
As per the UK immigration rules, a person can apply for an extension of his Tier 2 visa if:
- They still hold the same job as when he got the permission to enter or tome within the United Kingdom
- They still work for the same employer that issued him the certificate-of-sponsorship
- They are earning an appropriate salary
- They are currently within the United Kingdom and not travelling out of the country.
How to Extend the Tier 2 Visa?
The application for the extension of the Tier 2 visa of an individual or family can be made online. Once you apply, you will be asked to make an appointment and visit a UK Visa and Citizen Application Services (UKVCAS) service point where your biometric information will be taken.
All the supporting documents can either be uploaded online or given for scanning at the time of your UKVCAS appointment.
An important thing to remember is that you cannot travel outside the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands till the time your extension application is processed. The application for Tier 2 visa renewal will stand withdrawn if you go outside the country.
How Long Does the Processing of a Tier 2 Visa Extension Application Take?
The standard processing time for an extension of Tier 2 visa applications including Tier 2 dependent visa extension is within 8 weeks. However, if you opt for the priority service, the Tier 2 visa extension processing time gets reduced to 5 days of your UKVCAS appointment. You can also opt for the super priority service, which means the decision on your application is made in one to two working days depending on whether your UKVCAS appointment was on a weekday or a weekend. The working days are Monday to Friday and do not include bank holidays.
The biometric residence permit is issued within ten days of the issuance of your decision letter. In certain cases, you will be asked to:
- Get your supporting documents verified
- Attend an interview
- Called if you have a criminal conviction
The applications for extension need to be made before the expiry of the previous visa. The applicants can remain within Great Britain until a decision on their extension application has been made.
What Happens If I Change My Job in the United Kingdom?
A person will be required to make a new Tier 2 general visa application if:
- You wish to change your Tier 2 visa UK job and switch to a different employer
- Your job classification changes to a different standard occupation code and you are not in a graduate training programme
- Your job changes from the shortage occupation list to a category not on the list. However, if you are staying in the same job, but the job is taken off the shortage occupation list, you need not apply again.
A person who is staying with the current employer but his job changes in other ways is not required to make a new application. This will be a change in the job in the same code or an increase in the salary.
People making fresh applications are required to have a new certificate-of-sponsorship besides meeting all other conditions for applying for a Tier 2 visa.
When Can I Start My New Job?
A person can start a new job only after receiving his biometric residence permit with the new Tier 2 visa. A person can, however, continue to work for his previous sponsor until the start date of his new sponsorship, if his current permission to stay is valid.
How Long Can You Remain inside the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?
A person can live in the United Kingdom with a Tier 2 general visa for a period of 5 years and 14 days or the duration mentioned on his certificate-of-sponsorship and one month, the lesser is applicable.
You can start your UK stay up to 14 days before the start date on the certificate-of-sponsorship issued by the employer. You can also apply for an extension of this visa for a period of five years as long as the total duration of your stay does not exceed 6 years.
If you have switched from a Tier 2 sportsperson or Tier 2 minister of religion visa to Tier 2 general visa, any time already spent inside the UK’s borders will be counted to calculate the six years.
How Can I Switch to Tier 2 General Visa?
A person already residing within the United Kingdom on a visa can switch to the Tier 2 visa by applying before the expiry of his current visa. Visa holders of following categories are eligible for applying for a switch to Tier 2 visa:
- Tier 1 visa holders
- Tier 2 sportsperson and minister of religion visa
- Holders of Tier 2 intra company transfer visas under the immigration rules that were in place before April 6, 2010 if they are applying to change the sponsor
- Tier 4 visa holders if they have an eligible qualification or will be completing their course in three months or have completed at least 12 months of a PhD. Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa requirements have to be met.
- Holders of a start-up visa
- Holders of an innovator visa
- You are a dependent partner of a person having a Tier 4 visa
- You are a representative of an overseas business
All other people who wish to switch to a Tier 2 visa must leave the United Kingdom and make their Tier 2 general application from abroad.
Who Can Apply for a Tier 4 Visa?
A) People who have been sponsored by a licensed Tier 4 sponsor for getting a:
- UK Bachelor’s Degree
- UK Master’s Degree
- Professional Graduate Diploma of Education
B) PhD students who have completed at least 12 months of study in their recent time within Great Britain. They must also have a sponsorship from:
- A high education provider listed on the Tier 4 Register of Sponsors
- An overseas higher education institution if they did a short term study abroad programme within Great Britain.
Can a Person’s Family Members Come with Them to the UK on Their Tier 2 UK Visa?
A person’s dependant family members can come with him on his UK visa but they must have a visa if they are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) region or Switzerland.
A dependant can be:
- The applicant’s husband, wife or partner
- Their child below the age of 18
- Their child over 18 if they are currently within the United Kingdom as a dependant
Tier 2 dependent visa requirements or the rules for the Tier 2 partner visa or Tier 2 spouse visa call for the main applicant to show that his dependents can be supported during their time within Great Britain. As per rules each dependent needs to have £630 available to them whether they apply with you separately. This amount is in addition to the £945 required by the applicant for himself. The applicant is required to show proof that he has adequate funds in their or the dependent's bank account for at least 90 days before the application.
Exemption from showing the evidence of your savings is available if the applicant has:
A fully approved sponsor who is A rated.
His certificate-of-sponsorship states that the sponsor will give each of the dependants at least £630 to cover their costs for a month if they need it.
Which Dependents Can Apply from Outside the UK?
A person’s dependent family members have to apply online for their UK visa (except for if they are applying from North Korea). They are also required to give their fingerprints and have a photograph taken at a visa application centre for the biometric residence permit. The biometric residence permit can be collected within 30 days of their arrival inside the UK.
A child over 18 cannot apply from outside the UK. However, he can apply from inside the UK if he is already here as your dependent.
The dependants can apply for extension or switching of their visas to stay with the applicant if they are already within the United Kingdom. It is advisable for the dependents to apply along with you, but they can also apply at a later date.
Family members holding a visitor visa cannot apply within the United Kingdom as your dependent.
In the case of children born inside the UK during your stay there, an online application to add their names to your visa as a dependent can be made. You will need to provide the birth certificate of the child for this. This is essential if you wish to travel in and out of the country with your child.
What Does the UK Tier 2 Visa Entitle Me to Do?
Holders of a UK Tier 2 visa can:
Work for their sponsor in the capacity assigned to them in the certificate-of-sponsorship
- Take up a second job, but only after you have started working for your sponsor
- Do voluntary work
- Bring their family members
- Travel abroad and come back to the UK
The Tier 2 visa restrictions state that a holder of this visa cannot hold more than 10% shares in the sponsor’s business (unless he owns more than £159,600 a year). The holders of this visa are also not entitled to receive any kind of public funds.
When Can I Take Up a Second Job During My Time in the United Kingdom While on a Tier 2 Visa?
A UK Tier 2 visa holder can take up a second job if he is working for up to 20 hours a week in
- Either the same profession as the main job and at the same level
- Or in a profession that comes in the shortage occupation list.
Apart from this, a visa holder can do any kind of unpaid voluntary work.
When Do I Need to Apply for a New Visa?
A person will need to apply for a new visa after getting sponsorship from a second employer. This is possible only after he has started work with the first sponsor. Also the person cannot start working for the second sponsor until his visa for the same has been approved.
The application for the new visa needs to be accompanied by a letter explaining that you wish to change your current permission to stay besides providing details such as your name, date of birth, current certificate-of-sponsorship reference number and the date when your current permission to stay ends.
What is the Shortage Occupation List?
The shortage occupation list defines the category of jobs that have a skill shortage in the United Kingdom. The list is recommended by the country’s Migration Advisory Committee and updated regularly. Tier 2 visa aspirants need to assess whether their skills match that of a job listed in the shortage occupation list. On this basis, they can apply for a job within the United Kingdom.
What is the fee for a Tier 2 Visa to the UK?
The Tier 2 visa fee depends on the type of visa and the applicant’s location.
For visas up to three years:
- Applicants applying from outside the UK have to pay £610 and applicants who are already within Great Britain and wish to switch or extend their jobs, the fee is £704.
- Applicants who are citizens of Turkey or Macedonia are required to pay £555 if they are applying from outside the UK and £649 if they wish to extend or switch jobs.
- In the case of dependent applicants, the fee is £610 per person when they are applying from outside the UK and £704 per person if the job is being extended or switched.
For visas up to 3 years for shortage occupation (jobs where there is a shortage of skilled workers within the United Kingdom)
- Applicants applying from outside the UK for a new job or extension or switching of jobs have to pay a fee of £464.
- Applicants who are citizens of Turkey or Macedonia whether applying for a new job or switching or extending a job have to pay a fee of £409.
- All dependents have to pay a fee of £464 whether for new jobs or extension or switching of jobs.
For visas for more than 3 years:
- For applicants applying for a new job the fee is £1,220 and for the ones switching or extending jobs within Great Britain the fee is £1,408.
- For applicants from Turkey and Macedonia the fee is £1,165 when they are applying from outside the UK and is £1,353 when they are extending or switching their job within the United Kingdom.
- For dependent applicants, the fee if they are applying from outside the UK is £1,220 for each person and if they are switching or extending jobs within the United Kingdom the fee is £1,408 per person.
For visas for more than 3 years for shortage occupations:
- £928 is the fee for applicants applying from outside the UK or the ones switching or extending jobs within the United Kingdom.
- £873 is the fee for applicants from Turkey or Macedonia whether applying from outside the UK or switching or extending jobs within Great Britain.
- For dependents applying from outside the UK or switching or extending the jobs within the United Kingdom the fee is £928.
All applicants have to pay an additional health surcharge while applicants seeking extension or switching of their jobs are required to pay an additional £19.20 for their biometric information which includes a photo and fingerprints.
Can My Tier 2 Visa Processing Time be Speeded Up?
Applicants seeking extension or switching of their jobs in the United Kingdom have an option to get their applications processed on a priority basis by paying an extra charge of £500. In such cases, the processing is completed within 5 working days.
The UK immigration office also offers a Super Priority service at an extra charge of £800. This service means processing of a visa application within a day or two after the biometric information is taken.
The biometric residence permit is issued within ten working days of issuing the decision letter for your visa.
When Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if I Have Been inside the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?
A person within the United Kingdom on a Tier 2 visa or work permit can apply for indefinite leave to remain 28 days before his five-year period within the United Kingdom ends but only if he meets the minimum annual salary requirements. At present a person can:
- Apply for ILR status on or after 6 April 2020 if their salary is more than £36,200
- Apply for ILR status on or after 6 April 2021 if their salary is more than £36,900
- Apply for ILR status on or after 6th April 2022 if their salary is more than £37,900
- Apply for ILR Status on or after 6th April 2023 if their salary is more than £38,800
- Apply for ILR Status on or after 6th April 2024 if their salary is more than £40,100
What is the Tier 2 ICT Visa?
The Tier 2 ICT visa is another category of visa issued to employees of multinational companies on their transfer to the UK branch. The requirements of this category include a valid certificate-of-sponsorship from the employers.
The applicant for this category of visa needs to be from outside the EEA zone and Switzerland besides meeting all the other eligibility requirements for a Tier 2 visa. He needs to also be able to prove that he has worked for the employer outside the UK.
What are the Different Types of Tier 2 ICT Visas?
Intra company transfer visas can be of two types:
Long term staff: This visa category is for people getting transferred to a role that requires them to have had previous working experience with the company. The applicant needs to have worked with the company for over 12 months unless they are ready to pay you £73,900 or more a year to work in Great Britain.
Graduate trainee: This visa option is for people transferred into a graduate trainee program for specialised work. The applicant needs to be a recent graduate with a minimum of three months’ experience with their employer overseas.
When to Apply for a Tier 2 ICT Visa?
The application for tier 2 intra company transfer visas needs to be submitted up to three months prior to their work start date in the United Kingdom. The start date is mentioned by your employer on the sponsorship certificate.
What is the Fee for the Tier 2 ICT Visa?
The fees for your Tier 2 ICT visa will depend on the category for which you are applying and your location. The fee for graduate trainee visas for an applicant and his dependants is £482 per person. The amount stands reduced to £427 if the applicant is from Turkey or Macedonia.
The fee for a long term staff visa of up to three years is £610 per person including dependants if the candidate is applying from outside the UK and £704 if he is extending or switching his job in the country. The fee for Tier 2 ICT visa for long term staff of up to three years is £555 if the person is from Turkey or Macedonia and is applying from outside the UK. The fee is £649 if the person from Turkey or Macedonia is switching jobs or extending a job within the United Kingdom.
The fee for a long term staff visa of more than three years is £1,220 per person including dependents if the applicant is applying from outside the UK. The fee is £1,408 if the person is extending or switching his position within the United Kingdom. In the case of citizens of Turkey and Macedonia, the fee is £1,165 when the applicant is outside the UK and £1,353 when he is extending or switching jobs within the United Kingdom.
Additional charges in the form of healthcare surcharges and biometric information will be applicable.
How Long Can I Remain in the United Kingdom on a Tier 2 ICT Visa?
Holders of Tier 2 ICT visa can remain within the United Kingdom for the maximum time allowed for their visa type or the duration mentioned on their sponsorship certificate, whichever is shorter. As per the UK immigration rules, the maximum stay allowed for the various categories of Tier 2 ICT visa are:
- Long term staff visa holders can stay for 9 years if they are earning over £120,000 annually. If they earn less than £120,000 annually, they can remain within the United Kingdom for a period of 5 years and one month, at the most.
- Graduate trainees can stay for a period of 12 months, at the most.
Your time within the United Kingdom can be started 14 days before the start date on the sponsorship-certificate.
What Does the Tier 2 ICT Visa Entitle Me to?
Holders of Tier 2 intra company transfer visa can only start working after they get the visa. Also they do not have any entitlement to UK public funds.
However, they have the following entitlements:
- They can work for their sponsor in the job described in their sponsorship-certificate.
- They can take up a 2nd job in the same profession and at the same level of the main job for up to 20 hours per week.
- They can do any kind of voluntary work.
- They can study as long as it does not interfere with their sponsored job.
- They can travel out of the United Kingdom and return back.
- They can bring their family members along with them to the United Kingdoms.
What is the Appropriate Salary for Tier 2 ICT Visas?
The appropriate salary norms for the Tier 2 intra company transfer visa call for a minimum salary of £41,500 for long-term staff and £23,000 for graduate trainees. However, the salary requirements for the visa will vary if the applicant is:
- Extending his Tier 2 ICT visa
- Has been working in the United Kingdom for less than 12 months
- Is to be paid at an hourly rate
- Will be working for a set number of hours
What is the Requirement for Tier 2 ICT Visa Applicants Relating to Proof of Work with the Employer Outside the UK?
Applicants applying for a Tier 2 ICT visa will be asked to provide proof of their work with the employer outside the UK for a certain period of time which varies on the type of visa applied. In certain cases, the applicants will also be required to show that they have been paid by the employer over this period.
The length of time for which the applicant has to show proof of work is 12 months if the application is for the long term staff category with an annual salary of up to £73,900. In the case of applicants who have applied for the Long term staff category with a salary of over £73,900 there is no minimum time requirement for proof.
Applicants for the Graduate Trainee Tier 2 ICT visa have to give proof of having worked outside the UK for 3 months with the employer.
Proof of getting payment can be shown by presenting printed payslips or online payslips that are supported by a letter from the sponsor. The letter needs to have been signed by a senior staff of the sponsor employer. Applicants can also submit bank statements or a building society pass book.
What is a Tier 2 Health and Care Visa?
Another category in Tier 2 UK visas is the Health and Care visa which is available to people who have a career in the field of healthcare and medical care. Qualified doctors, nurses, health professionals and social care professionals having job offers from the NHS or organisations providing medical services to the NHS or organisations providing adult social care are eligible for this category of Tier 2 visa. The applicants have to be from outside the EEA and Switzerland regions.
Other requirements and the time for applying for this visa remain the same as the Tier 1 general visa.
What is the Fee for the Tier 2 Health and Care Visa?
The fee for a three-year Tier 2 Health and Care visa is £232 and for a visa for a period of more than 3 years is £464. The fee is the same for all the applicants including the dependants and the amount remains the same whether the applicant is applying from inside the country or outside the country.
The fee for the residents of Turkey and Macedonia for a visa of up to three years is £177 and a visa for more than 3 years’ costs £409.
How Can Brtiishpassportsuk.co.uk Help Me?
Brtishpassportsuk.co.uk can help you in your Tier 2 visa applications, guide you about the whole process, the requirements and the applicable rules. Our team has years of experience in providing immigration services and consultancy to thousands of clients. We can also assist you in finding out your eligibility of a specific category of a visa and its requirements and entitlements. Get in touch with us at 0207 043 2167 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.