Tier 2 (General) visa is an important category following the closure of Tier 1 (General) to new applicants. Tier 2 has several sub categories allowing applicants to apply for temporary employment, long term employment (Tier 2 (General)), transfer from a company based overseas to a company in the UK (Intra Company Transfer), sports people involved at a high level in their sport (Sportsperson), and religious workers, (Minister of Religion). As this is a points based system category, you will need to meet the 70 points to qualify together with the maintenance and English language requirements. In 2011 the government introduced a cap on the number of applicants able to apply, which may affect your application. This cap does not apply to all migrants and you are encouraged to investigate whether you fall into the affected category. We are happy to discuss this with you over the phone.
Tier 2 Visa Requirements
To make an application as a Tier 2 (General) migrant, you must first have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from your employer. Therefore your employer must be licensed and able to employ non EEA nationals to work for them, having gained the authority of the UKBA/Home Office. This is called an employer sponsor Licence. If you are unsure of whether your employer is approved, Reiss Edwards can assist in confirming this for you. If your employer does not have a licence, please contact us to find out how we can help with a Tier 2 Sponsor licence application. There are various types of licences and requirements, depending on what you and your employer require. We have a designated corporate immigration team able to assist you with securing a licence and a Tier 2 visa.
Your position must be regarded as skilled by the UKBA to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa, and so be on the UKBA’s occupation list or Shortage Occupation list. In order to confirm if your position is listed, contact us for a free telephone consultation. If your job title is considered to be skilled, you will also be required to earn a minimum salary which will match with that job title; this information is broken down into Codes of Practice. If the UKBA/Home Office regards your skill as a shortage skill, you may be exempt from some of the requirements. These exemptions include the need to advertise the job to the UK labour market. If you earn over a set salary which is currently £150,000, you may be entitled to further exemptions when applying.
If you hold certain types of visas, you may also qualify for an exemption of some Tier 2 requirements. As everybody has a different set of circumstances, we are happy to discuss this with you without charge over the phone or in person. Submit an online enquiry or call us using the telephone number above.
Can I switch from Tier 4 (General) to Tier 2 (General)
The right to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 is limited to applicants whom have;
1. Successfully completed (with a pass mark) a UK recognised bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of education. For those studying for a PHD, you can apply for a Tier 2 visa if you have completed a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD during your current period of leave or a period of continuous leave which includes your last grant of leave; and
2. You studied for the eligible award at a UK institution recognised or listed body, or an education provider holding a licence for sponsoring students under Tier 4 of the Points-Based system; and
3. You make your application for a Tier 2 (General) visa from inside the UK.
If you meet the above requirements for switching into the Tier 2 category, you will not be subjected to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) which is the requirement to advertise the job appropriately to the UK labour marker before offering the non-European national the position.
There are various forms of Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) that can be applied for on the licence SMS system, in the case of an applicant switching to Tier 2 from inside the UK, an application for a unrestricted COS will be made. The normal formalities in qualifying for the visa, as includes in the codes of practice and cited above, must also be met before applying.