Britain boasts a diverse and open economic landscape, which welcomes talented workers and skilled individuals from all over the world. In order to further their growth and development, British businesses are constantly on the lookout for talented new recruits at home and abroad.
Unfortunately, the process of bringing overseas talent to live and work in the United Kingdom legally can be complex and time-consuming. To avoid unnecessary delays and potentially heavy penalties, it’s important to seek expert legal advice from the earliest possible stage.
From start to finish, you can count on Aristone Solicitors to support your Tier 2 Workers visa application and any subsequent appeals as necessary.
Tier 2 Workers General Visa
The Tier 2 General visa category was introduced as a replacement for the now defunct Tier 1 General immigration category. The UK’s Tier 2 visa category contains a wide variety of subcategories, which include Minister of Religion, Sportsperson, Intra-Company Transfer and General migrant categories.
In all instances, it is necessary for the applicant to obtain and present an official certificate of sponsorship, in order to qualify for any of these Tier 2 visas. In addition, the Tier 2 migrant pathway is a points-based system, which means the applicant must score a minimum of 70 points to qualify, while at the same time demonstrating English language skills at a certain level.
As of 2011, an annual cap of 20,700 has been placed on the number of applicants able to qualify for a Tier 2 visa. As a result, eligibility can be affected simply by the volume of applications at the time of submission. Nevertheless, there are various exemptions and not all migrants looking to enter the United Kingdom fall within the confines of this annual limit. Hence, we strongly suggest speaking to a member of our legal team, prior to submitting your application.
Our experience and expertise extend to the following visa and sponsorship categories:
- Tier 2 Licence
- Tier 2 Licence Extensions
- Tier 2 Compliance
- Tier 2 Mock Audits
- Tier 2 Standard Occupation List (SOC) advice
- Tier 2 Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) advice
- Tier 2 Sponsorship Management System (SMS) advice
- Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) application
- Tier 2 Advertisement drafting
- Tier 2 (General) visa applications
- Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa applications
- Tier 2 Sportsperson visa applications
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applications
Call today to book your obligation-free consultation with one of our experts.
Tier 2 Workers (General) Initial Application
In order to qualify, your employer must provide you with a valid certificate of sponsorship (COS) to support your application, which meets one or more of the following requirements:
- An annual salary in excess of £155,300
- The sponsor has completed a Resident Labour Market Test
- The job appears on the Shortage Occupation List
(20 Points Awarded)
A certificate of sponsorship requires that the employer is formally licensed and committed to pursue and employee workers from outside the EEA, having received permission from the Home Office/UKBA. If you have any doubts as to whether your employer meets these requirements, Aristone Solicitors can help. Likewise, if your employer is not able to provide you with a valid certificate of sponsorship, we can assist and support their licence application accordingly. Our experienced corporate immigration lawyers will do whatever it takes to streamline and simplify your legal entry to the United Kingdom.
Appropriate Salary and Allowances
(20 Points Awarded)
In order to qualify, you must be applying for a position that is officially classified by the UKBA as skilled and therefore appears on the shortage occupation list. In addition, the job must attach a minimum salary to meet the UK Visas & Immigration Codes of Practice, which currently stands at £20,800 per annum for a skilled job. Exemptions apply in instances where the Home Office considers a prospective migrant to possess a shortage skill of value to the UK, or where the salary offered is a minimum of £155,300.
Formal English Language Requirement
(10 Points Awarded)
Formal evidence must be provided of English language skills to an acceptable level, measured in accordance with CEFR B1 standards. Fulfilling UK immigration English language requirements under the Tier 2 can be achieved in one of the following three ways:
- By passing an English language test that has been approved by the UKVI (IELTS or Trinity College) at B1 level of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework CEFR;
- By being a national of a recognised English-speaking country outside the EEA;
- By holding a degree-level qualification or higher that was taught in English at a recognised educational institution.
Exemptions apply for some applicants who are not required to provide evidence of their English language skills. Examples of which include the following:
- Applicants who qualify under the transitional arrangements
- Applicants last granted entry to the United Kingdom under the Tier 2 General rules in place before 6 April 2011;
who have ever been granted leave to remain in the United Kingdom:
- under the Tier 1 (General) category, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category or as a Businessperson or under Tier 1 (Post Study Work) category; or
- as a Highly Skilled Migrant under the new legislation imposed as of 5 December 2006; or
- under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category, having previously submitted evidence of English language skills to level B1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning or above; or
- under the Minister of Religion category (not Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)) under the rules in place on or after 19 April 2007; or
- under the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) category, having previously submitted evidence of meeting the English language requirement; or
- under the Tier 2 (General) category under the rules in place on or after 6 April 2011, having previously submitted evidence of English language skills equivalent to level B1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning or above; or
- as a Tier 4 (General) student where the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies used to support your application for that grant was assigned on or after 21 April 2011. If you are applying for Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), the Certificate of Acceptance of Studies must also have been assigned for a course of at least degree-level study.
In order to qualify for entry to the United Kingdom, a minimum of 10 points must be scored under the English language requirements category – in accordance with Appendix B of the Immigration Rules.
Meeting Minimum Maintenance Requirements
(10 Points Awarded)
Maintenance refers to the availability of funds at the time of the prospective migrant’s application, which should be sufficient to cover their expenses without recourse to public funds. Current Tier 2 immigration legislation specifies the following:
- The applicant must have a minimum of £945 in personal savings at the time of their application, which must have been in their own personal bank account for at least 90 consecutive days;
- A-rated (Premium), A-rated (SME+) or A-rated sponsors can certify the maintenance on behalf of the applicant, which must be indicated on the Certificate of Sponsorship submitted;
- For prospective migrants who wish to include dependants on their application, additional personal savings of £630 per family member is required and evidence must be provided accordingly. Again, the savings must have been held for a minimum of 90 consecutive days in the applicant’s account.
Once again, exemptions apply in some instances and all cases are different. Aristone Solicitors strongly recommends seeking legal support at the earliest possible stage, which can significantly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Book your obligation-free consultation today with one of our immigration experts.
Tier 2 Workers (General) Extension
Tier 2 General visa holders have the option of applying for an extension of their granted period of leave, on the condition that their application is submitted before their current visa expires and they have complied with all terms and conditions governing their stay in the UK. There is no allowance for submitting visa extension applications from outside United Kingdom and the applicant must hold the same position with the same employer at the time.
Tier 2 General Visa Permissions
While residing in the United Kingdom on a Tier 2 General visa, the holder is entitled to pursue additional employment opportunities under the following conditions:
- It takes place outside their normal working hours;
- The additional employment is part-time (20 hours max per week);
- It falls within the same specialist area/profession for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was provided and at a similar level.
Tier 2 General visa holders can also participate in voluntary work and general unpaid activities with significantly fewer restrictions.
Tier 2 General Visa Restrictions
The UK Home Office outlines a series of important restrictions all Tier 2 General visa holders must abide by, including but not limited to the following:
- You must not set up a business in the UK;
- You must not enter into self-employment;
- You must not own more than a 10% stake in the company sponsoring your application;
- You must not become a partner or director of the business without being authorised to do so by the Home Office.
Migrants found to be in breach of any of the conditions governing their stay in the United Kingdom could have their visas revoked and be denied re-entry at a later date.
Switching from Tier 4 General Visa to Tier 2 General Visa
While it is possible to switch from a Tier 4 General visa to a Tier 2 General visa, it is an option restricted exclusively to candidates who have:
- Completed and passed a recognised degree-level qualification or higher. Acceptable achievements include a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of education.
- Ph.D. students who have been studying for a Ph.D. in the United Kingdom for a minimum of 12 months at the time of their application, at a recognised UK institution or listed body. All such applications must be submitted from inside the UK.
If the above requirements are met, it will not be necessary for the applicant to undergo the Resident Labour Market Test to measure the appropriateness of the position being offered to the non-EEA national. However, all other standard formalities and qualification criteria apply, which must be carefully considered before submitting your application.
Switching from Tier 1 Post-Study Work (PSW) to Tier 2 General Visa
Individuals who currently hold a Tier 1 PSW visa may be eligible for an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship from their employer, under the condition that the specified job meets all general requirements of the Code of Standards.
Change of Employment Applications
If you plan to move from one employer to another, a new Certificate of Sponsorship must be provided and all applicable visa requirements met. Even if you switch to a different role and job title with the same employer, an application for change of employment is required.
Change of employment applications are necessary in the following circumstances:
- The primary duties of your position change to such an extent that the original Code of Practice or Standard Occupation Code (SOC) is no longer applicable;
- Your new position involves duties that no longer qualify for the Shortage Occupation List and are instead categorised under the Standard Occupation Code (SOC);
- A lower salary is offered than that which was specified on your original Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), unless the reduction is due to maternity, paternity, adoption leave and/or sick pay lasting longer than one month, or reflects company-wide pay-cuts.
If you intend to change your position or employer at any time while working under a Tier 2 visa, it is essential to know where you stand in a legal sense. Contact the corporate immigration experts at Aristone Solicitors today for an obligation-free consultation.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Under Tier 2 Visa General
The primary requirement that must be met to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain under the Tier 2 General visa scheme is five years of continuous and legitimate residency in the United Kingdom. However, new legislation was introduced in April 2019, imposing a minimum salary requirement of £35,800 per year. Your eligibility for ILR in accordance with your annual salary will therefore be determined by your date of entry to the United Kingdom.
If interested in applying for indefinite leave to remain but unsure of your eligibility, contact the team at Aristone Solicitors today.
It may also be possible to combine time spent in the United Kingdom under a series of immigration categories, on the condition that your most recent leave to remain was granted under the Tier 2 category. Examples of which include:
- Tier 1 (General / Investor / Entrepreneur)
- Self-employed Lawyer
- Highly Skilled Migrant Program
- Writer, Composer or Artist
Premium/PEO Appointments for Tier 2 Visa Applications
Where time is a factor, the option exists to fast-track Tier 2 Workers visa applications and receive a response the very same day. The nature and complexity of the case will determine eligibility for a premium/PEO appointment, so be sure to contact Aristone Solicitors if a speedy resolution is preferable.
From start to finish, our experienced immigration lawyers will provide the support and consultancy you need to understand your position and choose the best possible course of action. We’ll ensure your application is backed by the complete and compelling evidence necessary to ensure a prompt and positive outcome.
For more information or to discuss your case in more detail, book your obligation-free consultation with Aristone Solicitors today.