The Tier 2 visa is currently one of the most preferred and common route for skilled workers outside the European Economic Area to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. To be able to apply for entry under this visa scheme, the most important thing is that you must be in possession of a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship commonly known as ‘CoS’ from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship license. Besides that, you must fulfill the requirements of the Tier 2 subcategory for which you are applying.
Tier 2 visa is divided into the below categories:
- Tier 2 General
- Intra Company Transfer
- Sports People visa
- Ministers of Religion
Tier 2 General
If you are coming to the United Kingdom because you already have a job offer to fill a vacancy position that your employer could not fill by someone within the EEA, you will have to apply for a Tier 2 General visa.In order to be eligible, you must have a certificate of sponsorship, an appropriate salary, knowledge of the English language, and savings of £945 in your bank account for 90 days prior to your application.To apply you will need 70 points under the PBS. To be granted a Tier 2 Visa under the general category, you must score 50 points by providing a certificate of sponsorship and evidence of an appropriate salary, and the remaining 20 points for English language ability and maintenance funds.
In 2011, an annual cap on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas was introduced. It currently stands at 20,700. People who earn £150,000 a year or above or switching from within the UK under unrestricted category are excluded from the cap.
What you can do:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
- Do a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week
- Do a job which has a shortage of workers in the UK for up to 20 hours per week
- Partake in voluntary work
- Study as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
- Bring family members with you
What you can’t do:
- Own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless earning over £153,500 a year)
- Get public funds
- Start working before you get the visa
- Apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor
Intra Company Transfer
This visa is for employees of multi-national companies who are being transferred by an overseas employer to a skilled job in a UK-based branch of the organization.
There are four different categories of the Intra Company Transfer visa:
- Long-term staff– for skilled employees who are to be transferred to the UK branch of their organization for a longer period than 12 months to fill a position that cannot be filled by a new worker from the resident workforce.
- Short-term staff– for skilled employees who will be transferred to the UK branch of their organization for 12 months or less to fill a position that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce.
- Graduate trainee– this route allows the transfer of recent graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organization, as part of a structured graduate training programme, which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role.
- Skills transfer– this route allows the transfer of new graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organization to learn the skills and knowledge required to perform their job overseas, or to teach their specialist skills or knowledge to the UK workforce.
This is for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level.In order for a Certificate of Sponsorship to be issued, your sponsor will need to have obtained an endorsement for you from the appropriate governing body for your sport.
The endorsement will confirm that:
- You are internationally established as a player or coach at the highest level
- You will make a significant contribution to the development of your sport at the highest level in the UK
- You intend to be based in the UK for the duration of your permission to stay
- Your post could not be filled by a suitable settled worker.
Ministers of Religion
This category is for those people coming to fill a vacancy as a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order.In order to claim points you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your sponsor. The category includes anyone who acts as a minister, whether regularly or on a one and off occasion, and/or performs pastoral duties. Other religious workers may be joining a monastic community of monks or nuns or a similar religious community involving a permanent commitment.
Points Scoring Criteria:
Job offer and sponsorship – 30 Points
You will receive 30 points if you have a valid Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship from your employer. You are eligible for a Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship if one of the following applies to you:
- The job is on the shortage occupation list *
- Your sponsor has completed a resident labor market test.
- You will be paid £150,000 or more per year (very few people earn this much).
English Language Ability – 10 Points
You must score 10 points for your English language ability or you will not be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa extension. To qualify for 10 points under the Tier 2 (General) points-based test you must prove that your English is at least at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). However, you will not have to do so if one of the following applies to you:
- You were last given leave to remain in the UK under the Tier 1 (General) or the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa tiers or as a businessperson, a work permit holder, a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcaster, a member of the ground staff of an overseas airline or a Jewish agency employee
- You come from a majority English-speaking country
- You have a degree which was taught in English)
Maintenance – 10 Points
You must score ten points in this category to qualify for a Tier 2 (General) visa. You will automatically score ten points if you are currently in the UK in any of the following immigration categories:
- Any Tier 2 visa category
- Work permit holder
- Jewish agency employee
- Member of ground-staff for an overseas-owned airline
- Minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order
- Representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organization.
- Alternatively, you can score ten points if you can show that one of the following applies to you
- You have at least £900 in savings which must have been in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you make your application:
- Your sponsor has an A rating and has confirmed that it will maintain and accommodate you until the end of your first month in the UK.
For 2012/13 and 2013/14 there is a cap of 20,700 on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas that can be issued under restricted category. The annual limit begins each year on 6th April. Workers earning more than £150,000 a year are excluded from the cap. There is no limit on the number of workers earning more than £150,000 a year who can work in the UK.
Tier 2 Scam/Fraudulent Activity
Tier 2 route is notoriously associated with a lot of scam and fraudulent activities and we urge all our clients to be vigilant when obtaining a CoS from any individual/company. The scam ranges from individuals offering CoS claiming to be from company on the sponsors register to calling Tier 2 migrants posing to be from home office asking to make payment to avoid deportation.
Please give us a call on 0330 058 3929 to get expert advice on Tier 2 visas.