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Tier 2 Visas

The requirements of the Tier 2 General visa category are that the applicant must have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) issued by a licenced sponsor based in the UK. Depending on whether the application is in or out of the country, they will need a restricted or unrestricted COS depending on their circumstances.

Tier 2 Work Permit Requirements
Candidates applying for a Tier 2 permit are assessed as follows and points awarded accordingly:

  • UK Earnings - The prospective earnings a candidate will be paid once in the UK by their sponsoring employer will be credited following a points-based system.
  • Job Offered - The position of the job on offer must be at least at graduate level. PhD level roles and applicants on the Shortage Occupation List will be allocated more points than those using the Resident Labour Market Test.
  • English language requirement - Passing an English language test or having an academic qualification taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC
  • Maintenance requirement - Applicants must ensure that they are able to maintain themselves financially, along with any dependants without recourse to public funds.

Under the Tier 2 visa category the initial leave to enter or leave to remain can be granted for up to 5 years. A further extension to bring the total to 6 years can be granted.

Tier 2 extension of stay in the UK
If a visa extension is required with the same sponsor all of the following requirements must be met:

  • A COS has been assigned for the same role
  • The job role is at the appropriate skill level
  • The salary is appropriate for the role.

Change of employment
If the job role is changing but the work is continuing with the same sponsor and SOC code is different for the new role, an application must be made and satisfy the RMLT requirement. Some job roles are categorised as exempt and an application is therefore not necessary. If there is a change to the employer, a new application under the Tier 2 General category must be made. The application has to be approved by the UKVI before employment commences with the new sponsor.

Settlement in the UK
Settlement in the UK for Tier 2 applicants with leave to enter or leave to remain may be possible subject to completion of five years in the UK and meeting the relevant requirements. Tier 2 migrants are allowed absences of up to 180 days per year. However, the applicant will need to meet the rules for the settlement, and they cannot be outside the UK more than 90 days in the last 12 months and 450 in the last five years .


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