Apply for Tier 2 General Visa
At Master Legal Services Ltd, we have extensive experience in advising and processing Tier 2 (General) Visa applications for our clients, inside and outside of the UK.
Who Can Apply For A Tier 2 General Visa
You would be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (General) Visa if you are a non-EEA national who has secured skilled employment in the UK. Before applying for the visa, you should have a have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from an organisation that has a sponsor licence.
Applying From Outside of The UK
If you are applying from outside the UK, your employer must be able to provide evidence that there are no settled workers (i.e. British/EEA nationals or those with indefinite leave) who are able to do the job. Your employer needs to have conducted the Resident Labour Market Test (‘RLMT’) to evidence the lack of suitable settled worker.
Shortage of Occupations list
However, if your job is listed on the Shortage of Occupations list then there is no need for the RLMT and certain other requirements need not be met. There many other scenarios where an employer does not need to conduct the RLMT.
More About The Process
When you can apply: You can send off your application up to 3months before the date that you are due to start your employment.
Information you will be asked to provide with your application:
- You will be asked to provide your certificate of sponsorship
- You will be required to show that you are able to financial maintain yourself in the UK.
- There is an English Language requirement
- There is a requirement to provide a Criminal Record Certificate
- People from certain countries (listed by the Home Office) will be asked to provide Tuberculosis Test Certificate
Family Members (‘dependants’): You can apply to bring your family members with you as dependants on your application, subject to meeting requirements. This includes being able to prove that they can be financially supported.
If you are applying from outside of the UK, the Home Office will aim to give you a decision in your application within 3 weeks.
If your application is successful, you can stay in the UK with this Visa for a You can come maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.
Tier 2 Skilled Worker: Categories
The categories of Tier 2 Skilled Workers are four in number and include the following:
Tier 2 (General)
Individuals coming into the United Kingdom with skilled job offers which cannot be taken up by resident workers come under this category. Another set of eligible people are those coming into Britain to take up job positions available on the Shortage Occupation List.
Here the normal CoS has an annual limit and is referred to as Restricted Certificates of Sponsorships. However, the annual limit does not affect some applicants under Tier 2 General. People in this category include those coming in to take up positions offering salaries of £159, 600 or more and this must be guaranteed. Other applicants are individuals linked to the inner investment provisions as well as several applications from in-country switching. One set of people who are subject to the Tier 2 General annual limit are immigrants who wish to switch into Tier 2 and hold visa which indicate that they are the dependent of Tier 4 category.
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
This group is for all immigrants coming into the United Kingdom as missionaries, religion ministers or members. In every case, they must be employed within their various faith communities in the United Kingdom.
Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
This group includes the best sportsmen and women whose services will offer important contribution to British sports, this significant impute has to come at the highest level.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer
Multi-national organizations or companies whose skilled staff needs to transfer to the British branch of the company come under this group
Tier 2 Skilled Worker Qualification process
For a Tier 2 Skilled Worker, the qualification process entails having an already existing skilled employment offer along with a CoS from a licensed British sponsor. The reference number on your CoS which is a virtual document must be unique and the document contains the details on the job and the applicant’s personal information.
The standard for this category of worker demands that applicant can only qualify by scoring at least 70 points which will entail points linked to the CoS. Applicants are expected to obtain the CoS from their prospective British employers in connection to an appropriate job position qualified for sponsorship under Tier 2.
Tier 2 worker Maintenance funds for Visa
You must have evidence of the minimum funds required to cover the living and accommodation funds for both you and your dependents. This fund must be in saved money showing £945 for personal and £630 for dependents. The only people who are exempted are those whose accommodation and living cost have been undertaken by their sponsoring employer. In such circumstance, official documents from your sponsoring employer have to be submitted as proof. You also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge in the UK as part of your application.
Note that: Holders of Tier 2 work permit have the right to submit applications for their dependents to join them in Britain. These dependents include unmarried partner, married partner, and kids who will be granted the same duration of leave like the Tier 2 worker. Besides, they have the right to get employment without any form of restriction in the United Kingdom.
Tier 2 Skilled Workers – Duration of Stay
For the Tier 2 skilled worker under the general category, they can be granted up to 5 years leave which can be extended to six years. Applicants who were previously under Tier 4 and have the wish to switch to Tier 2 and whose sponsoring employer is willing to pay the lower “New Entrant” rate can only get it paid for the initial three years on the job. After that, the rate for higher “Experienced Worker” has to be paid. Therefore, applicants under these conditions may only be granted three-year-visa to begin with but it is possible to extend it later after paying the higher rate.
It is expected that migrants who were not able to meet the criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain must leave the country at the expiration of their leave. They must observe a one year waiting period before putting in another application to come back to UK under Tier 2. The 12 months period is applicable to all workers under Tier 2 who had to leave the UK.
Tier 2 General ILR qualifying period
Tier 2 General visa holders can be eligible to submit applications for ILR after they have lived in Britain continuously for five years.
While your ILR can be granted under Tier 2 Visa Category, you can meet your continuous five years required under the combination of different visa routes like;
- Tier 2 Visa for General
- Tier 2 Visa for Minister of Religion
- Tier 2 Visa for Sportsperson
- Tier 1 Visa for Exceptional Talent
- Tier 1 Visa for Entrepreneur
- Tier 1 Migrant for Investor
- Tier 1 Migrant for General
- An Oversea Business Representative
- Holder of Work Permit
- Highly Skilled Migrants.
Your ILR application qualifying period starts immediately your entrance clearance or leave to remain is approved. Only the recent five years will be taken into considerations for individuals who have exceeded five years in Britain.
Before applying for ILR, applicants who delayed to come into the UK after their visa approval date may be required to complete their qualifying period by applying for an extension.
Switching To Tier 2 General Visa
For in-country applications, migrants with visas in the following categories can switch into this category:
- Any Tier 1 main applicant
- Any Tier 2 main applicant
- Tier 4 student
- Dependent partner of a Tier 4 student
- Representative of an Overseas Business
Extending your Tier 2 General Visa
You can make an extension application if you need to extend your stay in the UK and you are applying to continue in the same job for the same sponsor. You must have current permission to enter or stay on a Tier 2 (General) visa and should make the application before your visa expires.
You may be permitted to extend your visa for up to 5 years as long as your stay in the UK is not more than 6 years in total.
In order to apply for an extension application, you must meet the following conditions:
- you have the same job as when you were issued your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK
- you’re still working for the employer who assigned your certificate of sponsorship
- you’re still earning an ‘appropriate salary’.
The appropriate salary is stated by policy guidance as £30,000 or the appropriate rate for the job, whichever is the higher. There is a lower threshold for the for those who are considered as new entrants, but this wouldn’t generally apply to extension application.
Please note that you cannot apply for an extension if you are applying from outside the UK, or switching from another category, or changing employment.
Applying as for Settlement as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant:
You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain following a period of 5 years (the ‘qualifying period’) continuous leave in this route.
This qualifying period can include time from the date your initial application (for entry clearance or leave to remain) was approved.
You cannot have had more than 180 days’ absence from the United Kingdom during any consecutive 12 month period within the 5 year period. However, if any of your absences are in connection with employment you will need to provide a letter from the relevant employer detailing the purpose and period of absences, including periods of annual leave.
In addition, as a Tier 2 migrant, you will still be required by your current Sponsor in the role recorded on your Certificate of Sponsorship for the foreseeable future and show evidence of your earnings. There is a minimum threshold of how much you should be earning. Currently the earning threshold is £35,500, if you apply for settlement after 6 April 2018.
Finally, you will be required to demonstrate knowledge of the English language and life in the United Kingdom before you can be granted
The current fee for settlement applications is £2,389.
Absences under Tier 2 General Visa
For Tier 2 General visa category ILR applicants should not have above 180 days absence from Britain in any successive 12 months period within the five years. Please note that the 180 days of absence was previously for the entire five years successive period from your application date before the most recent update.
The new rule will be applied to applications whose applications were received after the 28th of July 2018 and it judges absence on a rolling basis instead of in distinct successive 12-month period.
In your application, you are required to list all the days of absence during your period of qualification and the reasons for it.
One major grounds for ILR application refusal is non-compliance with the absence, but discretion can be applied to the qualifying period in some circumstances like when the absent rule results in extremely harsh consequences. In this case, recommendations are that you give a full explanation in a covering letter.
English Language Requirement for Tier 2 ILR Applicants
Tier 2 visa holder must meet the English language requirement while submitting their applications for ILR and recommendations from UKVI guidance maintain that a proof of one of following must be submitted;
- Listening and speaking qualifications in English should be at B1 level or higher than that of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
- Degree qualification should be English based
- Citizen of English-speaking country
Requirement for Life in the UK for Tier 2 ILR
To meet this criterion, UKVI expects applicants to pass the Life in the UK test in which you are required to score 75% and above in a test consisting of 24 questions on Life in the UK.
Tier 2 Visa Holders prior to 6th April 2011
Applicants who received Tier 2 Visa prior to 6th April 2011 will not be affected by the present change in rule with six-year residency limit and they are eligible to request for Tier 2 visa extensions.
Immigrants who hold work visa under Tier 2 General are eligible to submit applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), but you need to meet some certain requirements;
- You need to meet the conditions for the first Tier 2 General Work visa.
- Documents to prove absence from the United Kingdom has to be provided. It should not exceed the stipulated maximum number of the days allowed for absence from the UK.
- A legal Tier 2 sponsor has to equip the applicant with a CoS. The sponsor must still be a holder of a Tier 2 Sponsorship license for that particular category or have already submitted an application for renewal. The sponsor’s willingness to continue keeping the applicant under his employment for a specified period and salary must be clearly stated on the CoS.
- Another important requirement is that the applicant must have a good understanding of life in the United Kingdom as well as the English language.
- As an applicant, you shouldn’t be found guilty of immigration offences including any history of overstay in Britain.
Documents Required for Tier 2 ILR
Some of the essential documents are;
- Your present sponsor’s confirmation letter, with your job details well stated and confirming that your employment is well secured for the foreseeable future
- Documented evidence of absence with reasons during the qualifying period.
- Your present sponsors confirmation of your Gross yearly earnings
- Documented evidence of your income to meet the minimum threshold
- Personal bank statement and payslips
Validity of Indefinite Leave to Remain Status through Tier 2 General Route
Similar to other routes, you will forfeit your ILR if you stay more than two years outside the UK. Your entitlement for the ILR will equally be lost if after securing the status; you proceed to spend more than two years outside Britain, and you will seek entry clearance all over again.
Tier 2 Minimum Salary: the Meaning
Generally, all PBS employee must receive the appropriate minimum salary or above, to qualify under Tier 2 visa requirements. Here, the pertinent SOC code sets the level of income for any job, which necessitates that the companies or employers should be sure of choosing the right code for the position they want to recruit for.
The essence of the SOC code is that it evaluates the appropriate skill level as well as the matching income level for each particular position. Recommendations are that, if companies fail to find an exact match, they should choose the code which is closest in a match to the particular job description they wish to hire and sponsor an employee for.
The employer can go ahead and allocate the applicable COS (Certificate of Sponsorship) once the relevant SOC Code is chosen. Sponsors will not have the permission to assign the COS if they don’t meet the proper income level.
Minimum Tier 2 Income for both experienced hands and new entrant
- Employees who come as new entrant are likely to receive a lesser Tier 2 minimum income level.
- Employees who are categorized as new entrant must;
- Must be within the United Kingdom and wishes to make a switch or change from Tier 4 (General) – this must be after the completion of their course.
- Must submit applications for leave under the sub-category of Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee.
- Their age as at the time of submitting their application must fall below 26.
- They only become eligible to submit applications if the entire time they have spent in the United Kingdom together with their Tier 2 status come to three years and a month in the least. Also, they cannot be submitting an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
- Any employee who fails short of these requirements will be considered in the category of experienced workers.
Tier 2 Minimum Income for visa holders under Tier 2 General
Under this route, the applicable levels of salary threshold are two in number:
- For the new entrants, it is £20,800, but there are still specific exceptions
- £30,000 annual income applies to every other position.
An exception is found in a situation where the pertinent SOC code specifies a higher rate; in cases like this, it is the higher rate that will prevail.
Tier 2 Minimum Income for workers who are holders of the ICT visa under the route for Tier 2 General, employees who go on intracompany transfers receive a higher minimum income with the least annual wage pegged at of £41,500. The only exception is when a higher rate is set for experienced employees under the applicable SOC code.
A worker who falls under Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainees must receive above £23,000 annually, or whatever new entrant rate is applicable for the related SOC code.
Tier 2 Minimum Salary: Submitting applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain
There is a new procedure for holders of Tier 2 visa making applications to settle down in Britain via ILR.
Under the category of Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 workers that have held leave for a total of five years are eligible to submit applications for settlement; however, the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain must be met – this entails a minimum income level. The only people that enjoy exemptions from the least income requirement for ILR are the ones with a position on the Shortage Occupation List as well as skilled to a Ph.D. level.
The Thresholds increase on a yearly basis; they come thus:
- Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain submitted prior to April 6, 2019: £35,500
- Applications for ILR submitted prior to April 6, 2020: £35,800
- Applications for ILR submitted prior to April 6, 2021: £36,200
- Applications for ILR submitted prior to April 6, 2022: £36,900
- Applications for ILR submitted on or prior to April 6, 2022: £37,900
Alterations made to Tier 2 Visa Minimum Salary
Many alterations have been made to the Tier 2 minimum salary, according to the Home Office, the provisional exclusion of non-European Economic Area secondary STEM and mandarin nurses, teachers, medical radiographers and paramedics from the £30,000 income threshold is going to be permanent. The effective date for them to meet up with the lesser £20,800 annual minimum income to be eligible as Tier 2 is the 30th of March 2019. Even more changes loom ahead.
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