If you hold a Tier 2 General visa, you will be able to extend your leave to remain in the UK. This will depend on when you have first entered the UK on the Tier 2 General visa, or if you are switching your category, then limited immigration categories are allowed to extend their leave under the Tier 2 General visa route.
You cannot extend your leave to remain from outside of the UK, and will then be part of the cooling off period, unless your exempted from that requirement. This may also impact your continuous residency and application for indefinite leave to remain.
There are certain circumstances that would allow you to extend your Tier 2 General visa. You must ensure the application for the extension is completed correctly and you have supplied the correct evidences to avoid your Tier 2 General visa being refused.
Meeting the extension requirements of the Tier 2 General visa
As part of the extension requirements, your employer will need to issue a valid certificate of sponsorship. In most cases, there is no requirement for them to meet the compliance requirements. Further to this, the English language requirement is not required and the maintenance requirement may be exempted in certain circumstances.
The visa application will be completed and must be done prior to the visa is to expire. The Home Office offers priority visa services and the costs to apply are set out in the Home Office website. Your employer will be asked to pay the skill surcharge as well as the costs related to the certificate of sponsorship.
The Home Office will make a decision on your Tier 2 General extension usually within around 8 weeks. During those periods and as long as you have applied before your visa had expired, you will be permitted to remain in your role and continue your work until a decision is made. Your right to work is protected under Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971.
Changing your employer under the Tier 2 General scheme
The flexibility of the Tier 2 General visa allows you to change your employer if you decide to move on to another company. The immigration policy is flexible in their approach however in some circumstances, your new employer will be asked to meet certain compliance requirements, which may include advertisement of the role however this is not limited to this only.
The change of employment application is also classed as a Tier 2 General extension application. It comes with the same rights and responsibilities. Usually, you would inform your current employer, ensure you agree to the leaving date and then apply for the extension application using your new employer’s certificate of sponsorship. You cannot be working for both employers at the same time as one of the requirements of meeting the extension requirements.
Whilst the above is a decision you have made, there are other circumstances in which you must make a change of employment application also referred as a Tier 2 General extension and here is a summary of those. Please note that the list is not an exhaustive list and you must always take legal advice prior engaging in a Tier 2 General extension application:
You have changed your role within the company including job responsibilities and salary has changed.
Under TUPE (or similar) protection you change jobs and the new job is in the same SOC code, but your new salary is less than the appropriate rate for the new job as shown in the relevant code of practice.
You are remaining with the same sponsor but there is a change to your core duties which means you change jobs from a job which is currently on the shortage occupation list to a job which is not on the shortage occupation list.
Your pay reduces the level indicated on your current Certificate of Sponsorship, other than changes due to company-wide reductions defined as acceptable in the Sponsor Guidance, or reductions due to maternity, paternity, adoption leave, and/or a period of sick leave that lasted for one month or longer.
A change of employment application is not required for other changes to your job. For example, if you are remaining with the same employer and change jobs to a different job within the same SOC code, your pay increases, or you are moving under TUPE (or similar) protection due to takeover, merger, or de-merger or any other circumstances in which TUPE is triggered.
Taking legal advice on the Tier 2 General work visa
At ICS Legal, we will advise you on the correct process of applying under the Tier 2 General extension visa and support you throughout the visa application process. Here are some of the advantages of using ICS Legal when you consider applying for your Tier 2 General extension:
We will first listen to your enquiry, ask questions relevant to your Tier 2 General extension and then advice on how you can apply for your Tier 2 visa.
Depending on your enquiry, we will advise you to speak with one of our UK Immigration Lawyers, who will consider the information taken at the time of speaking with us and advise on any issues in respect of your Tier 2 General visa.
When you engage our services, will help you throughout the Tier 2 visa process, which would include but not limited to the advice on evidences, and clarifications on some of the issues you may have.
We understand that no two immigration applications are the same and are fully aware that sometimes you will need a bit of assurance in the process of applying.
Our UK Immigration Lawyer will prepare the Tier 2 application and will draft a cover letter to support this application.
We will complete the online submission and provide a full guidance on the final stages of your application. Please be rest assured that we will help you until a decision is made by the Home Office.
You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on the Tier 2 General extension visa requirements by sending us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us on 0207 237 3388.
We also have a free visa assessment form that you can complete and allows us to advise you on the next process of extending your visa.