The Tier 2 General working visa allows a UK employer to employ a skilled worker, who is either outside of the UK or in the UK under a different immigration category, to fulfil a vacancy that a resident person in the UK cannot work in that capacity. The purpose of this policy is to attract the best work force and create a competitive working environment.
With all immigration categories, there is risk of abuse, so policies are stricter since its inception in 2008. First of all, the employer must be authorised to sponsor and are approved. They themselves must go through rigid legal process and be complaint in the system, to sponsor and recruit. Second, the job must be genuine and available to a resident person prior recruiting someone who is not resident in the UK.
The Tier 2 genuine vacancy test must be met at the date of application. The purpose of this policy is to prevent abuse in the Tier 2 General visa process. The assessment is made by the Home Office to check that the job has been advertised correctly unless exempted, the migrant is capable of working in that capacity, the migrant understands their rights and responsibilities, or the employment was created to match the profile of the migrant only.
Finally, coming to the type of sponsorship granted by an employer, this can be under the restricted or unrestricted certificate of sponsorship. This would depend on your circumstances at the date of application. The restricted sponsorship is part of the Home Office threshold of migrants working in the UK.
Meeting the requirements of the Tier 2 General visa
When an employer decides to offer you an employment in the UK, you will need to meet certain requirements of the immigration policy. First of all, you must not fall under the general grounds of refusal, so if you have any criminal or civil convictions, there will be risk of your Tier 2 General visa being refused. In certain employments, you would be asked to demonstrate that in the last 10 years, you have not committed any serious offences.
The 12 months cooling period is another requirement you must comply with. If you have held a Tier 2 visa in the last 12 months, and you are outside of the UK, unless you meet the exception policy, you may not be able to apply for the Tier 2 General visa until the 12 months have lapsed.
Those looking to switch into the Tier 2 General visa can do so, but the immigration policy restricts those who can do so. Further to this, your employer will issue a valid certificate of sponsorship, an electronic work permit document. This set outs the employment details and contract. In reference to your salary, your employer must pay at the appropriate rate.
The employment allowance must also be clarified in your employment package. In addition to this, you must also meet the English language requirements and will need to have adequate maintenance unless you are exempted.
Tier 2 General Shortage Occupations
The Home Office time to time published and amends the UK shortage occupation list. Those applying under this visa category do not need to meet certain requirements. The immigration policy in this allows an employer to recruit a migrant without the need to meet some of the stricter policies.
Tier 2 Inward Investment Program
The Home Office is allowing multi-national business with the aim to invest into the labour market. If an employment is in connection with the relocation of a high value business to the UK or is making new inward investment project, then exemption policies will apply on certain Tier 2 General requirements.
How to apply for the Tier 2 General visa
The visa application is applied online; this is whether you are in the UK or outside of the UK. Once you have completed your Tier 2 General application, you will be able to pay for the visa fees and book the visa appointment. As part of the submission, you will need to submit your legal representation and also the evidences to support your Tier 2 General application.
The decision making of a Tier 2 General visa does not take more than 15 working days however this would depend on individual applications and country of application. Once a decision is served, the Home Office can issue up to 5 years Tier 2 General visa. Your visa validity will depend on the certificate of sponsorship issued by your employer.
Your Tier 2 General visa comes with a number of conditions, which includes no recourse to public funds, may require registering with the police and will need permission to study in the UK unless the exception policies apply.
You can also apply for your dependants to join you in the UK. They will need to meet the immigration requirements as set out and must have adequate maintenance to join you in the UK.
Refusal of your Tier 2 General visa
If your Tier 2 General visa is refused, there will be a right to complete an administrative review. More details of the process of challenging a decision can be found by clicking on the left-hand side menu.
Frequently asked questions related to Tier 2 General visas
We hope the following will answer some of the common questions asked about the Tier 2 General visas.
Is the Tier 2 General sponsorship visa the right one for me?
Unless you are offered a job in a shortage occupation, it is not easy to find a sponsor for a Tier 2 visa from outside the UK. If you are not in a shortage occupation and wish to apply for a visa from outside the UK, then Tier 1 visas or Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) could be better options for you.
In certain industries, a recruitment agency may be able to help you find a sponsor. Gaining a sponsorship with a UK employer is generally easier when you are already in the UK mainly because they can meet with you in person.
Do you qualify for the Tier 2 visa?
This is a points-based system and requires you to score 70 points to qualify for the Tier 2 General visa, including 50 points for attributes (30 for being assigned a certificate of sponsorship and 20 for being paid the appropriate salary). 10 points for the English language skills. 10 points for having enough funds in the bank or if your sponsor is ‘A rated’.
What happens if my sponsorship certificate becomes invalid?
Your sponsor is obligated to tell UK Home Office if they no longer employ you or if there is a significant change in your job or salary. These circumstances may mean that your sponsored visa is not valid and you will no longer have permission to work in the UK. You may be able to switch employers or switch into other immigration categories.
Can I change employers whilst in the UK?
Yes you can. If you have been approved for a Tier 2 visa, you can apply to change employment, either within the same organisation or with a new organisation. The application will be treated as a new application and a new sponsorship certificate will be required from another licensed sponsor.
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 visa and support you throughout the visa application process.
You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on the Tier 2 General 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 also complete which would allow us to assess your chances of applying under the Tier 2 General visa.