Tier 2 (General) visas offer professionals the opportunity to work and live with their families in the United Kingdom. These visas are similar to the H-1B visas in the US and restricted to skilled trades and professions, ranging from IT and medicine to teaching and social work.
The visas are available around the year subject to eligibility standards and procedures, and are valid for a maximum of five years and 14 days.
Who is eligible for a Tier 2 visa?
The Tier 2 visas are available for skilled jobs and occupations, intra-company transferees, sportspersons, ministers of religion, and for specific jobs notified in a Shortage Occupation List issued by the government separately for the UK and Scotland. Please note that the two lists are different, with the UK offering more opportunities.
Is there a salary restriction?
Yes. To be eligible for a Tier 2 visa, a prospective employee needs to be offered a minimum annual salary of £20,800. The minimum limit is restricted to a few entry-level jobs such as mining, for example. The threshold salary levels are higher for more experienced workers.
What should an applicant first do?
A prospective applicant should first secure a job offer from a UK-based company with a sponsorship licence, meaning one that has the right to hire international workers and can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship.
Companies holding a sponsorship licence are required, with some exceptions, to carry out a Resident Market Labour Test to establish that no applicant from the UK resident workforce was suitable for the job.
How many points does an applicant need?
The UK uses a point-based system to evaluate international workers’ ability to live and work in the country. Every applicant must score at least 70 points to be considered for the work-based visa.
A Certificate of Sponsorship earns 30 points, while another 20 points accrue when the prospective applicant is offered the minimum appropriate salary for each job and experience level, according to the government-issued the Shortage Occupation List.
An applicant needs to prove his or her knowledge of the English language, for which they can earn 10 points. An additional 10 points is required by showing at least £945 in savings to prove that an applicant can support himself or herself in the UK before earning a salary.
What are the advantages of a Tier 2 visa?
Tier 2 visas allow many registered sponsors to settle permanently in the UK, or Indefinite Leave to Remain, after five years.
What happens to an applicant’s family?
An applicant’s family consisting of a spouse and children under the age of 18 can come with him or her to the UK upon grant of the Tier 2 visa. However, family members must apply and secure separate visas if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
Fees and time frame
The current fee for a Certificate of Sponsorship is £199. The visa fee is an additional £1,151. Applicants will incur some other costs including a health surcharge.
Typically, it takes at least three months to process a Tier 2 visa but can take considerably longer depending on the applicant’s status.
Elm Rose Consultancy is a specialist immigration law firm providing outstanding immigration services for individuals and businesses worldwide, and can assist you in applying for Tier 2 visas.
Call or email us for a free initial assessment without any obligation.
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Keywords: Tier 2, Tier 2 UK, Certificate of Sponsorship, sponsor licence, UKBA, shortage occupation list