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Tier 2 General

The Tier 2 visa is the main UK visa route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment, usually paying a salary of at least £20,800 per annum for "new entrants" and £30,000 for "experienced workers". In order to apply for this visa, you must have a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsor licence. Unless earning £159,600 per annum, shareholding in the UK business by the applicant is limited to ten percent.

Tier 2 General Visa Length of Stay

Up to 5 years and 14 days, or up to one month after the period stated on your certificate of sponsorship (whichever comes first), and up to 6 years with extensions. If you apply for a Tier 2 visa in the UK as a "new entrant" the maximum initial period, you can extend the visa by is three years and one month. After three years and one month as a new entrant you will have to be paid the experienced worker rate to extend your tier 2 visa. .

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain twenty-eight days before the five-year period ends in the UK if you meet the following salary requirements:

  • £35,800 if applying on or after 6 April 2019
  • £36,200 if applying on or after 6 April 2020.

Tier 2 Maintenance Funds

In many cases the Tier 2 sponsor licence employer will guarantee maintenance which will meet this requirement. Most employers are "A rated" and are allowed to do this. Alternatively, Tier 2 General applicants as well as Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa applicants must show that they have funds of at least £945, and that at no time over the last ninety days has the balance in their bank account gone below this figure.

Tier 2 Visa Salary Requirements

The job stated on a Tier 2 certificate of sponsorship must pay the required salary as in the immigration rules:

  • Those who are under twenty-six years of age can come under the new entrant salary rate of £20,800 a year or the new entrant rate in the Codes of Practice for Skilled workers, whichever is higher. Those who have completed a degree in the UK of any age (not necessary to have graduated) and wish to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa can also come under the new entrant salary rate.
  • Those who are 26 years of age or older and are not switching from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa from within the UK after completing a degree in the UK, will usually need to be paid £30,000 per annum or the experienced worker rate in the Codes of Practice for skilled workers, whichever is higher.

If you are currently based outside the UK and need to apply for UK entry clearance for a visa, or are currently in a visa category such as Tier 5 Youth Mobility that requires you to apply for tier 2 visa entry clearance then you will need to have a restricted CoS. This means at times the salary requirements to gain a tier 2 visa may fluctuate. Tier 2 visas for those who need to apply for visas from outside the UK come under the quota system. At times of high demand there may be a shortage of restricted CoSs which will mean in most cases that you will need to have more points and a higher salary to gain enough points for a restricted CoS.

There are exceptions for certain groups, workers whose previous OR current permission to enter the UK fall under the following categories have different salary rules:

  • Tier 2 (General) visa holders whose visas were granted before April 2011
  • Employees of a Jewish agency
  • Ground staff employed by an airline based outside of the UK
  • Religious workers, including ministers, missionaries, and religious order members
  • Workers employed by a media organisation – such as a newspaper or television news station - based outside of the UK
  • Work permit holders
  • You are being paid at least at NHS Band 3 and are sponsored as a pre-registration nurse or midwife.

Tier 2 Visa and New or additional employment

Tier 2 Workers on this visa who wish to leave their job and work for a new employer will need a new Tier 2 visa. The new employer will need a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and will most likely have to do the Resident Labour Market Test. Tier 2 visa holders are free to work for an additional 20 hours per week in the following circumstances:

  • In another job on the shortage occupation list or a job in the same sector and at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) was assigned.
  • Outside the working hours covered by the CoS for the Tier 2 Visa.

Further information, help, and advice

Our team of specialists has years of experience in visa services. We are registered with the OISC at Level 3 to provide Immigration advice and services.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0203 488 2308 or at Info@worldwideimmigration.co.uk

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WorldWide Immigration