The Tier 2 (General) Visa is the primary UK visa route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment.

In order to apply for a Tier 2 General Visa, the applicant must be sponsored by a licensed employer who is able to perform the necessary checks to validate that the applicant is suitably skilled to carry out the post they are being employed to perform.

Entry Clearance Applications

Tier 2 Visa Application requirements:

  • Applicants must originate from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, and have been offered a skilled job by a UK based employer who holds a valid Sponsor License
  • Applicants must hold a valid certificate of sponsorship, issued by the sponsor, for the qualifying role
  • The post in question must be accompanied by an appropriate salary, and the applicant must have sufficient maintenance funds available
  • Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirement of at least CEFR Level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. This requirement is waived if applicants hold an academic, English-taught qualification which is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD. This equivalency must be recognised by the NARIS or equivalent body should the applicant be a national from a majority English speaking nation

Tier 2 (General) Visa Extensions

Tier 2 (General) Visa holders may extend their stay in the UK whilst working for the same employer, or if changing their employment provided the following conditions are met:

Requirements for Tier 2 General Visa Extension under the same employer:

  • Applicants must hold current permission to enter or stay on a Tier 2 (General) Visa
  • Applicants must retain the same employment as when the previous permission to enter or stay in the UK was issued
  • Applicants must be working for the same employer who assigned the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The employer must be able to assign the applicant an appropriate CoS. An application to the Home Office for extended leave to remain must be submitted the earlier of within 3-months of the date at which the CoS was issued, or prior to the existing visa expiry date
  • Applicants must be resident in the UK to apply for a visa extension

Requirements for Change of Employment applications:

  • The applicant’s core duties have changed to the extent that a different Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code will apply; or
  • Under TUPE (or similar) protection, the applicant has changed employment, with the new role classified under the same SOC code, however with a new salary level at less than the appropriate rate for the role as clarified by the relevant code of practice; or
  • The applicant has a change to their core duties which results from a change from a position currently on the shortage occupation list to a role which is not; or
  • The applicant’s rate of pay reduces from the level indicated on their current CoS, other than changes resulting due to company-wide reductions which are defined as acceptable within the Sponsor Guidance, or relate to reductions due to maternity, paternity or adoption leave, and/or relate to a period of sickness absence which lasted for one month or longer;
  • Changes have been made to the applicant’s core duties, which results in the role changing within the same SoC code, provided their pay remains above the acceptable rate in the new role

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Applications

Applications for ILR may be made after 5 years residing in the UK in combination with the following visa schemes:

  • Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Migrant
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Migrant
  • Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
  • Innovator
  • Highly Skilled Migrant
  • Work Permit Holder
  • The sponsor who issued the Certificate of Sponsorship which led to the applicant’s latest grant of leave must still retain a valid Tier 2 Sponsor Licence within the relevant category, or have an application for renewal currently under consideration by the Home Office
  • The applicant must remain in the employment in question and be continuing to receive the relevant salary for the foreseeable future. For applications submitted after 6th April 2019, the minimum gross annual pay is £35,800
  • The applicant must pass the Life in the UK test

Residency Requirements and Time Spent Outside the UK:

  • Should an applicant not intend to settle in the UK, there are no residency requirements and they may apply to extend their Visa for 2 years after the initial clearance granted has expired
  • Applicants wishing to apply for Permanent Residency (ILR) are not permitted to spend in excess of 180 days outside of the UK within any rolling 12-month period
  • Applicants for UK citizenship must not have spent more than 450 days outside of the UK within a 5-year period, and have spent no more than 90 days outside of the UK during the 12-month period prior to their application