Tier 2 (General) Visa
What is it?
The Tier 2 General visa is designed to enable skilled workers to come to the UK in order to fill a gap in the UK labour market.
What are the main requirements?
In order to qualify for a Tier 2 General visa the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:
- they have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from an organisation based in the UK that holds a sponsor licence;
- the role represents a genuine vacancy;
- they possess the suitable skills and experience for the role;
- the role is at the relevant skill level (typically NQF level 6 or above) and they will be paid an appropriate salary as listed within the Codes of Practice;
- they meet the required level of English language (currently B1 of the CEFR);
- they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves (if maintenance is not certified by the sponsor); and
- they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.
How long can I stay and what are the conditions of my stay?
Applicants can apply to come to the UK for a period of five years and 14 days, or the time given by the sponsor on the Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.
Applicants can apply to extend their stay in the UK up to a maximum period of six years providing they continue to meet the requirements of the scheme.
During their stay in the UK, applicants can work for the sponsor in the role described on their Certificate of Sponsorship, perform supplementary work of up to 20 hours per week in accordance with the rules and undertake voluntary work and study providing this does not interfere with their main sponsored work. Applicants cannot hold more than 10% of the shares in the sponsoring company unless they earn an annual salary at or above the high earner rate and they are not permitted to access public funds.
When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (otherwise known as ‘Settlement’)?
An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held a Tier 2 General visa for a period of at least five years. In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain an applicant must demonstrate that:
- they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
- they have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days in any 12 month period throughout the five years relied on for the application and any absences are in line with their annual holiday/work;
- they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test; and
- they are paid the appropriate salary for the role and this meets the minimum salary required for Indefinite Leave to Remain.