Tier 2 General Visa for Skilled Workers

The Tier 2 (General) Visa is designed for skilled workers from outwith the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, who are coming to the UK to undertake a skilled job position that a UK employer has been otherwise unable to fill.

To be eligible for this type of visa you must have a 'Certificate of Sponsorship' - this is basically just a reference number that you are issued with by the employer, who needs to hold a valid Sponsor Licence.

There are restrictions on the number of Tier 2 (General) Visas issued each month, though there are certain circumstances where this does not apply - for instance if the employee is filling a role for which there is known to be a significant skills shortage in the UK, if the employee's salary is over a certain threshold, or if the employee is already in the UK with a qualifying visa.

Five Star International is a small firm of expert immigration lawyers based in Glasgow, and we have the skills and experience required to handle all immigration cases - including challenging cases that other immigration solicitors or firms have been unable to resolve. We are very knowledgeable about Tier 2 Visa applications - which due to their nature can be particularly complex - and we have a very high success rate.

To speak with one of our friendly and highly-trained immigration solicitors about your Tier 2 visa application, please call on +44 (0) 141 339 7373 or email us at enquiries@fivestarvisas.com to book your initial consultation.

Tier 2 (General) Visa Requirements

The main requirements in order to qualify for a General Tier 2 Visa are that you have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from an appropriately registered employer, that your salary is within an appropriate range, and that you have the required level of English.

Not every employer in the UK is allowed to sponsor a skilled migrant worker in this way - they must apply to gain a Sponsor Licence before they have the ability to issue employers with a Certificate of Sponsorship. This is a non-trivial process that brings with it numerous responsibilities and duties, and there are record keeping and other compliance issues in order to get and keep your status as a licensed employer. So you first need to make sure that your employer holds a valid Sponsor Licence and can issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

The minimum appropriate salary for a skiller worker to come to the UK is around £20,800, though there are exceptions relating to your current or last visa - please contact us for more information.

As with many other visas, the requirement to communicate effectively in English can be met by passing a certified English Language test, or by holding a degree-level qualification that was taught in English (recognised by UK NARIC), or if you are a citizen of a country that is recognised as English-speaking.

There is also usually a requirement to prove you have sufficient savings to support yourself and any dependants you will bring with you - though there are exceptions to this should you already be living in the UK with a valid visa, or if your Sponsor confirms that you will not require state benefits because they will guarantee to maintain and accommodate you.

Also there are some additional regulations should you wish to switch from a Tier 4 (General) Visa for Students to the Tier 2 (General) Visa for Skilled Workers - again please contact us for more information.

Tier 2 Visa applications can be made up to three months before arriving in the UK, and decisions usually take around three weeks. If successful, you can arrive in the UK up to 14 days before the start date mentioned on your Certificate of Sponsorship. If your application is urgent or you have limited time then we can arrange a Same-day or a 10-day priority service to ensure that your application is processed as quickly as possible - please contact us for details.

Fees associated with your visa application depend on things like whether the role you are applying for is on the list of 'shortage occupations', as well as on the length of time you will be working in the UK. An additional healthcare surcharge is payable.

With this visa you will be permitted to remain in the UK for a maximum period of 5 years and 14 days, unless your Certificate of Sponsorship specifies a shorter period. You can apply to extend your visa for an additional period of up to 5 years, though there is an overall maximum period allowed of 6 years in total. After 5 years of living in the UK under this visa it may be possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and from there you may go on to apply for Naturalisation or Citizenship.

As with all other visas, you have certain rights and restrictions that affect your stay in the UK.

Once you have received your Tier 2 (General) Visa, you are allowed to work for the employer in the specific role you set out in your Certificate of Sponsorship and application - a role which has to be connected to the work of the business or organisation that sponsored you.

However under certain circumstances you can also undertake certain other types of work while you are in the UK - for instance for up to 20 hours per week you can perform a similar role for another employer, or you can perform a role for which there is a shortage of UK workers. Note that this second job has to be in a similar industry - if you wish to work in a completely different sector you will have to submit a fresh visa application.

You can also undertake voluntary (unpaid) work, or study - obviously as long as this doesn't negatively affect your job with your sponsor organisation. You cannot start work before you receive your visa, nor can you apply for a second job until your first job has begun.

You have the right to travel abroad and then come back to the UK during the period of your visa, and you are entitled to bring family members with you. However you will not have recourse to public funds while staying in the UK under this visa. Nor can you own more than 10% of your sponsor's shares (except where your annual salary exceeds £155k per year).

There are several rules that apply to employers wishing to sponsor a skilled worker under either this type of visa or under the Tier 5 (Skilled Temporary) category - for example you must offer an appropriate rate of pay, and the job must demand an appropriate level of skill.

Unless the job you are recruiting for is listed on the approved 'shortage occupation list', you need to advertise the job in an appropriate manner. This test is designed to make sure that there is a genuine need to recruit from overseas, rather than simply filling the post with someone who is already settled in the UK.

Additionally the business or organisation will need to register as a Sponsor with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and obtain a Sponsor Licence - though this alone does not guarantee that any subsequent Tier 2 (General) Visa application will necessarily be successful.

Expert Legal Advice for Tier 2 (General) Visa Applications

Five Star International is a specialist firm of immigration lawyers and solicitors based in Glasgow, with many years of experience in successfully resolving some of the most complex and challenging immigration cases. Our friendly team of experts are ready and waiting to help advise you with your Tier 2 Visa application - from an initial consultation explaining how the immigration laws apply to your case, through to paperwork completion and submission, as well as handling issues relating to the employee's Certificate of Sponsorship or your employer's Sponsor Licence.

Visa applications can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful, with a very real chance of rejection if your paperwork is not absolutely correct. We aim to take the uncertainty and hassle out of the process - and give your application the best chance of success.

We pride ourselves on offering a very flexible and personal level of legal service, and unlike some firms of immigration solicitors in Scotland we are open 6 days a week from 8am until late - and offer telephone and Skype consultations as well as home and workplace visits.

If you require a fast turnaround time, because your case is urgent or you have limited time to prepare and submit your application, we can offer either a same-day or a 10-day priority service at Glasgow Premium Service Centre (formerly called Glasgow Public Enquiry Office or PEO).

To speak with one of our friendly and highly-trained immigration advisers please call us now on +44 (0) 141 339 7373 or contact us by email at enquiries@fivestarvisas.com.