What is the Tier 2 General Visa?
The Tier 2 General Work visa is a UK work visa, part of the British Points Based System. It is issued to highly skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, who have a job offer for a skilled job or a job in the Shortage List.
To be eligible to apply for this visa you must have a job offer by a licensed sponsor in the UK. You should provide a certificate of sponsorship issued by the employer as a proof.
As a holder of Tier 2 General Work Visa, you will be permitted to travel outside the UK while on this visa. You can also bring dependents to the UK on a Tier 2 Dependent Visa.
Who Needs a UK Tier 2 Visa?
To be able to apply for a UK General Work Visa you must meet a number of eligibility criteria. These criteria are as following:
- You must pass the general grounds for refusal.
- You must have a job and from a sponsoring employer in the UK, for a skilled job or a job in the Shortage List.
- Have a Tier 2 Visa minimum salary offered of £30,000/year.
Aside of that, since the visa is part of the Point Based System, the applicant should also fulfill the following criteria and be able to collect points in each of these requirements as listed below:
- Have 50 points in attributes.
- Have at least 10 points for knowledge of the English Language.
- Be older than 16 years.
- A maximum of 10% of shares of the company when their sponsor is a Limited Company – An exception of this makes the case when the candidate has a minimum yearly salary £159,600.
- Must not take any type of public funds.
- Must not get any other job in the UK apart from the job in the certificate of sponsorship checking service – Not including supplementary employment and voluntary work.
- Meets the Condition to hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate.
To learn more about the points attributed in the Tier 2 General category visit the Points Based System article, or complete the form below:
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When to Apply for a UK General Work Visa (Tier 2)?
The earliest that you can apply for a UK General work Visa is 3 months before the date you are scheduled to start working in the UK. This date is indicated in your certificate of sponsorship.
What are the Document Requirements for a Tier 2 Visa?
To apply for a Tier 2 Visa, you must submit the required documents for any UK visa and also provide the following documents which are specifically required for a Tier 2 visa application:
- Tier 2 Visa sponsorship letter from the employer. The certificate must have a reference number for a job in the UK issued by an A-rate certified sponsor employer in the UK with an accepted Job Salary.
- Criminal record certificate. This document shows if you have violated the law in the recent years. You should obtain it from the competent authorities in your home country.
- Tuberculosis test results. Required only if you are a resident of a country that has to take the test.
- Police registration certificate.
- Proof you have the necessary funds to financially support yourself in the UK.
Tier 2 Visa Application
You will have to complete your initial application process for a Tier 2 General Work Visa from outside the UK, more specifically from your home country.
First, you will need to complete the online application on the official website of the UK government. The online application form consists of questions on your basic information, and your purpose of traveling to the UK.
Second, get all of the required documents for a UK General work visa application. Note that you may also need to take a tuberculosis test depending on your country of residence, and obtain a criminal record certificate. Paying health surcharge is also necessary.
Lastly, if this is your first time traveling to the UK, you will need to schedule an appointment at the nearest application center, UK embassy or consulate in your home country, where should submit biometrics and a photograph of yours.
Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2
To switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa, you must be a holder of either Tier 4 student visas or Tier 4 child visa. However, the following conditions must also be met:
- They hold an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from a UK educational institution
- Have studied in a UK Education institution that is a degree awarding and licensed as a Tier 4 sponsor
Tier 2 General Work Visa Maintenance Funds
You must provide the minimum required saved money in disposition to cover your own and your dependents’ living and accommodation costs. The minimum required is:
- £945 – for you
- £630 – for any dependent
If the sponsoring employer takes care of your living and accommodation costs, then you are exempt from this requirement. In this case, you should provide the official document from the sponsor as proof.
How Long is the Tier 2 General Visa Valid?
The validity of a Tier 2 General Work Visa is fixed, meaning that you can stay in the UK with this type of visa for a maximum of 5 years and 1 month, or 2 weeks after the end of the employment contract (as shown in the Certificate of Sponsorship Checking Service), whichever is less.
Tier 2 Visa Certificate of Sponsorship
A Certificate of Sponsorship should be obtained from an employing organization or a company that is licensed to sponsor candidates. This is an electronic document with a reference number with all the details about you, the company, the job offered and the salary, as well as all related dates.
The certificate can be used only once for one visa application. For new applications, a new certificate is required.
Tier 2 Visa Extension
If you wish to remain longer in the UK in order to engage in a skillful job beyond the period of the existing visa, you can apply for an extension. This visa can be extended to an additional period of 5 years considering the total stay is no longer than 6 years.
To be eligible to apply for an extension you should:
- Work for the same employer that has issued the sponsorship certificate in the initial application.
- Have a salary minimum £30,000/year or the appropriate salary and allowances for the job.
- Settle in the UK as a Tier 2 Visa Holder
Settle in the UK as a Tier 2 Visa Holder
If you have lived in the UK for at least five continuous years on a Tier 2 General Work visa, you can apply to get an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). You need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Fulfill initial Tier 2 General Work visa requirements
- Provide documents to prove absences from the UK Maximum 180 days absence per 1 year, each year of the entire period are allowed.
- Certificate of sponsorship by a valid Tier 2 Sponsor. The sponsor must either still have the license as a Tier 2 Sponsor for the relating category, or is waiting to get the decision on their application to renew it. The certificate must display a sponsor’s readiness to continue keeping you employed for a specific period, with a specific salary.
- Understanding of the English language and life in the UK.
- Must not have any history of overstaying in the UK.
Tier 2 General Visa Fees
Visa Fees for a Tier 2 General visa depend on whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK as well as your citizenship since different fees apply to citizens of Turkey and North Macedonia.
Keep in mind that the application fees for UK visas may change on regular basis almost . You can visit this article to see all the UK visa application fees available from 6th April 2018.
Recognized Jobs Under the Tier 2 Visa
Jobs are categorized according to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) which was launched on October 2015, with the sole purpose of helping people understand all the qualifications that the UK Home Office regulates, which are general and vocational in England, and Vocational in Northern Ireland. These levels are categorized according to their difficulty. The Tier 2 General visa includes the 4th and 6th level of the RQF job levels.
Visit this article for a complete list of recognized jobs: Recognized Jobs for Tier 2 General Visa