TIER 2 General (Work Permit)

There are four categories of Skilled Worker applicants who will require a sponsorship certificate from their sponsors in order to make a visa applications in line with the certificate:-

TIER 2 (General)
TIER 2 (Minister of Religion)
TIER 2 (Sportsperson)
TIER 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)

Tier 2 (General)

There is an annual limit of 20,700 on the number of Certificates of Sponsorship available under Tier 2 (General) for out-of-country applicants beginning on 6 April 2015 and ending on 5 April 2016. The limit does not apply to applicants with a proposed salary of £155,300 p/a and more.

Tier 2 minimum income threshold, £35,000, for settlement comes into effect from 06.04.2016

Home Office announce Tier 2 changes from autumn 2016

The applicants are required to score at least 70 points in total to successfully apply for the required visa and they can claim the following points under the heads of Attributes, English Language and Maintenance:-

The Home Office will now check that applicants are genuine and that they intend to meet the conditions of the leave they apply for.

A Scoring Sections

I     Attributes

Initial Applications

The applicant has to score 50 points under this section that can be claimed on the following bases:

  1. The applicant will be awarded 30 points for a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer meeting any one of the following requirements: the job has an annual salary of £155,300 or more; the sponsor has completed a Resident Labour Market Test; the job is on the shortage occupation list; 
  2. Appropriate salary and allowances: 20 points.  The job has to pay at least the ‘going rate’ for that occupation according to the Codes of Practice and at least £20,800 a year.

The applicant must claim 50 points in total using points earned in the above subsections.

The job must be at graduate level according to the Home Office Codes of Practice, unless it is on the shortage occupation list.  Graduate level is currently classed as NQF level 6.  The Codes of Practice was updated from 6th April 2014 and the new SOC 2010 system is now being used.  Applicants will be given 50 points for jobs falling under shortage occupations and they do not need to have any academic qualifications or minimum salary, provided the position offered meets the conditions in the codes of practice.

Extension Applications

Applicants who are already on a Tier 2 (G) visa will be given 50 points under Attributes provided they are working for the same employer and at the same position.  The new rules therefore will not affect those who wish to continue working at the same position and same employer.

II     English Language

Under the Tier 2 (General) category, applicants are required to provide evidence that they speak, communicate and understand the English language to a certain level. This can be done in three ways:

  • By being a national of one of the majority English speaking countries, i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc.
  • By having a degree level qualification from an English speaking country
  • By having passed an approved English language test to a B1 CEFR standard (for example, IELTS: 4.0)

The applicant will earn 10 points for this.

The following persons would also be automatically given 10 points under this section:

  1. Those last granted leave under the following categories: Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or the HSMP after 7th November 2006.
  2. Those last granted leave under a Tier 2 category (having already provided evidence of meeting the English language requirement) and applying for an extension within the same category
  3. Those making an application under the transitional arrangements
  4. Those making an application as a result of a change of employment where:
    a.    The applicant has already provided evidence of meeting the English language requirement as a Tier 2 migrant
    b.    The applicant was last granted leave as a Minister of Religion on or after 23rd August 2004.

III     Maintenance

The applicant will need to score 10 points under this section to obtain a visa. This is possible in the following ways:

  1. Providing  the last 3 months’ bank statements prior to the date of application (with a closing balance dated not more than one month before the date of application) showing a balance of at least £945 at all times; or
  2. The employer (sponsor) can certify that they will provide maintenance and accommodation during the first month of his employment in the UK. Please note that only A rated sponsors are be able to certify maintenance for prospective workers.

Exemptions: The following persons having leave to remain or leave to enter would automatically qualify for 10 points:

  • Tier 2 Migrant
  • Qualifying Work Permit Holder
  • Jewish Agency Employee
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned airline
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order
  • Representative of an overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organization.
  • A person who obtains points under Post-Study Work provisions and applies to switch to Tier 2 (General).

Maintenance for Dependants: The applicant will require showing an extra £630 for each of his dependants in addition to the £945 that he requires for himself or herself.
The applicant’s sponsor will also be able to certify the dependants of the prospective employee for maintenance purposes.

B    Transitional Measures

The following persons who wish to extend their stay in the same capacity would be able to apply under Tier 2 (General) transitional measures where he or she has or was last granted leave as a:

  • Qualifying Work Permit Holder
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organization
  • Member of the operational ground staff of an overseas owned airline
  • Jewish Agency employee
  • Tier 2 (General) migrant

In this case, they would be awarded 50 points under Attributes, and 10 points each in the English language and Maintenance sections.

Please note that these transitional measures are just for those who wish to extend their stay while working for the same sponsor (employer) and at the same position.  If they wish to change sponsor then they have to meet the full Tier 2 (General) criteria.

The only exception to this is for those who have Work Permits to work as a “Senior Care Worker”: they will have the benefit of making an application under the Tier 2 (General) category using the transitional arrangements even if when they wish to move to a different establishment at the same position.

C    Duration of Tier 2 (General)
  • Successful applicants for entry clearance may be granted leave for a period equal to the length of engagement shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month, or  a maximum time of 6 months based on the job start date shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship, whichever is the shorter.
  • Those who are already on a Tier 2 (General) may be granted leave of to the job end date shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, or up to five years, or for the period of time they need to take their total stay in Tier 2 (discounting leave as a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)) to six years (this is counted from the date they were first granted entry clearance or leave to remain), whichever is shorter.
  • If the application is for a change of employment, those who are already on a Tier 2 (General) may be granted leave of to the job end date shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, or up to five years, or for the period of time they need to take their total stay in Tier 2 (discounting leave as a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)) to six years (this is counted from the date they were first granted entry clearance or leave to remain), whichever is shorter.

D    Work Allowed

Applicants having leave to remain or leave to enter under the PBS Tier 2 (General) category would be allowed to take supplementary employment that must meet the following criteria:

  • is outside of their normal working hours;
  • is no more than 20 hours per week;
  • is within the same profession at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was issued.

In addition to the supplementary employment, the applicants are also allowed to take unpaid voluntary employment.

E    What work is not allowed?

Tier 2 (General) workers are not allowed to enter self-employment, set-up a business or join another business as a director or partner without obtaining permission from the Home Office. 

They are also not allowed to hold more than 10% shares in the sponsor company if it is a limited (unless applying under the Intra Company Transfer category or those who earn £155,300 or more).

F    Switching Rules

The following persons are able to switch into one of the above categories of Tier 2, provided they fulfil all the requirements:

  • Tier 1 Migrant
  • Tier 2 Migrant
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson, Minister of religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer: established staff) visa and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and sporting) for a job as a professional footballer and you meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements
  • Highly Skilled Migrant
  • Innovator
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)
  • Business and Commercial work permit (except multiple entry work permits)
  • Sports and Entertainment work permit (except multiple entry work permits)
  • A Dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • A Jewish agency employee    
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned Airline
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of  a Religious Order
  • Qualifying work permit holder
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization

Switch from a Tier 4 or other student visa

In order to be able to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa you must have obtained one of the qualifications below:

  • A UK bachelor’s degree
  • A UK master’s degree
  • A postgraduate certificate in education
  • A professional graduate diploma of education

The other student visa categories are:

  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife
  • Person writing up a Thesis
  • Post graduate doctor or dentist
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer

For those applicants who switch from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) into the Tier 2 (General) there are no requirements for Sponsors to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test, and the applicants are allowed to be paid "new entrant" rather than "experienced worker" salary rates.

A person cannot switch into Tier 2 (General) from Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer: long term staff) if they are in the UK and were granted leave under the rules in place after 6 April 2011.

No one else is allowed to switch into the Tier 2 categories in the UK.

Administrative Review (Entry clearance applications only)

If the entry clearance application is refused by the ECO in the British Diplomatic post, the applicant will be given a right to make a request for a review of the decision that must be exercised within 28 days of the date of service of the decision. The applicant will only be able to rely on the information/documents already submitted with the application and will not be allowed to provide or submit any fresh evidence with the review request.

It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help while making grounds for making review request.

Appeals (In country Applications only)

Applicants whose Tier 2 extension applications are refused will be given full rights of appeal, provided they are not left with any leave to remain in the UK at the time of the decision. In these appeals, applicants are no longer allowed to make use of fresh evidence in order to challenge the decision of the Home Office (unless appealing on human rights, asylum or race discrimination grounds) and can rely only on the evidence submitted with the application. The applicant will have 10 working days from the date of service of decision to lodge an appeal against that decision.

It is strongly advised to seek professional assistance in lodging an appeal against any decision of Home Office.

Settlement Prospects

Tier 2 workers can apply for permanent settlement in the UK on completion of a total of five years in the following categories, most recently having Tier 2 leave to remain:
  1. Tier 1 (General / Investor / Entrepreneur)
  2. Highly Skilled Migrant Program
  3. Self employed Lawyer
  4. Writer, Composer or Artist

From April 2016 applicants for ILR will need to show a salary of £35,000 (from April 2018 – £35,500, and from April 2019 - £35,800), unless in certain extremely highly-skilled occupations which will be exempt from this requirement.  Dependants would also be allowed to apply for settlement with the main applicant if they had last been granted leave as a dependant of the main applicant (in respect of partners, provided they have lived with the main applicant in the UK for at least two years).

What services can we offer?
  • We can advise on the procedure of making the Tier 2 application in line with the sponsorship certificate
  • We can assess the job and the applicant`s details and advise on the likelihood of the applicant being sponsored under Tier 2
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making their leave to remain/entry clearance applications in line with the certificate of sponsorship
  • We can advise and represent our clients’ dependants to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
  • We can offer a Super Premium Service where the Home Office will visit the applicants in order to process the applications within 24 hours (for further leave to remain only).
  • We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant`s application is refused for some reason
  • We can advise in making applications for indefinite leave to remain for those who have already completed the five years’ qualifying period in the UK

Whatever the case, we are here to assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of their immigration matters.

 

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