Tier 2 General Visa for Skilled Workers
The Tier 2 General Visa is for non-UK skilled workers who have a suitable offer of employment from a UK business that holds a valid Sponsor Licence.
From 01 January 2021 this visa will be replaced by the Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa.
Tier 2 General Visa Application Requirements
Your employer must have issued you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and you must submit an application using the CoS within 3 months of it being assigned to you. The employer must ensure that the role you are being sponsored for and the salary you will be paid meet Home Office requirements.
You will need to evidence your English language ability, either by your Nationality, having a degree taught in English or passing a suitable English language test.
In many countries you and any dependants will need to take a TB (tuberculosis) Test.
You will also need to show that you have sufficient funds available to support yourself and any Dependants (the Maintenance Requirement). This requirement can be certified by your employer.
Certain occupations will have additional requirements, such as a criminal record certificate.
Most applicants will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, although there are some exemptions.
You can only use your Certificate of Sponsorship once. If you make a mistake with your application then you cannot apply again with the same CoS and you will have to ask your employer to obtain and assign a new CoS for you.
Tier 2 General Visa Conditions
- work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
- do a second job in certain circumstances
- do voluntary work
- study as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- bring family members with you
- own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)
- get public funds
- apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor
If you want to work for a different employer then they must provide you with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship you must apply for a new Tier 2 General visa from within the UK. Your Dependants do not have to apply while they hold valid Dependant Visas.
You can stay for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days and toward the end of this period you should usually either apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or leave the UK.
Do I Have To Apply From Outside The UK?
You must apply from outside the UK unless you are already in the UK with a valid Tier 1, Tier 2 General or Tier 4 visa. If you hold a Tier 4 Student Visa then you should ideally have successfully completed your studies or be within 3 months of completing your course.
If you are in the UK with a Tier 2 ICT (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa then you cannot switch to the Tier 2 General Visa in the UK. Once you have left the UK you cannot apply to return to the UK with a Tier 2 General Visa until you have been outside the UK for at least 12 months.
ILR for Tier 2 General Migrants – Indefinite Leave to Remain
When you have completed 5 years working in the UK within the Tier 2 General visa category you should be able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
There is a minimum salary requirement for Tier 2 General visa holders who are applying for ILR:
- £36,200 for applications submitted on or after 6 April 2020.
- £36,900 for applications submitted on or after 6 April 2021.
- £37,900 for applications submitted on or after 6 April 2022.
There are exemptions to this requirement, such as those sponsored within a Phd-level role.
Your family members will also qualify once they have been in the UK for 5 years with you. If you qualify for ILR before your dependants then they can extend as Tier 2 General Dependants (PBS Dependants) until such time as they reach the 5-year residency period required for Settlement.
If you have children that are born in the UK then they apply directly for Naturalisation as a British Citizen without having to obtain ILR first if at least one parent has ILR at the time of their application. This can save a significant amount of money.