Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa
The Tier 2 Skilled Worker 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 replaced the previous Tier 2 General Visa.
Tier 2 Skilled Worker 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 Skilled Worker 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
What if I need to change to a new job with a different Sponsor?
If you want to work for a different employer then they must provide you with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship and you must apply for a new Skilled Worker visa from within the UK. Your Dependants do not have to apply while they hold valid Dependant Visas.
Do I Have To Apply From Outside The UK?
You can usually apply from within the UK if you are here with a visa that was granted for more than six months. There are exceptions to this and you cannot switch within the UK from a visitor visa status. 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.
Visas for Family Members of Skilled Worker Visa holders
Your immediate family members can join you in the UK by obtaining Dependant Visas, usually applied for at the same time as you apply for your Skilled Worker Visa.
Suitable family members would usually include your partner (husband, wife or unmarried partner) and children under 18 years of age at the time of application. You can only bring children to the UK if both parents are coming to the UK or are already in the UK OR if the parent bringing the child has sole custody awarded by a Court.
If your family members are already in the UK with you and you change employer then their existing Dependant Visas will remain valid to their existing expiry dates and so they do not have to apply for extensions if they have valid leave to remain on their visas. When they extend their visas then they will be granted to the same expiry date that you have.
Can family members with Dependant Visas work in the UK?
Yes, they can work for any employer in any capacity.
ILR for Skilled Worker Visa holders – Indefinite Leave to Remain
When you have completed 5 years working in the UK within the Skilled Worker Visa category you should be able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This will require you to meet a Residence Requirement (usually no more than 180 days outside the UK during any continuous 12-month period during the 5-year qualifying period).
Indefinite Leave to Remain for family members of a Skilled Worker Visa holder
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 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.