What is a Tier 2 (General) Visa?
The Tier 2 Visa is introduced by UK Visa Bureau as the main route for immigration to UK by skilled workers. These workers coming to UK for employment should have at least £20,800 as their minimum salary. The Tier 2 General Visa Category for new applicants, which was made available for independent skilled workers for immigration to the UK without a job, is pulled off since April 2011.
Skilled workers can enter UK to fill the job vacancies in areas such as (IT, accountancy, teaching, or healthcare) for skilled workers on a long term basis. This is only for the occupations on the Tier 2 list or Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List.
Tier 2 Visa jobs before they are opened for non-EEA immigrants must be publicised for the workers from within the European Economic Area (EEA). The job is opened for immigrants only it is on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List. This also gives an idea about the resident labours skills and availabilities they possess, known as the Resident Labour Market Test.
What is Resident Labour Market Test?
As a UK employer, you may seek to recruit non-European Economic Area immigrants as skilled workers for your firm. If you have plans to sponsor non-EEA immigrants for certain types of Tier 2 Visa, that also includes the Tier 2 (General) Visa, you will necessarily have to clear the Resident Labour Market Test. The jobs that employers plan to offer to non-EEA immigrants should be listed in the UK’s Shortage Occupation List.
Tier 2 (General) Visa categories
- Tier 2 (General) Visa
Workers with skilled job offers and a sponsorship certificate from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence are offered Tier 2 (General) Visa. Employers must advertise the vacancies to UK workers before opening them for immigrants, unless the openings are made available for immigrants through the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List. The openings are limited to 20,700 locations per year for applicants from outside the UK.
- Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa
The multinational companies’ employees who are relocated to the company’s UK branches are offered Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa.
Employers/companies must make available a valid certificate of sponsorship for their employees/applicants for this Visa.
There are four sub-categories:
- Long term staff
- Short term staff
- Graduate trainee
- Skills transfer
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa
This Visa is for workers with a job offer from a missionary or minister of religion, within a religious community organisation in the UK.
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
The applicants of this Visa must be elite sportsperson and coaches. They must be recognised or recommended by their sport's governing bodies.
What is Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List?
The skilled jobs in UK must be advertised for a fixed time period before they are made available for Tier 2 workers. Every year, UK employers publish a list of shortage occupations, which they find difficult to fill. The vacancies listed on Shortage of Occupations List do not need to be published for residents of the European Economic Area before they are opened for the non-EEA immigrants.
Vacancies for physical and medical scientists, such as engineers, doctors, and nurses etc. are also found in this list.
Eligibility for Tier 2 (General) visa
A job offer and a sponsorship certificate from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence is a must for applicants intending to apply for Tier 2 (General) Visa.
Tier 2 (General) Visa Conditions
- Applicant who has cleared all the formalities of the Tier 2 Visa is allowed to live and work in UK for up to three years for that particular employer, which can be extended later depending on the requirement. After one has lived in UK for five continuous years, it is possible for them to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as permanent residency. Work permits offered are not transferable and are specific for the applicant who obtained them.
- Only the positions that cannot be filled by British Citizen are open for foreign citizens. The applicant must have valid sponsorship certificate from a licensed UK employer to apply for Tier 2 Visas.
- It is essential for employers to prove that his business is genuine and the requirement for foreign employer too is genuine for the projected role. Additionally, the employee who is offered the vacant position must be suitably skilled and/or qualified with all the necessary requirements along with clearing the Tier 2 points test.
- Moreover, before opening the position for a foreign employee, employer has to prove that they advertised the position nationally could not fill the vacant position with someone from within European Economic Area.
Note: The positions that are required to be filled through Shortage Occupation List need not be advertised.
Employer Sponsorship Licence Requirements
Employers intending to sponsor foreign worker should essentially have an Employer Sponsorship Licence.
Necessary Documents to Submit
Applicants intending to apply for Tier 2 (General) Visa must provide below listed documents with their application:
- Valid Passport and/or other Travel documents
- Passport size photograph separately
- A valid proof that assures that they can manage the maintenance funds requirements for their visa, such as bank statements, unless their maintenance of Tier 2 sponsor is guaranteed with the UK Home Office. This options is available only with 'A rated' sponsors.
- Proof of Tier 2 English Language requirements that is qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher. English language test results are also valid, if cleared with qualifying marks/points. Also, applicants may have completed academic courses in English, if they are not from an English speaking country.
- Tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant comes from a country that is on Home Office's TB testing list
Tier 2 Visa Points Test
Minimum 70 points must be scored by Tier 2 applicants on the Tier 2 points test.
Tier 2 Visa Family members (dependants)
Almost in all the cases partners or children are allowed to stay with foreign employees during the stay on Tier 2 Visa, provided they have proof of sufficient funds to provide for them. Employees have to apply under a family visa for this permit.
How to apply for Tier 2 (General) visa
Read the full policy guidance before you intend to apply for Tier 2 (General) Visa. Applicants have to pay for the healthcare surcharge as part of their application. Know how the amount that you have to pay before applying.
For Applicants outside the UK
- You can apply online for a Tier 2 (General) visa. As a part of application process, applicants will have to provide their fingerprints and photograph at visa application centre (to obtain a biometric residence permit).
- Collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of your arrival in the UK.
- Check in with your Visa Application Centre for faster services, which may depend on the country of your origin or country of your stay.
For Residents from North Korea
North Korean applicants are not permitted to apply online.
North Korean residents have to download the application form and guidelines. Read the guidelines to fill the form and the also the instructions to find out the place to submit the completed form.
In the UK, but not an UK National
Check with the immigration office in the UK; know the procedure for the same.