Tier 2 - Sponsorship by UK companies

Tier 2 visa

Tier 2 visas are available for skilled non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants seeking to enter the UK for the purpose of employment.

Non-European Economic Area migrants can only gain employment with employers that have a current Home Office Certificate of Sponsorship

There is a cap on the annual number of visas that can be granted to Tier 2 (General) migrants, and this limit is set by government. The cap for the year 6th April 2013 - 5th April 2014 is 20,700.

All Tier 2 visa migrants must be employed in "graduate level" jobs.

There are four subcategories for Tier 2 migrants. These are:

  • Tier 2 (General) visa

    - For overseas skilled workers coming to the UK that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations.
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa

    - for skilled workers moving from a branch of a company located outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to a UK branch of the same company.
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa

    - for people to work as religious workers with recognised religions. This subcategory includes preachers and pastoral workers.
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa

    - for people and their coaches who are established at the highest level internationally in their sport.

If you need assistance with your Tier 2 visa application please contact us by using our online form or calling the number at the top of this page.

Certificate of Sponsorship

As with all tiers of the Points-Based System other than Tier 1 visas, all applicants seeking entry clearance or leave to remain under one of these routes must be "sponsored".

The Immigration Rules which apply to their applications require them to be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship by a sponsor licensed as appropriate by the Home Office. Possession of a Certificate of Sponsorship will provide the applicant with the necessary number of points for "Attributes" which are indicated at Appendix A to the Immigration Rules. Appendix A sets out detailed limitations on the award of points, and effectively defines what an applicant's Certificate of Sponsorship must represent.

Indefinite leave to remain

With the exception of Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) migrants whose initial grant of leave postdates 6 April 2010, all Tier 2 migrants can apply for indefinite leave to remain after they have completed a period of 5 years' lawful residence in the UK.

However the sponsor that issued the Certificate of Sponsorship that led to the applicant's last grant of leave must certify in writing that the applicant is still required for the job the applicant does and, in the cases of applications for indefinite leave to remain made by Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) migrants and Tier 2 (General) migrants, that the applicant is paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job as stated in the codes of practice for Tier 2 sponsors published by the Home Office.

In all cases applicants for indefinite leave to remain must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and must pass the Home Office's life in the UK test, unless they are either under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 when applying for indefinite leave.

All applicants for leave to enter or remain under any subcategory of Tier 2 must show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves in the UK (Appendix C). If their Sponsor is A-rated the necessary points for Appendix C can be scored by the sponsor's issuing a guarantee to maintain and accommodate the migrant if this is necessary.

As of 28 October 2013, it is also required to have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification.

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