The Tier 2 regime is
for skilled non-EEA migrants seeking to enter the UK for the purpose of
employment with a UKBA-licensed sponsor.
The number of visas that can be granted to Tier 2 (General) migrants is subject to an annual limit set by government. All Tier 2 migrants must be employed in "graduate level" jobs.
There are four subcategories for Tier 2 migrants. These are:
- Tier 2 (General) - for skilled workers coming to do jobs that cannot be filled from the resident labour market, to take up a job with a salary over £150,000 per annum and also for shortage occupations
- Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) - for skilled workers moving from a branch of a company located outside the European Economic Area (the EEA) to a UK branch of the same company
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) - for people to work as religious workers with recognised religions. This subcategory includes preachers and pastoral workers
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson) - for people and their coaches who are established at the highest level internationally in their sport.
As with all tiers of the Points-Based System other than Tier 1, 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" or "COS" by a sponsor licensed as appropriate by the United Kingdom Border Agency. Possession of a COS 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 2011, 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 UK Border Agency.
In all cases applicants for indefinite leave to remain must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and must pass the UKBA'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.