The Skilled Worker and Intra Company Worker categories of the Points Based System are the visa application routes for applicants coming to or remaining in the UK to work for an employer who is sponsoring them.
The employer must hold a valid Sponsor Licence in order to sponsor migrant workers.
There are two different categories of Worker visa which allow different people in different circumstances to be sponsored to come to the UK to work. In order to be granted a Worker visa the applicant must score a certain number of points, which are awarded depending on the category that the applicant is applying in, the applicant’s personal circumstances and the circumstances of the sponsorship.
Skilled Worker Visa
This category is for skilled migrant workers who have received a job offer from a UK employer. It allows the migrant to come to the UK to work, or to remain in the UK to work if they are here under a Skilled Worker visa. It is now also possible to switch to the Skilled Worker route in the UK from many other visa categories. Applicants under this route can bring their dependent family members with them.
The sponsoring company will need to keep a record of how they identified the sponsored migrant as suitable for the role, which may include evidence of carrying out a recruitment exercise. This evidential requirement is far less onerous than the previous resident labour market test requirement, which was removed in December 2020, but it does apply to all sponsored employees under this route – there are no longer exemptions for High Earners or those in Shortage Occupation roles.
A migrant can now spend unlimited time in the UK under the Skilled Worker route (with each visa lasting for a maximum of 5 years). After 5 years in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa (potentially including time under certain other categories, including Tier 2 (General)), they may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The Intra-Company Worker route allows Human Resources departments to move workers between the various countries the company operates in.
Applicants are not required to demonstrate evidence of English Language ability.
This route does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
There are two sub-categories within this route:
To qualify, the worker you would like to transfer must have been employed outside the UK by a linked overseas company for a minimum of 12 months (unless they earn over £73,900 per annum).
Migrants can have leave under this category for a maximum of 5 years out of every 6. However, if the migrant is a high earner, they can extend their leave up to a maximum of 9 years out of every 10.
This sub-category can be used to transfer recent graduates to the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme. The applicant must be a recent graduate and must have worked for the company overseas for a minimum of 3 months.
The graduate trainee sub-category is for a maximum of 12 months.
Cooling-off period abolished for Skilled Worker
Previously if a migrant had been sponsored under Tier 2 but their leave had expired or lapsed, they had to wait 12 months before they could apply again under any Tier 2 category. This restriction has now been removed for the Skilled Worker route (extending to anyone still under a Tier 2 General visa.) The restriction still partially applies, though in more limited form, to Intra Company Worker visa holders there is no automatic one-year restriction on returning to the UK on a new Intra Company Worker visa, as long as the applicant has not exceeded the maximum period for ICW sponsorship (5 years out of any 6, or if earning over £73,900 then 9 years out of any 10.).
Indefinite leave to remain
Skilled Worker visa holders (and remaining Tier 2 (General) migrants) may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after 5 years. They must satisfy a number of requirements in order to be eligible.
For further information regarding Skilled Worker, Intra Company Worker, or legacy Tier 2 visas, contact us.
Trainee Solicitor in our General and Corporate Immigration Teams, specialising in sponsor licence applications, Tier 2 ICT, Tier 2 General visas and Tier 5 visas
FAQ Tier 2
What is a Tier 2 visa?
A Tier 2 visa allows employers holding a sponsor licence who have been unable to recruit a settled worker, to employ non-EEA nationals to work for their company in the UK. There are two types of Tier 2 visa, the Tier 2 (General) visa and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa.
How can companies sponsor a Tier 2 migrant?
In order for companies to sponsor Tier 2 migrants, they need to hold a valid Tier 2 sponsor licence. If the company does not yet hold this licence, they will need to provide certain documents to submit with a sponsor licence application. If the employer has a job role in mind, they may also be required to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test before submitting the sponsor licence application.
What are the Tier 2 visa requirements?
There are many requirements for a Tier 2 visa. They will vary depending on your circumstances, but you must have a job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid sponsor licence. The employer will be required to sponsor you and provide you with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for your job. The CoS will need to show that you are being paid an appropriate rate for the job. You may also need to satisfy the English language requirement, maintenance requirement and have a clean Tuberculosis test.
What are the Tier 2 visa restrictions?
As a Tier 2 migrant you cannot own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (except under certain circumstances). Whilst you can take a second job for up to 20 hours per week, it must be in the same profession and at the same level as your main job or a job on the shortage occupation list. You are also not permitted to have recourse to public funds.
What are the documents required for a Tier 2 visa?
The documents required for a Tier 2 visa depend on your individual circumstances and the type of visa you are applying for. You will be required to provide your passport, a copy of the CoS and evidence that you meet the English language requirement, along with additional documents.
What are the Tier 2 visa processing times?
Tier 2 Entry Clearance applications are usually processed within 8 weeks. In some locations there is a priority service or a super priority service which means that the applications are processed within 5 working days and 24 hours respectively.
What is the Tier 2 visa minimum salary?
The minimum salary for a Tier 2 migrant will depend on the job, position and the number of hours the migrant will work. For Tier 2 (General) migrants, the current minimum salary requirement is £30,000 or the appropriate rate for the position which is being offered (whichever is higher). With respect to Tier 2 (ICT) migrants, the current minimum salary requirement is £41,500 or the appropriate rate for the position which is being offered (whichever is higher).
What are the Tier 2 visa fees?
The Tier 2 Home Office visa fees are subject to constant change and depend on the circumstances of the migrant, the employer and the job vacancy. The fees to bear in mind are the application fees, any priority service fees, Immigration Health Surcharge, Immigration Skills Charge and the fee for allocating the CoS.
Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 – is it possible?
Students in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) Student visa which is still valid, who receive a job offer from a UK employer that holds a sponsor licence and is prepared to sponsor them can apply to switch into a Tier 2 (General) visa from within the UK, assuming that they satisfy a number of requirements. https://www.gherson.com/blog/switching-tier-4-2.
Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa – What are the requirements?
Switching involves meeting a number of requirements. This includes obtaining or being in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree or above in the UK and being offered a job by a UK company which holds a valid sponsor licence. The job must be sufficiently skilled and the salary must meet or exceed certain requirements.
What are the Tier 2 visa extension processing times?
The processing times for a Tier 2 visa extension depend on the service that you use. If you use the standard service you should receive a decision within 8 weeks. If you use the priority service, you should get a decision within 5 working days. If you use the super priority service, you should get a decision in 24 hours.
Tier 2 General Visa change of employer – what to do?
If you are in the UK as a Tier 2 (General) migrant but are in the process of changing employer or changing jobs within your current employer and your new job now falls outside your current CoS code, you will need to apply to change your visa. The employer may be required to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test. The employer must have a sponsor licence and will need to issue you with a new CoS. You must then make an application for a new visa.
What are The Tier 2 visa extension salary requirements?
The salary requirements for a Tier 2 extension depend on the migrant’s job description and the level of the position. The salary codes change frequently and should therefore be checked before making an application.
When to apply for a tier 2 visa extension?
If you intend to remain in the UK for longer than the leave granted to you, you need to apply to extend your Tier 2 visa. The extension application must be submitted before the date of expiry of your current visa.
Tier 2 visa changes
The Tier 2 visa route is subject to constant change. With Brexit on the horizon, there have been many suggestions of how the Home Office should reform the route. The latest changes include increasing the scope of the Shortage Occupation List.
How do I extend my tier 2 visa?
If you are eligible to apply to extend your Tier 2 visa, you need to be issued with a new CoS by your employer. You then need to submit your application before the expiry of your current visa.
Can I get a Tier 2 visa extension after 5 years?
If you are a Tier 2 (General) migrant, you can stay in the UK for up to 6 years, so you may be eligible to extend your visa for a further year. If you are a Tier 2 (ICT) migrant, you are not eligible to stay in the UK for longer than 5 years unless you earn over £120,000.
How do I apply for a dependant’s visa?
A Tier 2 migrant can apply to bring their dependent spouse/partner and children under the age of 18 with them to the UK, providing they satisfy certain requirements. The application needs to be made from a country of which they are a national or where they are usually resident.
What are the fees for a dependant’s visa?
The Home Office visa fees are subject to frequent change. The Home Office fees to consider are the application fees, any priority service fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge. These fees are applicable for each dependant.
What is a dependant’s work eligibility?
A dependant is able to work in the UK. However, they cannot take up employment as a professional sportsperson or sports coach or as a doctor or dentist in training. A dependant does not have recourse to public funds.
What documents are required for a dependant’s visa?
The documents required depend on the individual circumstances of the applicant and the main applicant. They include a valid passport, evidence of the main applicant’s status or application and evidence that they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves.
Do I need to apply for a dependant’s visa for a child born in the UK?
When a Tier 2 migrant has a child in the UK they will need to apply for a dependant’s visa for the child. If one of the parents is granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, the child may be eligible to register as a British citizen.
What is a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa?
The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa is a route that allows employers to bring over existing members of staff from non-UK offices who are non-EEA nationals to work in their UK office. This route does not lead to settlement.
What is a Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff visa?
A Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff visa is available for companies to transfer a migrant who has previous experience working for the company overseas to the UK. The migrant can stay in the UK for up to 5 years and 1 month or 9 years (if they satisfy certain requirements).
How do I apply for a Tier 2 ICT visa extension?
To apply for a Tier 2 (ICT) extension, you need to be issued with a new CoS by your employer. You then need to submit the application before your current leave expires.
What is a dependant’s work eligibility
A PBS dependant is able to work in the UK. However, they cannot take up employment as a professional sportsperson or sports coach or as a doctor or dentist in training. A dependant does not have recourse to public funds.
Can I switch from a dependant’s visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa?
Yes, if you are a dependant and you are offered a job by a UK employer who holds a valid sponsor licence and are prepared to sponsor your application, you can apply to switch your visa to Tier (General) visa. However, you will be required to apply from outside the UK and re-enter on your Tier 2 (General) visa.