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Tier 2 Visas under the Points Based System (PBS)

Making sure your potential employee has the best chance of securing a Tier 2 Visa so they can join your company and contribute to your success.

Before you have your Certificate of Sponsorship you'll need to ensure the staff you plan to hire have enough points under the Points Based System to qualify for a Tier 2 Visa - although your sponsorship will count towards their point score.

There are several types of Tier 2 Visas so it's important to apply for the one that gives you and your potential employee the greatest chance for success.

Tier 2 (General) Visa

This category is used for skilled workers who have received a job offer from a UK employer and also includes Shortage Occupation jobs resulting from work force shortages.

Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs)

Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs) allow Human Resource departments to move workers between the various countries they operate in. There are four sub-categories within this route:

  • Long-term staff

    To qualify, the worker you'd like to transfer has to have been employed by your company for at least 12 months and fill a post that can't be filled by a settled worker.

    This subcategory of the Tier 2 Visa - Intra-Company Transfer allows migrants to stay up to a maximum of 60 months. However, if the migrant is a high earner, they can extend their stay up to a maximum of nine years.

    This category can also be used to extend current migrant workers stay in the UK under certain circumstances.

  • Short-term staff

    To qualify, the worker you'd like to transfer has to have been employed by your company for at least 12 months and fill a post that can't be filled by a settled worker.

    The short-term staff subcategory allows migrants to stay for a maximum of 12 months.

  • Graduate trainee

    This sub-category can be used to transfer recent graduates to the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme with progression towards a managerial or specialist role within the organisation.

    The graduate trainee sub-category is for a maximum of 12 months.

  • Skill transfer

    This sub-category can be used to transfer employees from an overseas branch of your company to the UK to receive training or pass on their skills.

    The maximum time period for this intra-company transfer category is six months. This category closed on 23 November 2016 so only Certificates issued before this date are valid when supporting Tier 2 (ICT) applications.

Tier 2 Visa - cooling off period

If a migrant had previously been sponsored under Tier 2 but their leave has expired or lapsed, they must wait 12 months before they can apply again under any Tier 2 category. There are exceptions to this rule for both Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfers and Tier 2 General Entry Clearance applications.

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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