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Working Visa - Tier 2 General Visa Requirements

The Tier 2 General Visa allows overseas migrants who have been offered a skilled job to come to the UK for employment purposes.

Individuals are eligible for this visa if they are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and if their employer holds a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship License from the Home Office, which will allow them to assign the migrant a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Eligibility Criteria for Switching from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 General Visa

  • The individual must have studied and completed a UK bachelor's or master's degree, a postgraduate certificate in education or professional graduate diploma of education or undertaken at least one year of a PhD within the current continuous period of leave (i.e. they haven't left the UK and submitted a new entry clearance application to return since being awarded their degree).
  • The role they are being offered must meet the minimum skill and salary levels of one of the Standard Occupation Codes. Note that a Tier 2 switch from Tier 4 is a 'new entrant' (rather than an 'experienced worker'). As at March 2018, the Tier 2 minimum salary threshold for new entrants is £20,800 per annum. The level for researcher posts is slightly higher at £21,600 per annum.
  • Eligible Tier 4 (General) visa students can apply to switch into the Tier 2 category either once their course is completed or up to 3 months before their expected completion date. This is a change from the previous rule requiring them to wait until completion.
  • must meet the English language requirements - Tier 4 students must have met these requirements already through their UK qualification or their original Tier 4 application.
  • They must have a confirmed offer of employment from a UK employer who holds a Tier 2 sponsor licence and are only permitted to start employment after their course has been successfully completed.
  • They must prove they have enough funds to maintain themselves for the first month, or the employer must certify maintenance on their behalf.

When a Tier 4 visa holder switches into Tier 2 they must inform their Tier 4 sponsor that they have changed their immigration status. They must also apply to switch from Tier 4 into Tier 2 General Visa from within the UK before their Tier 4 visa expires.

Eligibility Requirements for a Tier 2 General Visa Extension Visa

Before a Tier 2 general visa holder can apply for an extension, he/she must have current permission to enter or stay as one of the following;

  • Tier 2 General
  • Qualifying work permit holder.
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organization.
  • Member of the operational ground staff of an overseas owned airline.

You must also meet the following conditions;

  • You have the same job as when you were issued your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK.
  • You are still working for the employer who assigned your certificate of sponsorship.
  • You are still earning an appropriate salary.

Are there Restrictions on the Tier 2 Visa?

There are certain restrictions on the Tier 2 Visa. For example, applicants must undertake the job for which they were initially granted a visa for, and if an applicant decides to change employers, or even move on to a different job within the same organisation they will need to make a fresh Tier 2 Visa application. However, it's possible to take a second job whilst working on a Tier 2 General visa, under certain circumstances. Tier 2 General holders can study, if it doesn't interfere with the job they are being sponsored for. Self-employment is also permitted within the Tier 2 scheme under certain circumstances.

Who Counts as a High Skilled Worker?

The high skilled category includes a range of professions such as Doctors, Social Workers, Lawyers, Nurses, Aircraft Pilot, Brokers, Musicians, Liberians, Journalists, Paramedics, Probation officers, Surveyors, Architects, Food inspectors and some Teachers.

The earning of a Tier 2 General Visa holder must be at least 30,000 per year (or 20,000 for new entrants) or the 'appropriate rate' for their job if that figure is higher. Some professionals, such as nurses, are exempt.

Note that before you can apply for a Tier 2 Visa you must have been offered a skilled job in the UK, which is ranked at level six and above on a list called the Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) and has not been filled by a UK worker. Individuals who are on the shortage occupation list are also eligible to apply for the Tier 2 Visa even if the job is less highly skilled and ranked at the RQF level four.

Application fees for the Tier 2 General Visa

How much you pay for a Tier 2 General Visa application depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

The cost for applying for the Tier 2 General Visa from outside the UK is £564, but if you decide to bring your spouse or dependents the cost would be £564 for each dependent.

The cost for those Tier 2 General Visa holders who wish to extend, or switch, is £651 if you are bringing your spouse or dependents (which would be £651 for each dependent).

The cost for those Tier 2 General Visa holders who wish to extend or switch in person is £1,051. If you intend to bring your dependents, that would be £1,051 for each dependent. This is a premium service.

Note, these application fees do not apply to citizens from Turkey and Macedonia. You must also pay the healthcare surcharge fee as part of your application.

How We Can Help?

Our immigration specialists can assist you with all areas of immigration law, as well as help with any Visa related queries.

To discuss any immigration or visa related issues, please contact us today on 020-3744-2797. Alternatively, send us an email to A member of our team will follow up your query as soon as possible and will be more than happy to assist you.

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