Visa Information, Visa Requirements, Visa Application Guidelines, Immigration Rules and Inquiry

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Working in UK - Tier 2 General [Skilled] Visa

Work Visa
You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if:
  • you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland 

Getting sponsored
You need to be sponsored (ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor) before you can apply to travel to the UK to work.

The work you do in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation.


How long it will take
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the date you travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Fees
How much you pay for a Tier 2 (General) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

Tier 2 General (up to 3 years)
Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £564 £651 £1,051
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £509 £596 £996
All dependants £564 each person £651 each person £1,051 each person

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

 
Tier 2 General (up to 3 years) - shortage occupation
A shortage occupation is a skilled job where there is a shortage of workers in the UK.
Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £428 £428 £828
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £373 £373 £773
All dependants £428 each person £428 each person £828 each person

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.


Tier 2 General (more than 3 years)
Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £1,128 £1,302 £1,702
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £1,073 £1,247 £1,647
All dependants £1,128 each person £1,302 each person £1,702 each person

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.


Tier 2 General (more than 3 years) - shortage occupation

A shortage occupation is a skilled job where there is a shortage of workers in the UK.
Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £856 £856 £1,256
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £801 £801 £1,201
All dependants £856 each person £856 each person £1,256 each person

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

How long you can stay
You can travel to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

Your stay must start no more than 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

What you can and cannot do
You can:
  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week
  • do a job which has a shortage of workers in the UK for up to 20 hours per week
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you
You cannot:
  • own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £155,300 a year)
  • get public funds
  • start working before you get the visa
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor

You’ll need to make a new application if you want to do a second job that’s not in the same sector as your main job.


Eligibility

You must have all of the following to be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa:
  • a certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • an ‘appropriate’ salary
  • the required level of English
You must also have £945 in savings - this is to prove you can support yourself. You must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, unless you’re exempt.

You don’t need to have £945 in savings if your sponsor is fully approved (‘A-rated) and they have stated on your certificate of sponsorship that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

Certificate of sponsorship
A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, eg how much you’ll be paid.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form - you can only use it once.

Appropriate salary
The job you’re offered must pay £20,800 or more, unless your current or last permission to stay in the UK is as:
  • a Tier 2 (General) migrant before 6 April 2011
  • a Jewish agency employee
  • operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • a minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • a work permit holder
  • an unregistered nurse but your salary will be at least £16,271 while you’re doing your supervised practice or £21,478 after you have Nursing and Midwifery Council registration - and you’ll still be sponsored as a nurse by the same sponsor after you’re registered


Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:
  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree
Exceptions
You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA


Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:
  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • a passport-sized colour photograph
  • bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings continuously over the last 90 days, or your sponsor’s certification that they can support and accommodate you for the first month you’re employed
  • proof that you meet the English requirement
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.


How to Apply

You’ll have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. 

You must complete your visa application by 5 July if you’ve already paid the immigration health surcharge or you might have to pay it twice. You’ll get a refund for your first payment.

Applying outside the UK
You must apply online for a Tier 2 (General) visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK.

Applying in the UK
You can only extend your existing visa or switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK.

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