Tier 2 General Work Visa


Entry Clearance As Tier 2 General Migrant

The Tier 2 (General) category is for foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. An application for Tier 2 General leave can be made to the Home Office, UKVI after a Licenced Sponsor (employer approved by the Home Office, UKVI to employ a foreign worker) has obtained a Certificate of Sponsorship to sponsor a foreign worker’s stay in the UK. Tier 2 General is a Point Based Category and points can be awarded for the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), Appropriate Salary, English language and funds for maintenance.

The applicant must comply with all the requirements of codes of practice for employers including the job level, minimum salary etc.

For entry clearance as a Tier 2 General Migrant, usually a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is required unless the job is in shortage occupations list or the prospective salary to be paid to the Tier 2 Migrant is £159,600 or more gross per year.


Switching Into Tier 2 General Visa

If you are already in the UK under a visa category which allows you to switch your immigration status to Tier 2 General, you can make an application for stay as Tier 2 General Migrant from inside the UK. You must meet all the relevant requirements including any conditions with regards to switching from your current visa status to the Tier 2 General category. An unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) must be issued by your prospective employer for you to apply for Tier 2 General leave from inside the UK. For more general information about the Tier 2 General category, you can visit Tier 2 General FAQs.


Who Can Switch Into Tier 2 General Category From Inside The UK?

You can apply from inside the UK if you have, or were last granted, leave in one of the categories listed below:

  • Any Tier 1 category;
  • Tier 2 -General, Intra-Company Transfer Staff, Sportsperson, Minister of Religion.
  • Tier 4 (General)
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker)
  • Dependant partner of a Tier 4 student;
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme;
  • Innovator;
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme;
  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme);
  • Business and Commercial work permits (except multiple entry work permits) including Intra-Company Transfer work permits;
  • Sports and Entertainment work permits (except multiple entry work permits);
  • Jewish Agency Employee;
  • Member of the Operational Ground Staff of an Overseas-owned Airline;
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order;
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife;
  • Person Writing Up a Thesis;
  • Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist;
  • Representative of an Overseas Business;
  • Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation;
  • Student;
  • Student Nurse;
  • Student Re-Sitting an Examination;
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer.


Switching From Tier 4 General Student To Tier 2 General

If you are switching from Tier 4 General Student category to Tier 2 General, you can only switch into Tier 2 General if you meet the following criteria:

  • you must have successfully completed and passed a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree, Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of education or have completed a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD during your current period of leave or a period of continuous leave which includes your last grant of leave; and
  • you studied for the eligible award at a UK institution that is the UK recognised or listed body, or an education provider which holds a licence for sponsoring students under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System; and
  • you are applying from inside the UK.
    The Tier 2 sponsor is exempt from meeting the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) if the applicant meets the above-referred switching criteria. The employer needs to issue an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which the applicant will use to make an application for Tier 2 General. The applicant’s job and salary level should comply with the requirements of the Code of Practice.


Tier 2 General Extension

A person who is already in the UK on Tier 2 General visa can seek an extension of his stay either before the expiry of his Tier 2 General visa or in case he is changing job and being sponsored by a different Tier 2 sponsor. An application for extension of Tier 2 General cannot be made from outside the UK.


Change Of Employment Applications

You must make a change of employment application if you wish to change employer. You must have a new Certificate of Sponsorship and you must meet all the points requirements.

You must also make a change of employment application if you are remaining with the same employer but:

      • there is a change to your core duties which means you change jobs to a different Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code other than one related solely to the reclassification from SOC 2000 to SOC 2010; or
      • under TUPE (or similar) protection you change jobs and the new job is in the same SOC code, but your new salary is less than the appropriate rate for the new job as shown in the relevant code of practice; or
      • you are remaining with the same sponsor but there is a change to your core duties which means you change jobs from a job which is currently on the shortage occupation list to a job which is not on the shortage occupation list; or
      • your pay reduces from the level indicated on your current Certificate of Sponsorship, other than changes due to company-wide reductions defined as acceptable in the Sponsor Guidance, or reductions due to maternity, paternity, adoption leave, and/or a period of sick leave that lasted for one month or longer; or
      • changes to your core duties which means your job changes within the same SOC code provided your pay remains above the acceptable rate for the new job.

A change of employment application is not required for other changes to your job. For example if you are remaining with the same employer and change jobs to a different job within the same SOC code, your pay increases, or you are moving under TUPE (or similar) protection due to takeover, merger, or de-merger or any other circumstances in which TUPE is triggered.


ILR Tier 2 General

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can be submitted to the Home Office, UKVI on completion of five years under the Tier 2 General Category (with the combination of Work Permit category). The applicant has to show that he has been working throughout the period of his work permit / Tier 2 General for the employer who sponsored his stay in the UK. The applicant should also a get a letter from the employer who sponsored his stay in the UK confirming that the applicant has been working for him/her and further that the applicant is still needed for the job for which he was sponsored to stay in the UK. The application form SET (O) is used to submit the application.