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If you’re currently working in the UK on a Tier 2 visa and thinking about switching jobs, you need to be aware that a change in your employment status could mean you have to reapply for your work permit. It’s important that both employers and employees understand what to do when an employee on a Tier 2 visa wants to switch jobs. If you’re properly prepared, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

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When you will need to apply for a new Tier 2 visa

As a non-EU, non-UK citizen there are two scenarios that unfold when you choose to change jobs in the UK. You will either have to reapply for your Tier 2 visa, or you will have the right to switch jobs and remain on your current Tier 2 visa.

You will need to submit another Tier 2 visa application if:

  • You want to change your job and your new job is with a different employer
  • Your job changes to a different standard occupation classification (SOC) code
  • You leave a job that’s on the shortage occupation list for a job that isn’t on the list

You won’t need to submit another Tier 2 application if:

  • You stay in your current job, but your position is taken off the shortage occupation list
  • You get a pay increase with your current employer and take a different position within the company (if the new position falls into a different SOC code, you will need to submit another application)

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How to reapply for a Tier 2 visa when changing your job

When changing employers and reapplying for you Tier 2 visa, you will need to ensure that they issue you with a valid certificate of sponsorship. You may only start your new job once you have received your new biometric residence permit (BRP), which you should get after your successful Tier 2 visa application.

It should be noted that you will be required to submit all supporting evidence for the new application, regardless of whether you met the requirement with a previous application.

It’s always good practice to make copies of and store any visa applications and supporting documents. You never know when you might need them again.

See also: Get the right visa for your dream job in the UK

What if I’m currently on a Tier 2 (ICT) visa?

Entering the UK on a Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) visa allows you to move to the UK and work with the same company you are employed with in your home country, provided they have a branch in the UK. If you’ve entered the UK workforce through a Tier 2 (ICT) visa, you need to switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa if you wish to take up a new job with a new employer.

 You will only be allowed to switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa if:

  • You entered the UK before 6 April 2011
  • You have not made an application for entry clearance (i.e. from abroad) since then
  • You are changing sponsors
  • You have resided in the UK since you arrived
  • You extended your Tier 2 (ICT) visa from within the UK

If you entered the UK on a Tier 2 (ICT) visa on or after 6 April 2011, you will have to leave the UK for a 12-month “cooling off” period before you can return under the Tier 2 (General) visa. The only exception to this rule is if you have been offered a new job with a salary of £152,100 or more per year.

We recommend that anyone with a Tier 2 visa looking to change jobs seek advice from a qualified immigration adviser before they apply for a new job. This will ensure you don’t have to leave the UK unexpectedly for a lengthy cooling off period.


Get in touch with us on workpermits@sableinternational.com, or give us a call on +44(0) 20 7759 7584, to get expert advice on how to switch jobs in the UK.

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