Work and live in the UK

If you have been offered short- or long-term skilled employment in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 visa.

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if the following criteria are met:

  • You have a job offer for a skilled position in the UK
  • You’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

Who can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa?

The Tier 2 visa will allow you to live and work in the UK as long as you have been offered permanent employment and your employer is willing to sponsor you.

Some professions - such as engineering, healthcare and teaching - are in such high demand in the UK that a fast-tracked application process has been created for these workers.

If your occupation is not on the shortage list, your employer must be able to demonstrate that the role cannot be filled by a suitably qualified UK resident. They must meet the resident labour market test by advertising the post for a minimum of 28 days.

Get UK visa advice

How does it work?

A Tier 2 (General) visa is a points-based category. Points are awarded for the following:

  • Future expected earnings - 20 points
  • Sponsorship - 30 points
  • English language skills - 10 points
  • Available maintenance (funds) - 10 points

To be eligible for the Tier 2 work permit, your post will need to be at the right level for sponsorship (a minimum NQF Level 6). The minimum salary required for a Tier 2 is £20,800, but this may vary depending on your occupation and your SOC code.

What are the steps?

There are three main steps involved in lodging an application for a Tier 2 visa.

1. Sponsorship licence

The first stage is undertaken by the employer. Your employer will apply directly to UK Visas and Immigration for a sponsorship licence and this application will be assessed accordingly. 

Your employer will also need to meet the resident labour market test to demonstrate that they could not find any suitable resident worker for the post.

2. Certificate of sponsorship

An approved sponsor applies for a certificate of sponsorship (COS) for the position they would like a non-resident worker to fill. Once a COS is assigned, the migrant may apply for their visa.

3. Applying for the Tier 2 (General) visa

In this final stage, the prospective employee will submit a visa application using their unique COS number and provide evidence that they meet the Tier 2 visa requirements. 

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