Tier 2 is the immigration route currently available to skilled workers with a skilled job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a British or EEA worker.

Tier 2 has 4 categories:

  1. General: if you are a skilled worker with a job offer from a licensed sponsor coming to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker;
  2. Intra-company transfer: for employees of multi-national companies who are being transferred by an overseas employer to a skilled job in a United Kingdom based branch of the organisation;
  3. Minister of Religion: for people coming to the United Kingdom as a religious worker within a religious organisation for more than two years;
  4. Sportsperson: for elite sports people and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level and would make a significant contribution to the development of their sport.

You must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship when you apply to enter or stay in the UK in these categories, and you will need to pass the points-based assessment.

All sub-tiers have different Attributes you need to score a minimum numbers of points for.

However, the English proficiency and maintenance requirements are the same for all of Tier 2.

Eligibility criteria

You are allowed to apply if you score the minimum points required for the tier and you are:

  • already in the UK with permission to stay in an immigration category that allows you to switch into Tier 2;
  • already in the UK under Tier 2 and want to extend your permission to stay in your existing category; or
  • applying from outside the UK for permission to enter (known as ‘entry clearance’) in Tier 2; and
  • at least 16 years old.

If you are under 18 years of age, the application must be supported by your parents or legal guardian, or by just one parent if that parent has sole legal responsibility for you. In addition, they must confirm that they consent to the arrangements for your travel to, and reception and care in, the UK.

If the Sponsor is a limited company, the applicant must not own more than 10% of its shares unless applying as a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Migrant.

Required points

For all categories of Tier 2, you will need to score a total of at least 70 points to be able to apply:

  • 50 for attributes;
  • 10 points for English language skills and
  • 10 points for maintenance.

ATTRIBUTES: minimum of 50 points required

  • sponsorship – 30-50 points;
  • qualifications – 0-15 points;
  • future expected earnings – 0-20 points.

English language requirement

Under all sub-categories of Tier 2, you must prove that you are able to speak English to a certain level, which includes being able to understand and use everyday expressions and very basic phrases. The level required is CEFR level B1 for Tier 2 (General); level A1 for Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and B2 for Tier 2 (Minister of Religion).

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) do not need to demonstrate English language ability when applying.

You can meet this English language requirement if:

  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country (see under….); or
  • you hold a degree that was taught or researched in English which must be equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or above; or
  • you have passed an English language test at the appropriate level; or
  • you have met the English language requirements when given a previous grant of leave; or
  • you qualify under the transitional arrangements.

Maintenance requirement

Under all sub-categories of Tier 2, you must be able to demonstrate that:

  1. you have £945 in available funds for yourself, which have been in your bank account for 3 months before the date when you apply and £630 each for any dependent accompanying you; or
  2. your sponsor has an A rating and has confirmed in your certificate of sponsorship that they will maintain and accommodate you up to the end of your first month of employment in the UK if required (‘maintenance certification’); or
  3. you currently have permission to stay in the UK under Tier 2.

Application forms and fees

To apply for entry under all categories of Tier 2 from outside the UK, you need to apply online and fill out:

  • Application Form VAF9 – PBS Migrant; and
  • Appendix 5: Tier 2 (Skilled Worker)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-uk-visa-as-tier-2-worker-form-vaf9-appendix-5

To apply for permission to enter or to remain under PBS from inside the UK, you need to fill out the Tier 2 application form (valid for all sub-categories).

The application fees are different for each sub-category:

  1. General: the fees depend on the type of visa:
    • Up to 3 years: £587 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK (or £532 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia). The fees for switching or extending this visa online in the UK are £677 for each person (or £622 if you are from Turkey or Macedonia);
    • Up to 3 years – shortage occupation: £446 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK or extend or switch from the UK (or £391 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia);
    • More than 3 years: £1,174 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK (or £1,119 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia). The fees for switching or extending this visa online in the UK are £1,354 for each person (or £1,299 if you are from Turkey or Macedonia);
    • More than 3 years – shortage occupation: £892 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK or extend or switch from the UK (or £837 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia);
  2. Intra-company Transfer: the fees depend on the type of visa:
    • Short Term Staff or Graduate Trainee: £463 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK or extend or switch from the UK (or £408 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia);
    • Long Term Staff up to 3 years: £587 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK (or, £532 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia). The fees for switching or extending this visa online in the UK are £677 for each person (or £622 if you are from Turkey or Macedonia);
    • Long Term Staff for more than 3 years: £1,174 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK (or £1,119 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia). The fees for switching or extending this visa online in the UK are £1,354 for each person (or £1,299 if you are from Turkey or Macedonia);
  3. Minister of Religion or Sportsperson: £587 for yourself and each dependant accompanying you, if you apply outside the UK (or £532 for yourself if you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia). The fees for switching or extending this visa online in the UK are £677 for each person (or £622 if you are from Turkey or Macedonia).

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

Duration of visa

The duration of your visa depends on the different sub-categories:

  • Under Tier 2 (General), you will be able to live and work in the UK for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month, whichever is shorter.
  • Under Tier 2 (Intra-Company transfer), you will be able to live and work in the UK for a maximum of 9 years – for Long Term Staff, earning more than £120,000 per year; 5 years – for Long Term Staff, earning less than £120,000 per year; 12 months – for Graduate Trainees and Short Term Staff; or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month, whichever is shorter.
  • Under Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), you will be able to live and work in the UK for a maximum of 3 years and a month, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month, whichever is shorter.
  • Under Tier 2 (Sportsperson), you will be able to live and work in the UK for a maximum of 3 years.

In all cases you can start your stay up to 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

Extension of visa

You can apply to extend your stay at the end of the period of validity of your visa for a period that is different for each sub-category of Tier 2. The extension fees are also different depending on the sub-category.

Settlement

You may apply for settlement once you have been in the UK under this category for 5 years.

If you are not yet eligible for settlement, you must apply under the points-based system and make a new application.