While we are waiting for full details on the proposed Australian-style points-based system, there have been exciting developments of our own existing one! The main work category, Tier 2 sponsored work permit, was expanded in the autumn 2019 and made easier than ever. We didn’t think we’d be saying that after 10 years of draconian Tier 2 rules!
You still need to look for a Tier 2 Sponsor, a UK-based company that is able to give you a job. A list of current Tier 2 sponsors can be found on the official Register but it is constantly updated because new companies are added all the time.
How to find a Sponsor? This is a simplified summary, for details please book our advice session on this link.
Option 1: it remains very popular to come to the UK on another visa, such as Tier 4 Student or Tier 5, do some work, meet employers and secure a job offer from a company that is willing to sponsor you. If they don’t have a Tier 2 licence yet, we can help to secure one. It is also beneficial to obtain a degree from a UK university because you would have a qualification familiar to UK employers. For example, you can work part-time during terms and full-time on vacations including after completing your course; you can work full-time on Tier 5 YMS. When your visa is about to expire, your employer may not want to let you go! And with the plans to revive a Post-Study Work visa, we are indeed entering the great time to work in Britain! It used to be a 2-year visa allowing to work, after which you could very likely secure sponsorship in the above-mentioned in-demand skilled jobs. If you are studying for a PhD, you could extend your stay under Doctorate Extension Scheme, look for work, prove yourself and let you Sponsor vouch for you after that and all the way to settlement in the UK.
If this is your plan, we have vast experience in helping small and medium-size employers to hire a migrant. We can work with you and your employer at the same time, from analysing a job (whether it qualifies) to Sponsor Licence application, requesting a certificate of sponsorship and all the way to the actual Tier 2 visa. We have service packages, covering the whole process or stages. Start from booking our advice session here, you can come/talk together with your employer, we work over What’s App, Skype, email , face-to-face at our London office. We help clients of all nationalities based anywhere in the world and with employers anywhere in the UK.
Option 2: your overseas employer may transfer you to their branch in the UK. With so many jobs added on the Shortage List, meaning employers don’t need to seek settled workers first, it will be quicker and easier for the British companies to transfer staff. Avoid Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer, if possible, as it doesn’t lead to settlement. This route is especially useful for IT workers, engineers as well as non-shortage professionals, such as accountants.
Option 3: You can apply for jobs from abroad in most in-demand occupations, such as medical professionals including nurses, veterinarians, IT workers, engineers, architects, social workers, occupational therapists, artists, almost all scientists, teachers (maths, physics, computer science and Mandarin) and many others. If you work in IT and digital technology sector, there is a great shortage of programmers, software developers, web-designers, business analysts, cyber security specialists. Graphic designers are also welcome! With IT workers, there is a trend where you might have been doing work for a UK technology company remotely, as a freelancer, and they would now like you to work full-time for them in the UK. Again, if your Sponsor doesn’t have a licence yet, we can help to obtain it.
Option 4: wait and apply under the new points-based system from 1 January 2021. It is very exciting and it will open the doors to more workers from all over the world, not just Europe. You can start looking for a job and a Sponsor now with the view of submitting an application as soon as possible in 2021. Under the new system, jobs at a lower skill level (Level 3, see more below) will be acceptable, without the need for employers to look for settled workers before employing a migrant, plus there will be no annual limit on the incoming workers (i.e. no restricted certificates).
Book a consultation here, over What’s App, Skype, email or in person at our office in London. During your advice session, we will guide you on what occupations are in demand and how you can find a Sponsor. We will also point you in the right direction on how to validate your skills and qualifications to be recognised in the UK.
Important! The new Points-Based System from 2021 will make it a lot easier for British businesses to hire foreign workers, whether to bring them to the UK or to hire those who are already in the UK, such as studying or working. To avoid the rush with Sponsorship applications at the end of 2020, we strongly recommend that your company applies for a Sponsor licence now!
We can help to obtain it! 1st 4Immigration is one of the most experienced companies in the Tier 2 law sector. We have a fantastic successful track record of helping small and medium-size employers to hire migrant workers, be it someone who worked for them previously (while on Tier 4 to Tier 5 visa) or someone they are inviting from overseas. We can work together with the migrant and their employer at the same time, from analysing a job (whether it qualifies) to advertising it (if required) to a licence application and all the way to the actual Tier 2 visa.
We also offer compliance services while holding a licence. We know the rules well – we have had our own Tier 2 licence since 2012 (for our own workers). We know at first hand what it feels like when a Government official turns up for an unannounced inspection!
We have service packages, covering the whole process or stages. Start from booking our advice session here, you can come/talk together with your employer, we work over What’s App, Skype, email , face-to-face at our London office. We help clients and employers of all nationalities in all locations.
Current system until end of 2020: Jobs that can be sponsored are usually skilled jobs at a degree level, RQF 6 or PhD levels on the Code of Practice. Level 4 jobs can only be sponsored if they are marked Creative.
Jobs from Shortage Occupation List qualify under simplified conditions and is a very exciting development towards post-Brexit immigration system. Have a look in Step 1 above to read about such occupations!
From 1 January 2021 – exciting New Points-Based System! British businesses can sponsor migrant workers to perform jobs at RQF Level 3 or above. Level 3 is the UK ‘A Level’, it is much lower than pre-Brexit Level 6 (degree level) and it will open the doors to more workers with the right skills for the UK economy from all over the world and not just Europe. The ‘right’ skills aren’t the same as ‘degrees’, so if the UK economy needs plumbers and care workers, they will be welcomed! These rules will also apply to European citizens coming to the UK from 2021.
There is so much confusion about Tier 2 salaries! Here we are focusing on Tier 2 General category as it is now (pre-2021).
First Tier 2 General visa: (1) the blank minimum is £30,000. However, if a worker qualified as a New Entrant, the minimum is £20,800. (2) Then there is the salary for your occupation code. Whichever one of two is higher is the rate a worker has to be offered.
Extension applications: either £30,000 or as on Code of Practice, whichever is higher. Settlement applications: either as on Code of Practice or as on the rules for a given Government year, whichever is higher. For example, in 2019-20 UK fiscal year, the minimum is £35,800, rising to £40,100 by 2024.
This means UK employers have to advertise a job to the local workers first, to justify hiring a foreigner. There are, however, welcome exceptions. Generally, this rule was recently relaxed and may be more so after Brexit.
Examples of when employers do NOT have to advertise and can hire a foreign worker immediately:
When a job is on Shortage Occupation List. This is an exciting development in the end of 2019, now many more occupations are on it, including medical practitioners, engineers, architects, IT and digital technology workers, web-designers, artists, most scientists, many creative workers, STEM and Mandarin teachers and many, many more! No more need to justify why a company has to hire a foreign worker, and generally, a more migrant-friendly environment is being developed by the UK immigration authorities. Nurses are on Shortage List but advertising rules apply, although they should be easy to meet, as there is always shortage of nurses!
When a foreign worker is switching from Tier 4 Student visa to a Tier 2 visa inside the UK.
When a foreigner worker is switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) to Tier 2 inside the UK.
When a worker is extending to work or the same employer in the same job.
For more details, please contact us for a consultation.
At the moment there is still a limit of the number of Tier 2 General visas issued outside the UK, the limit is 20,700 per year. It applies to those who are applying outside the UK for an entry visa in the Tier 2 General category. If this is your situation, you need a restricted certificate of sponsorship. ‘Restricted’ refers to securing a place within the annual limit.
The limit does not, however, apply if you are applying inside the UK, such as switching from a Tier 4 Student visa, extending to work in the same job or changing an employer. In this case it will be an unrestricted certificate. The only exception is switching from a Tier 4 Dependant visa to Tier 2 in which case it has to be a restricted certificate.
PhD level occupations are also excluded from the limit as well as Nurses and Medical Practitioners, regardless of the country of application.
There is exciting news coming soon, as we expect the Government to abolish the limit in post-Brexit system.
This is a very last step and this is where you would finally need to submit your passport for a visa stamp or a biometric visa card and also add evidence of English and Maintenance. The previous steps are to be done by your Sponsor and they have to get it 100% right. This is the only point where someone at the Home Office will be examining your COS (until then it’s just stored in the system). If there is a mistake on your COS, the whole application falls apart.
It’s worth remembering that a Tier 2 category is not as points-based as it sounds. Yes, there are points but it could have just as well been a list of requirements. There is no such thing as a passmark or scoring some of the points. You either score ALL of the points or you don’t get a visa at all. Plus there are requirements outside the points table, like General Grounds for Refusal, such as criminal history or overstaying.
Most common problems:
– Salary on the COS is not ‘appropriate’ for your SOC code type of job, eg not high enough, despite being at least £20,800 or at least £35,800 for ILR.
– SOC code chosen on the COS is not at the right level, for example, not at Level 6. Or a job that is seemingly on Shortage List but does not meet its requirements.
– Resident Labour Market test (advertising the job) was not conducted while it should have been.
– Resident Labour Market test was conducted but not according to the Home Office guidance.
Switching from Tier 4 Student visa to Tier 2 General is beneficial for both the migrant and for the Sponsor (employer). Such applications are exempt from RLMT (advertising) and a worker can be offered a New Entrant salary level, which is lower than Experienced level. Therefore, an employer may be more wiling to hire a worker whom they don’t know well yet. Furthermore, a Tier 4 student has to have completed their degree course but doesn’t have to wait for the confirmation of results or graduation.
It is even possible to switch from Tie 4 Dependant visa to Tier 2 General! But in this case a job has to be advertised (unless exempt, such as a job on Shortage List) and a restricted certificate will be needed unless exempt (such as it’s a PhD level job).
To discuss your situation, please book a consultation with us here.
This is one of the most common requests we deal with! How do I switch from Tier 2 ICT to a visa that leads to settlement in the UK? You could switch to a visa other than Tier 2, but here we cover the most common situation of trying to switch to Tier 2 General in order to qualify for settlement.
Switching inside the UK is not allowed, for the same or a different sponsor. Switching is allowed to non-Tier 2 categories, such as Tier 1 or Spouse/Partner visa, but not to Tier 2 General. It means you’d have to leave the UK, spend 12 months outside (in any country) and then come back on Tier 2 General. You can come back to work for the same Tier 2 Sponsor or for a different one.
As above, with the expansion of Shortage Occupation List, many professionals can come back sooner because their Sponsors don’t have to advertise their jobs to the settled workers, which used to be a major hurdle.
For example, the most common use of Tier 2 ICT is for IT and digital technology workers. The companies usually require them to come and start working as quickly as possible – without the need of advertising. With most IT occupations are now on the Shortage List, this should be much easier for employers and more beneficial for foreign workers, knowing they could qualify for settlement after 5 years on Tier 2 General instead of being ‘kicked out’ after 5 years. Web-designers and graphic designers are also on the Shortage List!
Switching as such, ie applying inside the UK, is still not available but it is now easier to ‘switch’ outside the UK. You still have yo return to your country after Tier 5 YMS (or most other Tier 5) and apply for Tier 2 from there.
On the other hand, other than the cost of flights and being outside the UK, you can come back relatively soon because:
1) The 12-month cooling-off period does not apply.
2) With the expansion of Shortage List, many professionals can come back to the UK quickly because their Sponsors don’t have to advertise the jobs to the settled workers. Still need a restricted certificate, so in theory it still falls under the annual limit, but it is expected to be abolished in the post-Brexit system. Furthermore, PhD level occupations are excluded from the limit altogether.
Switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) to Tier 2 (General) is the same as switching from Tier 4 above.
Switching from other Tier 1, i.e. Entrepreneur or Exceptional Talent, is possible but falls under the Resident Labour Market Test unless except. For example, there is an exemption for any occupation on Shortage List.
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