Can I change job on a Tier 2 (General) visa? banner


Can I change job on a Tier 2 (General) visa?

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The question ‘can I change job on a Tier 2 (General) visa?‘ is one that both non-EEA workers and UK employers want answering because whilst employees want flexibility their employers want to know to what extent their recruitment needs could change if their Tier 2 (General) visa employees decide to switch employer for more pay or better conditions.

Work visa solicitors

OTS Solicitors are specialist London immigration solicitors and help both employers and employees with their work visa questions, Tier 2 switching sponsors and employers and in securing employer sponsor licences and employee Certificates of Sponsorship and in making successful Tier 2 (General) visa applications. For information and advice on work visas call 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Changing jobs on a work visa

Everyone wants to advance their careers or just earn a bit more money. Most employees do not think twice about brushing up their CV and changing jobs. The position is a lot more complicated if you are an EEA national who secured entry clearance to the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa and you want to change job.
If you are in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa then your employer will have sponsored your Employment by providing you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (unless your occupation is on the UK Shortage Occupation List).
In order to change employer you will need:

• A new Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer who has a Sponsor Licence from the Home Office; and

• A new Tier 2 (General) visa.

You cannot change employer until the Home Office formalities are completed. If you do then you may be in breach of your Tier 2 (General) visa. That could affect your Immigration record with the Home Office and your prospects of successfully applying for another work visa or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the future.

Employer’s role in helping you change job

If your proposed new employer has a Sponsor Licence and has complied with the Resident Labour Market Test then they may be able to offer you the post provided that:

• No suitable settled workers applied for the job advertised through using the Resident Labour Market Test; and

• They can allocate you a Certificate of Sponsorship reference number.

If your new employer does not have a Sponsor Licence then they will first need to apply for a Sponsor Licence before being able to employ a non-EEA national. business immigration solicitors can assist with the Sponsor Licence application process. You may find that the employer was planning on securing a Sponsor Licence before you decided that you wanted to work for them. That is because sponsor licences are becoming increasingly necessary with low UK unEmployment figures and reduced migration into the UK from EU countries.
If your new employer does not have a Sponsor Licence and does not want to apply for one in a timeframe that is acceptable for you then you won't be able to take up the job offer, even if you are a perfect fit for the job and the employer is offering a dream salary. If you were to take up the job then your existing Tier 2 (General) visa would not cover the new Employment and you would therefore be in breach of your visa conditions. This would in turn affect the prospects of your successfully applying for a work visa extension or for UK Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Making a new Tier 2 (General) visa application

Many non-EEA workers assume that if they want to change job then it is simply a case of transferring their visa to the new employer. However, the Immigration Rules are far more complicated than that.
Rather than apply to swop employer, you have to apply for a new work visa. You cannot apply for a new work visa until any new employer can offer you a new Certificate of Sponsorship reference number.

Leaving Employment on a work visa without a new job

If you leave your Employment without a new job to go to then your work visa will be curtailed by the Home Office. This is the case even if your loss of Employment is outside your control, for example:

• Your employer has had their Sponsor Licence revoked; or

• Your employer has gone into administration; or

• Your employer has made you redundant.

If you cease to work for your employer then your Tier 2 (General) visa becomes invalid. Normally the Home Office will send you a curtailment letter that gives you sixty days to either find new Employment with an employer who has a Sponsor Licence and can allocate you a Certificate of Sponsorship so you can apply for a new Tier 2 (General) visa or to leave the UK.
Unfortunately sixty days is not a long time to find a new job, especially if an employer has to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test and therefore the closing date of any job advert has to be at least twenty eight days from the date that the job was posted.

New job role with existing employer

Many non-EEA workers think it may be too complicated to look for a new job while on a Tier 2 (General) visa but they do feel able to apply for internal promotions or job changes, assuming that their work visa will cover them as they aren’t changing employer. Likewise many employers will not see a need to report the change in your Employment description to the Home Office as part of their Sponsor Licence duties.
It is important that your employer report changes to ensure your Immigration record remains blemish free and to make sure that the Home Office do not decide to carry out a sponsor compliance visit because of a failure to report under the terms of the Sponsor Licence.
Even if you are staying with the same employer, you may need to make a new work visa application if:

• You are doing a different role in the company with new duties with a different Standard Occupational Classification code to the one contained on your Certificate of Sponsorship;

• You used to earn over £159,600 a year but your salary has now been reduced to less than that; or

• Your job was previously on the shortage occupation list but the new job is not on the shortage occupation list.

Immigration solicitors say that if you have a Tier 2 (General) visa then it is perfectly feasible to change job with your current employer or to move to a new employer with a new work visa. However, before you do so it is sensible to take legal advice to make sure that the move and the new work visa will not affect your Immigration record or your future plans to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Work visa solicitors

Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession recommended OTS Solicitors are experts in individual immigration and business immigration law. Our team of specialist work visa solicitors can answer your questions on your Tier 2 (General) visa and help you switch employer under a Tier 2 (General) visa or apply for a new visa or a visa extension.
Call us on 0203 959 9123 to discuss how the OTS Solicitors immigration team can help you or use our online enquiry form.

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