How To Obtain A Tier 2 (General) Visa banner


How To Obtain A Tier 2 (General) Visa

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Thousands of people dream of coming to the UK to work. As one of London’s top Immigration lawyers, we work with some of the world’s best talent in multiple fields, helping them obtain the right visa for their needs. Whether you are a top tech talent looking to gain experience in London’s Silicon Roundabout or a Antipodean who is not ready to go back home and settle down, a Tier 2 (General) Visa provides entry (o ability to remain) in the UK. In addition, if certain conditions are met, a Tier 2 (General) Visa can provide the first step on the path to settlement.

The path to successfully obtaining a Tier 2 (General) Visa is relatively straightforward in theory. However, the UK government has, over the past few years, implemented several regulations and policies designed to make it more challenging for employers and HR directors to hire talent from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). An example of this is the Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per Tier 2 employee, per year, which was introduced in April 2017.

To assist potential applicants, we have listed some tips below which may increase your chances of making a successful application to UK Visas and Immigration for a Tier 2 (General) Visa.

Obtain sponsorship through an employee who holds a UK Sponsor Licence

To legally employ a non-EEA national, an employer must hold a valid UK Sponsor Licence. Holding a Sponsorship Licence entitles an organisation to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship.

To apply for a Tier 2 (General) Visa, you must have a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer who has a UK Sponsor Licence with an A-rating. If your perspective employer has been downgraded to a B-rating, they will be unable to issue any new Certificates of Sponsorship until they make the improvements required by the Home Office (directed by an Action Plan) to have their A-rating reinstated.

The Certificate of Sponsorship must be used within three months of you receiving it.

Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements of a Tier 2 (General) Visa

To be eligible for a Tier 2 Visa, you need to show:

  • you have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a valid employer
  • you are being paid an appropriate salary for your position
  • you have a good knowledge of English
  • you have personal savings of £945 to support yourself when you arrive in the UK
  • you can travel (you may need to show your travel history over the past five years)
  • you have the required tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
  • you have a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more in the past 10 years, if you’ll be working with vulnerable people

OTS Solicitors is regarded asone of the best Immigration solicitors in the UK and can advise you on whether you meet the above criteria.

Have the required documents

Along with your application you will need to provide the following documents:

  • your passport
  • either a bank statement showing you have at least £945 in savings over the last 90 days or a letter from your sponsor stating they can accommodate and support you for your first month of Employment
  • proof that you can meet the English language requirement
  • results showing you do not have tuberculosis (if required)

You can apply for your visa three months before your job in the UK is due to start. You should receive a decision from UK Visas and Immigration within three weeks. If you successfully obtain a Tier 2 (General) Visa, it will be valid for five years, after which you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Appropriate salary

You’ll usually need to be paid at least £30,000 per year or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job you’re offered - whichever is higher. Our experienced UK Immigration lawyers can give you the best guidance on what constitutes an ‘appropriate salary’.

The English language requirement

To be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) Visa you will need to pass an approved English language test in reading, writing and listening or have an academic qualification that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor, masters or PhD degree.

Nationals from certain countries such as Australia, Canada and Jamaica do not have to demonstrate a knowledge of English.

Personal savings

If your sponsor confirms on the Certificate of Sponsorship to provide you with £945 over the first month so you have funds to live prior to receiving your first salary instalment, you will not be required to show you have the money personally and it has been in your back account for at least 90 days.

Don’t forget about the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge

As part of your Tier 2 (General) Visa application, you will need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge. Payment will be required as part of your application or when you book an appointment if you are applying online or through a premium service centre.

The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge for a Tier 2 (General) Visa is £200 per year. The entire amount must be paid upfront, therefore, for the five years you will need to pay £1,000.

Check your family members are eligible to come to the UK with you

Your dependent family members may be able to join you if you accept a job offer in the UK and are granted a Tier 2 (General) Visa.

A dependent family member is defined as a:

  • spouse or partner
  • a child under 18 years
  • a child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

You will need to show you can support your dependants whilst you are waiting for your first salary payment. Therefore, on top of the £945 you need to prove has been in your bank account for at least three months, you will need to show you have an additional £630 for each dependant. The exception to this is if your A-rated sponsor states on the Certificate of Sponsorship they will give each of your dependants at least £630 to cover their costs for a month if required.

Dependant will also be required to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge for the full five years. Therefore, if you are bringing your spouse and two children with you on a Tier 2 (General) Visa, you will need to pay £4,000 upfront.

Instruct an experienced UK Immigration lawyer to give you the best advice

An experienced Immigration solicitor will assist you in obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship and organise Tier 2 (General) Visas you and your family. They will also explain how the Points-Based System of awarding UK visas operates, making what can be a complex process smooth and simple.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected Immigration law firms in London. By making an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today. We will provide clear, practical advice on all business immigration matters.

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.

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