This guidance relates to the UK Tier 2 General visa 2020: requirements for entry clearance, extension and switching applications. Apparently, the Tier 2 General visa is for skilled workers and the shortage occupation list. And is a points-based visa, therefore, an applicant needs to score 70 points. Accordingly, the post covers the details of scoring points for Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), appropriate salary, maintenance funds and English language. In fact, the post also tries to answer faqs relating to Tier 2 General visa such as supporting documents checklist, cooling-off period, second job, application fee, processing time, genuineness test, interview questions etc.
1) What are the UK Tier 2 General visa requirements?
The Tier 2 route enables a UK employer to hire foreign nationals to fill a job. However, a Tier 2 sponsor needs to ensure that a settled worker is not available for the job. Therefore, the Tier 2 job must pass the resident labour market test (RLMT). And the Tier 2 skilled worker must not displace the suitable UK settled worker.
In fact, the Tier 2 General visa, includes the shortage occupations such as nurses and medical doctors. However, the other types of Tier 2 work visas are Intra-company Transfers, Minister of Religion and Sportsperson. Apparently, a person cannot apply for Tier 2 General or ICT visa if he/she is applying for permission to work as a Sportsperson or a Minister of Religion. Moreover, when we commonly talk about PBS Tier 2 visa then, in fact, we are referring to Tier 2 General visa.
Perhaps, one can apply for a Tier 2 General visa if he/she has a job offer i.e. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). However, for a successful Tier 2 General visa application, an applicant needs to score 70 points i.e.
1. 30 points for an assigned CoS, which meets the requirements of:
– a resident labour market test (RLMT) exemption; or
– a RLMT by the sponsor; or
– an extension – continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor
2. 20 points for the Appropriate Salary as per Appendix A of the Immigration Rules
3. 10 points for English language skills – as per Appendix B of the Immigration Rules
4. 10 points for Maintenance funds – as per Appendix C of the Immigration Rules
What a Tier 2 general migrant can do in the UK?
Quite clearly, a migrant can undertake following activities on Tier 2 General visa in the UK:
- work for the sponsor in the job described in the CoS
- in certain circumstances can do a second job
- do voluntary work
- study as long as it does not interfere with the sponsored job
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- bring family members to the UK
However, a migrant on Tier 2 general visa is not permitted to own more than 10% of the sponsor’s shares. Perhaps, this restriction is not applicable if a migrant earns more than £159,600 a year. Moreover, a migrant on Tier 2 General visa is not eligible for public funds. And can only apply for a second job until the migrant starts working for the sponsor.
What is the Tier 2 General visa application fee 2019/20?
Apparently, from March 29, 2019, the UK visa fees for Tier 2 General entry clearance application where a CoS is for a period of three years or less and more than 3 years is £610/- and £1,220/-, respectively. Moreover, the application fee for shortage occupation is £464 and £928 where a CoS has been issued for a period of three years or less and 3 years or more, respectively.
Please note: citizens of Turkey or Macedonia are eligible for a £55/- discount. And the Tier 2 General visa application fee does not include the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS). However, the IHS is refundable in case of a refusal.
What is the Tier 2 General visa application processing time 2020?
In fact, an applicant can apply for a Tier 2 General visa up to 3 months prior to the start work in the UK. Apparently, the CoS mentions the date on which a migrant can start doing the work in the UK. For instance, if the CoS mentions Jan 2, 2020, as a start date then an applicant can apply for a Tier 2 General visa as early as Oct 3, 2019. Moreover, the service standard is to process a majority of the Tier 2 General visa applications within 15 working days. However, a fraction of the Tier 2 General visa application may take up to 30 working days. Perhaps, the UKVI also offers Tier 2 priority visa service at certain UKVACs to process applications within 1-week.
What is the possibility of the interview?
Perhaps, at times, UKVI may conduct an interview with the applicant. In fact, the need for an interview may arise due to adverse immigration history, past criminal convictions, documents verifications etc.
What is the max duration of the Tier 2 General visa?
Apparently, the maximum duration of Tier 2 General entry clearance visa is up to 5 years plus 1 month. However, in practice, the duration of Tier 2 General visa is determined by the length of the engagement shown on the CoS plus 14 days either side (i.e. 28 days in total).
When the period of the Tier 2 General visa grant starts?
Perhaps, the period of grant for Tier 2 general visa usually effects from 14 days prior to the start date of the sponsored job in the UK as detailed on the CoS. For instance, if the job starts on November 15, 2019, then an applicant gets a UK Tier 2 General visa from Nov 1, 2019. However, if an applicant gets a grant for less than 14 days before the start date of the CoS, then the Tier 2 General visa is issued with immediate effect.
Moreover, if an applicant states the date of intended travel to the UK on Tier 2 General visa application then the applicant usually gets an entry clearance with effect from 7 days before the stated travel date to the UK. However, the intended travel date of a Tier 2 General migrant can no later than 14 days after the start date of the CoS.
When a migrant start working on a Tier 2 General visa in the UK?
Quite clearly, a Tier 2 general worker can start doing work in the UK up to 14 days prior to the start date on the certificate of sponsorship. For instance, if the job starts on November 15, 2019, then the migrant can start doing work on the Tier 2 General visa on November 1, 2019
When does the Tier 2 General 12-months cooling-off period start?
Perhaps, if an applicant leaves the UK before the expiry of the last period of Tier 2 General visa grant then the 12-month period starts earlier than the expiry date of leave. However, this can only be possible if an applicant provides evidence such as:
- travel tickets or boarding card stubs. Perhaps, these are only useful if an applicant/sponsor has submitted an SMS report for confirming the end of employment
- exit or entry stamps in the applicant’s passport
- a letter from the overseas employer. The letter needs to confirm the date the applicant started working overseas after returning from the UK
- any other evidence that shows that the applicant was not in the UK
Therefore, if an applicant submits such evidence then the Home Office calculates the cooling-off period to start from the earliest date. Apparently, in all cases where the CoS is longer than 3 months, the cooling-off period is applicable. Certainly, even in cases where a Tier 2 General migrant length of stay in the UK is less than 3 months. For instance, if a Tier 2 General migrant has a CoS of 6 months and the applicant ceased to work in the UK after 2 months, then the cooling-off period is applicable as the CoS was for more than 3 months.
2) Can a Tier 2 General migrant extend stay in the UK?
Yes, a migrant can extend the Tier 2 General visa for up to another 5 years. However, the total length of stay in the UK is not more than 6 years. Perhaps, there are some exceptions to this 6-year restrictions. And these exceptions are separately explained in the following paragraphs.
Moreover, a migrant on Tier 2 general visa can also get a leave to remain for the period between the dates during which the Home Office decides the application. And the date that the CoS Checking Service records as the start date of the job in the UK.
What are the possible period of leave to remain?
In fact, a Tier 2 migrant gets a leave to remain in the UK for a period, whichever is the shorter:
- the job end date on the CoS plus 14 days, or
- up to 5 years, or
- for the period of time to take the total stay in the UK Tier 2 [discounting leave as a Tier 2 (ICT)] to 6 years.
In fact, the 6-year period is counted from the date the applicant was first granted entry clearance or leave to remain. Perhaps, the 6-year period is not broken by any gaps between the periods of leave. For instance, if an applicant has had 6 years’ continuous leave in the UK as a Tier 2 General migrant but the migrant overstayed for 10 days at the end of the 6 years before applying again, the 10 days in which the migrant had no Tier 2 General leave does not mean the migrant can qualify again. Similarly, if the migrant has overstayed up to 10 days in the middle of a period of continuous leave, this does not mean that the migrant can qualify for another period of leave to take the total stay in the UK as a Tier 2 migrant beyond 6 years.
When does the 6-year restriction does not apply?
Apparently, the 6-year restriction on leave to remain as a Tier 2 General migrant in the UK does not apply if the migrant previously had leave under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2011 as a Tier 2 General, Minister of Religion and Sportsperson migrant, a Jewish Agency Employee, a Member of the Operational Ground Staff of an Overseas-owned Airline, a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order, a Qualifying Work Permit Holder, a Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation. And the migrant has not been granted entry clearance as a Tier 2 General, Minister of Religion, Sportsperson migrant under the Immigration Rules in place from 6 April 2011. And the migrant has not been granted entry clearance, leave to enter/remain in any other category since that grant of leave.
How to apply for a Tier 2 General visa extension?
Quite clearly, a migrant can apply online for leave to remain (extension and switching) of the Tier 2 General visa. Apparently, the Home Office fees for Tier 2 General visa leave to remain (extension and switching) applications from inside the UK is £704/- and £1,408/-, where a CoS is issued for a period of 3 years or less and more than 3 years, respectively. Furthermore, the UK Tier 2 General visa application fee for shortage occupation for leave to remain applications is £464 and £928 where a CoS has been issued for a period of three years or less and 3 years or more, respectively.
Please note: citizens of Turkey or Macedonia are eligible for a £55/- discount. And the Tier 2 General visa application fee does not include the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS). However, the IHS is refundable in case of a refusal. Moreover, for leave to remain applications, an applicant also needs to pay £19.20 for biometrics.
What is the Tier 2 General extension timeline?
Perhaps, the service standard is to process Tier 2 General leave to remain applications within 8 weeks after biometrics. Moreover, applicants can also avail priority and super-priority service for extension and switching applications.
Tier 2 General priority and super-priority visa service
In fact, the priority visa cost an extra £500/. However, it enables the processing of Tier 2 General extension and switching application within 5 working days. Moreover, the charges for the super-priority visa service is £800. Perhaps, the super-priority service enables a decision by the end of the next working day after biometrics. However, if the appointment is on a weekday then super-priority service enables processing a Tier 2 General leave to remain application within 2 working days. Please note working days are from Monday to Friday and do not include bank holidays. Additionally, the purchase of Tier 2 General priority and super-priority service does not influence a decision. And also does not guarantee that the UKVI will make a decision within the stated service standard. Therefore, both priority and super-priority service for Tier 2 General extension and switching applications are only for a straightforward application.
Can a migrant do a second job on Tier 2 General visa?
Yes, perhaps in certain circumstances a Tier 2 general migration can make a new Tier 2 General visa application if he/she wants to do a second job that is either not in the same sector as the main job or is not voluntary work. However, a Tier 2 general migrant can do a second job up to 20 hours per week if it is on the shortage list without making a new application. Therefore, in most of the instances, the Tier 2 migrant needs a CoS from the second employer. However, a Tier 2 general migrant can not apply for a second job until he/she starts working for the first sponsor in the UK. And also can not start work with the second sponsor until the Home Office approves the application for doing the second job in the UK.
How to apply for a Tier 2 general visa for the second job?
Apparently, an applicant needs to make a Tier 2 general visa application online. And provide supporting documents with the UK Tier 2 general visa application, including a letter explaining that the migrant wants to change the current permission to stay in the UK. Accordingly, the letter may state the name, date of birth and current CoS reference number. And also the date when the current permission to stay in the UK runs out.
When a migrant needs to make a fresh application?
Perhaps, if a Tier 2 General migrant changes job in the UK then needs to make a fresh leave to remain application in case:
- the migrant wants to change job and the new job is with a different employer
- job changes to a different SOC code and the migrant on Tier 2 General visa is not in a graduate training programme
- Tier 2 General migrant leaves a job that is on the shortage occupation list for a job that is not on the shortage occupation list
However, a migrant on Tier 2 General visa does not need to apply for a fresh application if he/she stays in the same job, but Home Office takes the job off the shortage occupation list. Moreover, a Tier 2 migrant also does not need to make a fresh application if he/she continues with the current employer but the job change in other ways. For instance, the migrant wants to change to a job in the same SOC code, or the pay of the migrant increases.
Moreover, in case of a new CoS, a migrant on Tier 2 General visa needs to meet all other applicable conditions but does not need to provide evidence to support the application if the migrant has already provided it for a previous Tier 2 application.
Perhaps, if a migrant has valid permission to stay in the UK then can continue working for the previous sponsor until the start date on the new CoS. However, a migrant cannot start the new job until he/she receives a biometric residence permit with the new permission.
3) How to score 30 points for Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?
Apparently, the Tier 2 General certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is a reference number. And the reference number holds information about the job and an applicant’s personal details. Therefore, a CoS is certainly not an actual certificate or paper document. And Home Office grants permission to a licensed sponsor to assign a CoS to a Tier 2 General visa applicant.
Moreover, the CoS contains information such a job description, start and end date, annual salary etc. Therefore, to score 30 points, an applicant needs to plug in a valid CoS reference number on the Tier 2 General visa application form. However, an applicant can use the CoS reference number only for one Tier 2 General visa application.
What is a restricted CoS?
In fact, there is an annual limit on the number of CoS available for Tier 2 General visa applications. Accordingly, this limit applies to CoS for those nationals seeking entry clearance to the UK under the Tier 2 General visa category. And also on switching applications into the Tier 2 General visa category from inside the UK as a dependant of Tier 4 General student. Perhaps, these annual limits on Tier 2 General visa are usually referred to as “restricted” Certificates of Sponsorship.
Apparently, the Home Office operates the annual limit by not allowing any sponsor to assign a “restricted” CoS unless the sponsor first gets permission to do so by using the monthly allocation process. Moreover, the allocation of a restricted CoS does not mean that the Home Office approves an application to bring a national from outside the resident workforce to the UK. Therefore, if the restricted CoS from a Tier 2 sponsor, then the application is not refused due to the annual limit. However, the applicant still needs to apply for entry clearance or leave to remain application. And also needs to meet the UK Tier 2 General visa eligibility requirements.
What is an unrestricted CoS?
Apparently, there are certain categories which do not come under the Tier 2 General visa annual limit. Accordingly, CoS issued to such Tier 2 General visa applicants is known as “unrestricted”. Therefore, sponsors can assign an unrestricted CoS without first applying for permission. At present, sponsors can issue, an unrestricted CoS to the following types of Tier 2 General visa applicants:
- doctor under SOC code 2211
- nurse under SOC code 2231
- a job at PhD level listed in Table 1 of Appendix J to the Immigration Rules
- sponsoring a job with a salary of £159,600 or above
- a job connected with the inward investment provisions – for details please see the following paragraphs
- all in-country applications except for Tier 4 dependant switchers
If the Home Office finds out that a sponsor is issuing unrestricted instead of restricted CoS then revokes the licence.
When can a Tier 2 job satisfy the inward investment provision?
Perhaps, a Tier 2 job can satisfy the inward investment provisions if it is connected with the relocation of a high-value business to the UK or a significant new inward investment project. And the Tier 2 sponsor registered with Companies House no earlier than 3 years before the date the CoS assigned. Additionally, the Tier 2 sponsor is the registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of a business which has its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK. And the relocation or inward investment involves a new capital expenditure of £27 million or the creation of at least 21 new UK jobs. Finally, the job does not involve the supply of services to a third-party client.
4) How to score 20 points for the Appropriate Salary?
Certainly, a Tier 2 general visa applicant will usually get 20 points for the appropriate salary, if the UK sponsor offers a before tax gross min salary of £30,000 per year or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job – whichever is higher. However, as indicates in the Table below, in certain circumstances, the applicable gross salary may be less then £30,000 per year. However, if none of the exemptions is applicable then the applicant does not get any point for the appropriate salary.
Appropriate Min Salary for Tier 2 General Visa UK
|1||£30,000 or the appropriate rate for the job,|
whichever is the higher
|2||If the applicant is a “new entrant” then the|
applicable min appropriate salary is £20,800 or
the actual job rate, whichever is the higher
|3||If the CoS is for Medical radiographers (2217),|
Nurses (2231), Secondary education teaching
professionals – subject teachers in maths, physics,
chemistry, computer science and Mandarin only
(2314) and Paramedics (3213) then the applicable
min appropriate salary is £20,800 or the actual job
rate, whichever is the higher
|4||If a migrant is applying for the UK Tier 2 general |
visa extension or a change of employment
application and the initial grant of leave was on the
basis of a CoS assigned before 24 November 2016 then
the applicable min appropriate salary is £20,800 or the
actual job rate, whichever is the higher
|5||If the Tier 2 general visa applicant is sponsored as |
a pre-registration candidate nurse or midwife. And
paid at least Agenda for Change Band 3 rate, which is
the appropriate rate for a pre-registration nurse.
And subsequently, the migrant continues to work as a
nurse or midwife on Tier 2 sponsorship after achieving
Nursing and Midwifery Council registration then the
salary will not be less than Agenda for Change Band 5
rate, which is the appropriate rate for a registered nurse
or midwife after registration. Accordingly, the applicant
continues to get paid at or above the relevant salary
threshold after the confirmation of the registration.
Please note: nurses are exempt from the min
applicable £30,000 threshold, but midwives are not.
|6||If the gross annual salary is less then £30,000 and|
none of the above applies then the applicant will
not get any points for the appropriate salary
5) How to score 10 points for the maintenance funds?
Evidently, a Tier 2 general visa applicant needs to have £945 in savings to score 10 points for maintenance funds. Perhaps, an applicant needs maintenance funds to prove that he/she can support himself/herself in the UK. Moreover, the application needs to have had the maintenance funds his/her bank account for 90 consecutive days, no more than 31 days before submitting the UK Tier 2 general visa application. However, in certain circumstances, an applicant is exempt for showing the maintenance funds. For instance, if the fully approved (A-rated) Tier 2 sponsor specifies in the CoS that the applicant will not claim benefits.
How to submit proof of the Tier 2 maintenance funds?
Perhaps, for scoring10 points for personal savings an applicant can provide one of the following supporting document:
- Personal bank or building society statements covering a consecutive 90 day period. However, the most recent statement must be dated no earlier than 31 days before the application date.
- Building society pass book covering a consecutive 90 days. And ending no more than 31 days before the application date
- A letter from your bank or building society, or a letter from a financial institution regulated by the Financial Services Authority or, for overseas accounts, the home regulator. Certainly, the Home Regulator means the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located. Accordingly, the letter needs to confirm funds and that the funds have been held for a consecutive 90 day period. And ending no more than 31 days before the date of application
Please note that the letter must be dated no more than 31 days before the date of application. And all statements must be on the bank’s letterhead/official stationery. Apparently, the Bank Letters showing the balance in the account on a particular day are not acceptable, as these documents do not show that the applicant has held enough funds for the full period of 90 consecutive days.
How to count 90 consecutive days?
Moreover, if an applicant submits documents after the date of the application, then the applicant needs to show that he/she had the maintenance funds for a 90 consecutive days period before the date of online application. And certainly not just 90 days before the date of submitting documents. Accordingly, this applies regardless of whether an applicant submits documents, especially for an extension application from inside the UK, by courier, post or at an application centre, after applying for the UK Tier 2 general visa online.
6) How to score 10 points for the English language requirement?
Quite clearly, for scoring 10-points a Tier 2 General visa applicant needs to prove the knowledge of the English language. Apparently, an applicant can prove the knowledge of English by:
- passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
- having an academic qualification taught in English/ And recognised by UK NARIC equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree.
However, an applicant can also meet the English language requirement in other ways. And in some circumstances needs to meet a higher level of English requirement.
In fact, a Tier 2 General visa applicant does not need to prove the knowledge of English if he/she is a national of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.
7) What are the documents required for Tier 2 General visa?
In fact, for successfully applying for a Tier 2 General visa, an applicant needs to provide the following documents:
- a current passport (or other valid travel identification) with a blank page on both sides for affixation of the visa vignette
- CoS reference number to score 30 points
- Evidence of appropriate (i.e. CoS) to score 20 points
- if required, bank statements showing at least £945 for meeting the first month’s cost of living in the UK (10 points)
- proof of meeting the English requirement such as UKVI IELTS Test result, academic degree with UKNARIC certificate (10 points)
- if applicable then Tuberculosis test results
- certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh
8) What is the Tier 2 visa genuineness test?
This section explains the genuineness test for a Tier 2 work visa. Apparently, the genuineness test is applicable for Tier 2 General visa applicants. And also for the types of Tier 2 visa applications.
In fact, from 1 October 2013, the Immigration Rules incorporates a Tier 2 Genuineness Test for tackling abuse of the system. Accordingly, for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain Tier 2 visa applications an applicant needs to satisfy that he/she:
- genuinely intends to undertake the task assigned in the CoS
- is capable of undertaking the task mentioned in the CoS
- will not undertake any other employment in the UK except for the job assigned in the CoS
Accordingly, the Genuineness Test Tier 2 visa takes into account the following aspects:
- applicant’s knowledge of the role in the UK as a Tier 2 Worker
- relevant experience of the applicant relating to the skills required to do the job in the UK
- applicant’s knowledge of the UK sponsor
- explanation of the recruitment process
- any other relevant information
Genuineness test may include additional information and interview
At times, apart from the evidence submitted with the Tier 2 Application, a caseworker may ask for further information. Perhaps, to ascertain the bonafide of an applicant on the balance of probabilities. Accordingly, the decision-maker may direct a Tier 2 General visa applicant to:
- provide additional information and evidence. Please note an applicant needs to furnish the requisite information within 10 working days from the date of the request. However, if an applicant fails to provide the information then the decision-maker is likely to refuse the application
- attend an interview. If an applicant fails to attend the interview without giving a reasonable explanation then the application is likely to refuse under Paragraph 320(7D) of the Immigration Rules
Application refusal even without conducting a genuineness test
Apparently, in the case of Tier 2 Minister of Religion applications, a refusal without any need of conducting a Genuineness Test is a possible outcome if:
- the sponsor is assigning unusually large numbers of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for ministers of religion relative to its size or for the type of the role/work
- there are reasonable grounds to believe the applicant will not be working in the job described on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
- the job description on the CoS indicates the applicant will be mainly undertaking non-pastoral duties, which could be done under Tier 2 (General)
- intelligence suggests applicants are linked to extremism, terrorism or trafficking
Tier 2 General visa interview questions
Perhaps, many applicants like to know about Tier 2 General visa assessment procedure and the possibility of the interview. Therefore, it is added that under the Immigration Rules the decision-maker can ask the applicant for an interview. Perhaps, especially, if the documentary evidence submitted with the application is not conclusive.
In fact, the Tier 2 General visa interview usually lasts for 15–30 mins. However, in some cases, it may exceed up-to 45 mins. However, the purpose of the interview is to assess the genuineness of the application. Accordingly, UK Tier 2 General visa interview questions may relate to:
- What are the details of the Job that you (the applicant) are going to do in the UK?
- Can you explain your role as a Tier 2 Worker in the UK?
- What you will do for the employer?
- Are you doing similar work in the home country?
- How you have come to know about the job opening?
- When did you send the CV to the UK Employer?
- When you came to know about your shortlisting? And also when you get the interview can?
- And who interviewed you for the job?
- How you came to know about the UK employer?
- For how long you know the UK Employer?
- Are there any family and social connections with the employer?
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