Tier 2 General Visa (UK Work Permit) Requirements and Guidance

1. Requirements for Tier 2 General Worker Visa UK

The Tier 2 General Visa is designed for skilled workers listed under Appendix J (skilled occupations) and Appendix K (shortage occupation list) of the UK immigration framework. This points-based work visa requires candidates to achieve a total of 70 points.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
– Job offer passes Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) or
– RLMT exemption applies or
– Continuing to work in the same occupation for the same Sponsor
Appropriate Salary – Minimum £30,000 (or £20,800 for shortage occupation) per year or the appropriate rate for the job as stated in Appendix J, whichever is higher20
English Language – CEFR Level A-1 or B110
Maintenance Funds – £94510
Tier 2 General Work Visa Points Requirements70
Tier 2 General Work Visa Points Requirements
  • Genuineness Test: Besides scoring 70 points, candidates must also pass the Home Office Genuineness Test, which may include a visa interview.
  • Application Timing: Applications can be submitted up to 3 months before the job start date, as indicated on the CoS. For example, if the CoS states January 2, 2020, as the start date, the earliest application date is October 3, 2019.
  • Success Rate: In 2019, the success rate for Tier 2 visas was over 98%, indicating high chances of approval.

An applicant applying for entry or leave to remain as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant must score 50 points for attributes

Appendix A

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

A UK employer looking to hire a foreign worker through the Tier 2 route needs to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The CoS is a prerequisite for foreign nationals to apply for a work visa and is issued after certain conditions are met.

Role of CoSEssential for UK employers to hire foreign workers; prerequisite for Tier 2 visa application.
Conditions for Issuing a CoS1. RLMT: Job offer must pass or be exempt.
2. Continuation of Employment: For visa extensions, the applicant must continue in the same job with the same employer.
3. CoS Details: Includes job description, applicant’s details, job duration, salary, maintenance funds.
Annual Limit and Allocations– Restricted CoS: Annual limit of 20,700.
– Unrestricted CoS: For specific cases like shortage occupations or high-salary roles.
Usage Statistics (Example: 2019)Applications: 36,970; Decisions: 36,983; Visas Granted: 36,237.
Revocation of LicencePossible if sponsors misuse CoS allocations (e.g., issuing unrestricted CoS inappropriately).
Key Points for Tier 2 SponsorsUnrestricted CoS can be issued for: Shortage Occupation List jobs, PhD-level roles, positions with a salary of £159,600+, jobs linked to inward investment, all in-country applications except Tier 4 dependent switchers.
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirements for Tier 2 General Visa

Tier 2 General Minimum Salary Requirements

For Tier 2 General visas, the minimum salary requirements differ based on the applicant’s experience and job role.

Experienced WorkersMinimum salary of £30,000 per year or the appropriate rate for the job, whichever is higher. This applies to both entry clearance and extension applications.
New EntrantsMinimum salary of £20,800 per year or the appropriate rate for the job, whichever is higher. This applies to both initial visa applications and requests for visa extensions.
Shortage OccupationsMinimum salary is £20,800 or the actual job rate, whichever is higher, for roles like medical radiographers, nurses, secondary education teaching professionals, and paramedics.
Examples: Chief Executives and Senior Officials (SOC Code 1115, RQF 6)Experienced Worker Rate: £65,100. New Entrant Rate: £45,600.
Examples: Web Design and Development Professionals (SOC Code 2137, RQF 6)Experienced Worker Rate: £25,700 (Minimum £30,000). New Entrant Rate: £19,500 (Minimum £20,800).
Tier 2 Visa Extension (Initial CoS before 24 Nov 2016)Minimum salary of £20,800 or the actual job rate, whichever is higher, for extensions or change of employment applications.
Tier 2 General Minimum Salary Requirements

Tier 2 General Maintenance Funds Requirements

Applicants for the UK Tier 2 visa must demonstrate they have sufficient maintenance funds of £945 for themselves and each dependent. An exemption is possible if an A-rated Tier 2 sponsor agrees to provide maintenance, as specified in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Applicants must show they have held the required funds for 90 consecutive days, with the latest statement dated within 31 days of the application date. Bank letters showing a single day’s balance are not acceptable as they do not demonstrate sustained funds over the required period.

Maintenance Funds£945 for the main applicant and per dependent.
Exemption CriteriaIf an A-rated Tier 2 sponsor states in the CoS that it will provide maintenance for the skilled worker.
Proof of FundsPersonal bank or building society statements/letters covering 90 consecutive days. The latest document should be no more than 31 days old at the time of application.
Acceptable DocumentsStatements/letters must be on official letterhead/stationery.
Unacceptable DocumentsBank letters showing balance on a single day.
Documentation Timing for ExtensionsDocuments must demonstrate maintenance funds for 90 days before the application submission date, regardless of submission method (courier, post, or application centre).
Tier 2 General Maintenance Funds Requirements

An applicant applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 2 Migrant must score 10 points for Funds

Appendix C

Tier 2 General English Language Requirements

Applicants for the UK Tier 2 General visa must demonstrate English proficiency. This can be through nationality, academic qualifications, passing an English test, or previous UK leave. Nationals of majority English-speaking countries are exempt. For most applicants, passing an approved English test at CEFR Level B1 is required, though CEFR Level A1 suffices in some leave to remain cases.

Requirement TypeDetails
Nationals of Majority English-Speaking CountriesNo proof needed for nationals of countries like Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, and others listed.
Degree Taught in EnglishDegree equivalent to a UK bachelor’s, certified by UK NARIC.
Approved English TestCEFR Level B1 for most skilled workers; CEFR Level A1 in specific leave to remain cases.
Previous UK LeaveHaving met the requirement in a previous grant of leave.
Transitional ArrangementsSpecific cases where transitional arrangements apply.
Exempt CountriesIncludes Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, USA.
Tier 2 General English Language Requirements Overview

Tier 2 Migrant must have 10 points for English language

Appendix B
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    2. Required Documents for Tier 2 General Visa UK

    Applying for the UK Tier 2 General Visa requires a set of essential documents. These include a completed application form, valid travel identification, a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), financial statements, proof of English proficiency, health documents, and more. Ensuring all documents are in order, including any necessary translations, is critical for a successful application.

    Document TypeDetails and Requirements
    Application FormPrintout of the completed Tier 2 General Online Application Form.
    Passport/Travel IDCurrent passport or valid travel ID with a blank page on both sides for visa vignette.
    Certified TranslationsTranslation of non-English or Welsh documents into English or Welsh.
    Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)A valid CoS; no separate proof of salary needed as CoS includes these details.
    Bank StatementsMinimum balance of £945 during the preceding 90 days.
    English Language ProofUKVI IELTS Test result or an academic degree with UK NARIC certificate.
    Health DocumentsTuberculosis test results where applicable.
    IHS PaymentProof of Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) payment.
    Tier 2 General Visa UK – Document Checklist Overview

    3. Application Fees and Processing Time for Tier 2 General Visa

    Application TypeTier 2 General Visa Fees
    Entry Clearance
    where a CoS is for 3 years or less£610
    where the CoS is for 3 years or more£1,220
    Shortage Occupation
    where the CoS s for 3 years or less£464
    where the CoS is for 3 years or more£928
    where the CoS is for 3 years or less£704
    where the CoS is for 3 years or more£1,408
    Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)£400 per year
    Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)£19.20
    Tier 2 General Visa UK Cost

    Tier 2 General Visa UK Processing Time

    Standard Processing TimeExpedited Processing Options
    Initial Applications:Priority Service (£220):
    – 90% within 15 working days.– Processing time within 5 working days.
    – 98% within 30 working days.Super-Priority Service (£800):
    – 100% within 60 working days.– Processing time within 24 hours.
    – Typically, 90-95% processed within 3 weeks.– Applicable to straightforward applications.
    Extension/Renewal Applications:Priority Service (£500):
    – Standard processing time of 8 weeks.– Processing time within 5 working days.
    Tier 2 General Visa UK Processing Time

    Note: Purchasing the priority or super-priority service for fast-tracking UK Tier 2 visa processing time does not influence the decision-making process but is intended only for expediting the processing of straightforward applications.

    4. Genuineness Test Requirements for Tier 2 General Visa UK

    The Home Office Genuineness Test, implemented from 1 October 2013, is a critical part of the Tier 2 General Visa UK application process. It assesses the applicant’s intent and capability to undertake the role specified in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and ensures adherence to the conditions of the visa. The test evaluates the applicant’s job knowledge, relevant experience, understanding of the UK sponsor, and other relevant factors.

    Aspect of Genuineness TestDetails and Considerations
    Applicant’s Role KnowledgeUnderstanding of the role in the UK as a Tier 2 General Visa holder.
    Relevant ExperienceSkills and experience relevant to performing the job in the UK.
    Knowledge of UK SponsorFamiliarity with the sponsoring employer in the UK.
    Recruitment ProcessExplanation and understanding of the recruitment procedure.
    Additional InformationAny other relevant information that supports the application.
    Tier 2 General Visa UK – Genuineness Test Overview
    • The immigration office may request further information or documentation.
    • Applicants may be advised to attend a Tier 2 visa interview.
    • Failure to provide requested information within 10 working days or attend the interview can lead to application refusal.

    Refusals Without Genuineness Test (Specifically for Tier 2 Minister of Religion Applications):

    • Unusually large numbers of CoS assigned relative to the size or type of role/work by the sponsor.
    • Reasonable grounds to believe the applicant will not work as described on the CoS.
    • Job descriptions suggesting non-pastoral duties, suitable for the Tier 2 (General) route.
    • Intelligence linking applicants to extremism, terrorism, or trafficking.

    5. Interview Questions for Tier 2 General Visa UK

    The Tier 2 General Visa interview is an integral part of the application process, primarily aimed at conducting the Home Office genuineness test. This interview assesses the applicant’s knowledge, experience, and genuine intentions regarding their role in the UK. It’s essential for applicants to be well-prepared, arrive on time, and maintain a professional demeanor throughout the interview.

    Interview Preparation and ProcedureDetails and Tips
    Interview ConfirmationConfirm attendance promptly after receiving the call/email from the Home Office/British Embassy.
    Rescheduling RequestsIf unable to attend, request rescheduling with a valid reason.
    PreparationReview application details and prepare for potential questions about the role and recruitment process.
    Arrival TimeReach the venue 30 minutes prior; be prepared for potential waiting times.
    Interview DurationTypically, 15-30 minutes but may extend up to 45 minutes.
    Dress CodeNo specific dress code, but formal business attire is recommended.
    BehaviorMaintain patience and politeness throughout the process.
    Tier 2 General Visa UK – Interview Process Overview

    Tier 2 General Visa UK Interview Questions Checklist:

    The UK Tier 2 visa requirements for the interview questions usually relates to assessing an applicant’s knowledge, experience, and intentions of doing job in the UK. Since a Tier 2 Sponsor can only hire a foreign worker if a settled worker is not available for the job, therefore, focus of UK visa interview questions for Tier 2 work permit also includes an explanation about the recruitment process. Accordingly, the UK Tier 2 visa (aka work permit) interview questions may usually relate to:

    Question CategorySample Interview Questions
    Job Details– What are the details of the Job that you are going to do in the UK?
    Role Explanation– Can you explain your role as a Tier 2 Worker in the UK?
    – What will you do for the employer?
    Work Experience– Are you doing similar work in your home country?
    Job Application Process– How did you come to know about the job opening?
    – When did you send the CV to the UK Employer?
    – When did you learn about your shortlisting? And when did you get the interview call?
    Employer Knowledge– Who interviewed you for the job?
    – How did you come to know about the UK employer?
    – For how long have you known the UK Employer?
    Personal Connections– Are there any family or social connections with the employer?
    Tier 2 General Visa UK Interview Questions Checklist

    6. Additional Guidance for Tier 2 (General) Migrants

    Permitted Activities– Work as per the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
    – Take a second job under certain conditions.
    – Engage in voluntary work.
    – Study without affecting the sponsored job.
    – Travel abroad and return to the UK.
    – Bring family members to the UK.
    Investment and Shareholding Limitations– Ownership of no more than 10% of the sponsor’s shares unless earning over £159,600 per year.
    – Ineligibility for public funds.
    – Exclusion from applying for work as a Sportsperson or Minister of Religion.
    High-Value Business Relocation or New Investment Jobs– Required new capital expenditure of £27 million or creation of 21 new UK jobs.
    – Sponsor registered with Companies House for at least 3 years before CoS assignment.
    – Sponsor must be a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of a business outside the UK.
    – Job should not involve supplying services to third-party clients.
    Rules for a Second Job– Allowed for up to 20 hours per week in a different sector or voluntary work.
    – Requires a Certificate of Sponsorship from the second employer.
    – New application after starting work with the first sponsor, and approval before starting the second job.
    Requirements for a New Tier 2 Visa Extension Application– Change of jobs or employer.
    – Change to a different SOC code, unless in a graduate training program.
    – Movement from a shortage occupation list job to a non-list job.
    Conditions for Not Requiring a New Tier 2 General Visa Application– Staying in the same job with the current employer, even if removed from the shortage occupation list.
    – Changes like role shift within the same SOC code or salary increase.
    Tier 2 General Visa Duration of Stay– Maximum duration is 5 years and 1 month, typically aligning with the CoS period plus an additional 28 days total.
    – Visa starts 14 days before the CoS job start date.
    Applying for Tier 2 Visa Extension After 5 Years– Extension granted for up to 5 years or until the CoS job end date plus 14 days.
    – Maximum length of stay, including extensions, is 6 years.
    Tier 2 General Visa UK Cooling-off Period– Starts from the earliest evidenced date of leaving the UK if earlier than the visa expiry date.
    – Applies even if the actual UK stay is shorter than the CoS duration (more than 3 months).
    Guidance Notes for Tier 2 (General) Migrants

    7. FAQs: Understanding Tier 2 General Visa UK

    1. What is a Tier 2 General Visa?

      A Tier 2 General Visa is for skilled workers who have been offered a job in the UK and have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer.

    2. What are the basic requirements for a Tier 2 General Visa?

      Applicants must score 70 points, with points awarded for having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship, an appropriate salary, English language proficiency, and maintenance funds.

    3. How much is the minimum salary requirement?

      The minimum salary is usually £30,000 for experienced workers or the appropriate rate for the job, whichever is higher.

    4. Is there a language requirement for the Tier 2 Visa?

      Yes, applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency, typically at CEFR Level B1.

    5. What are the maintenance fund requirements?

      Applicants must have at least £945 in savings unless their sponsor can cover their costs for the first month.

    6. How long does it take to process a Tier 2 General Visa?

      Standard processing times are 90% within 15 working days, but expedited services are available for an additional fee.

    7. Can I bring my family members on a Tier 2 Visa?

      Yes, dependents can accompany the main applicant, but they must meet certain eligibility criteria.

    8. Can I switch employers while on a Tier 2 Visa?

      Yes, but you must obtain a new Certificate of Sponsorship and apply for a new Tier 2 Visa.

    9. What is the maximum duration for a Tier 2 General Visa?

      The maximum duration is 5 years and 1 month, or the period stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

    10. How do I qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) on a Tier 2 Visa?

      After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, you may be eligible for ILR, subject to meeting certain criteria like minimum salary thresholds and not exceeding absence limits.

    Remember, this information is based on the rules as of the last update and can change. Always check the latest guidelines from official sources or consult with an immigration expert.