This guidance relates to the UK Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa 2019 requirements and faqs. In fact, the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa 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), English language and maintenance funds. And the post also tries to answer faqs relating to Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa such as supporting documents checklist, extension, switching, application fee, processing time etc.
What are the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa requirements?
Quite clearly, the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is only for those migrants who intend to undertake preaching and pastoral work, Missionary, or Member of a Religious Order, and in each case are taking up employment or a post/role within his/her faith community in the UK.
Accordingly, a Minister of Religion can apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa if he/she has been offered a job within a faith community. Such as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK. And the applicant is not an EEA or Swiss national and meets the other eligibility requirements.
So, how to get a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa?
Quite clearly, an applicant is likely to get a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa if he/she:
- has a valid CoS for the job
- meets the English language requirement of CEFR B-2
- has personal savings to support the cost of living in the UK
- can travel and has a travel history over the last 5 years
- has tuberculosis test results if the applicant is from a listed country
So, how to score points?
For successfully applying for the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa, an applicant needs to score 70 points.
- 50 points for an assigned Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
- 10 points for the English Language
- 10 points for Maintenance funds
Please note for Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa there is no requirement for the Appropriate Salary.
How to score 50 points for the CoS?
Perhaps, a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applicant can score 50 points for the CoS if the applicant confirms with the sponsor that they have indicated that a resident labour market test has been completed on the CoS, or
- the sponsor has justified that the role is supernumerary. And the applicant will not fill a vacant position a settled worker can fill. And also the applicant intends to be based in the UK for the duration of permission to stay
- that the role involves living mainly within and being a member of a religious order, which is a lineage of communities or of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion. For example, an order of nuns or monks
Sponsor to provide funds and accommodation
Moreover, the sponsor also to need to confirm that they will support the Tier 2 Minister of Religion migrant through funds and/or accommodation that are/is sufficient for the migrant to maintain him/herself throughout the period of employment stated on the CoS. And that the migrant will receive pay and conditions at least equal to, or in excess of, those normally given to a settled worker in the same role. This may be a traditional salary, stipend, customary offering, board and lodgings or a combination of these but must comply with, or be exempt from, the National Minimum Wage regulations.
What is the genuineness test?
Perhaps, a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applicant must satisfy that he/she genuinely intends to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, the role for the assigned CoS. And will not undertake employment in the UK other than permitted by the entry clearance or leave to remain grant. Therefore, in order to assess the genuine intentions of a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applicant, during the assessment process, a decision-maker may request the applicant to:
- provide additional information and evidence. And may refuse the application if the applicant does not provide the requisite information or evidence within 10 business days
- attend an interview. And may refuse a Tier 2 Minister of Religio visa application if he/she fails to comply with any such request without providing a reasonable explanation
Apparently, the Home Office may also use the information obtained during the course of an interview to assess a sponsor’s compliance with their sponsor duties. And in case of non-compliance may revoke the Tier 2 license of the sponsor. Furthermore, in making the assessment, the decision-maker may conclude an application on the balance of probabilities. And accordingly may take into account an applicant’s:
- knowledge of the role
- relevant experience relative to do the role as Minister of Religion in the UK
- knowledge of the sponsor in the UK
- explanation of the recruitment process
- any other relevant information.
What a migrant can do?
Quite clearly, a migrant can undertake following activities on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa in the UK:
- work for the sponsor in the job described in the CoS
- do a second job in certain circumstances
- 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 Minister of Religion visa is not eligible for public funds. And cannot start working in the UK before getting the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa. Moreover, a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can not 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.
What is the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa fees?
Apparently, from March 29, 2019, the UK visa fees for Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is £610/-. Perhaps, citizens of Turkey or Macedonia are eligible for a £55/- discount. And the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa application fee does not include the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS). However, the IHS is refundable in case of a refusal.
How to apply from outside the UK?
In fact, an applicant needs to apply online for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa. And also needs to attend the appointment at a visa application centre for submitting application and biometrics. Perhaps, in case of a successful outcome, the UKVI will use the biometrics information (i.e. fingerprints and photograph) of the applicant for issuing the biometric residence permit (BRP) to the applicant. Accordingly, an applicant needs to collect the BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
Please note: applicants from North Korea cannot apply online. And need to download the application form.
Can dependant family members come to the UK?
Yes, the dependant family members can come to the UK with the Tier 2 Minister of Religion main applicant. Quite clearly, family members need to have a Tier 2 dependant visa if they are not EEA or Swiss nationals.
So, who is a dependant family member?
In terms of the PBS Tier 2 policy and immigration rules, a Tier 2 Minister of Religion dependant family member is a spouse or partner of the main applicant. And also children under 18 years of age. However, children over 18 can also apply if the are already in the UK on a Tier 2 dependant visa.
What is the maintenance funds requirements for the family member?
However, each dependant family member applying for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion dependant needs to have £630 funds in a regulated financial institution for at least 90 days to support the cost of living in the UK.
For instance, a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applicant needs to have £2,835 if he/she wants to bring his/her spouse/partner and two children to the UK i.e. £945 to support him/herself plus £630 for the spouse/partner and £1,260 for the 2 children. However, a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applicant does not need the evidence of savings for him/herself and dependant family member if he/she has a fully approved A-rated sponsor. And the CoS stating that the sponsor will give each of the dependants at least £630 to cover the costs for a month.
What are the documents required?
Perhaps, an applicant usually needs to furnish the following documents at the UK visa application centre:
- Print out of the online Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa application form
- the CoS reference number
- proof of knowledge of the English language
- a bank or building society statement or letter that shows the applicant has enough personal savings unless the CoS shows the sponsor can support the applicant
- a current passport or travel document with a blank page for affixing the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa vignette
- expired passports or travel documents for past immigration and travel history
- tuberculosis test results if the applicant is from a listed country
- a certified translation of documents, which are not in English or Welsh
Perhaps, depending on circumstances, an applicant may provide additional documents relating to his/her credibility and credentials as a Minister of Religion.
What is the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa processing time?
In fact, an applicant can apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion 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 Feb 2, 2020, as a start date then an applicant can apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa as early as Nov 3, 2019. Moreover, the service standard is to process a majority of the applications within 15 working days. However, a fraction of the applications 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 duration of the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa?
Apparently, the maximum duration of Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is either 3 years plus 1 month or the time given on the CoS plus 1 month, whichever is the shortest. However, a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can apply for an extension up to 3 years, or the time given in the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, or the time required to take a migrant’s total stay in the UK to a maximum of 6 years, whichever time is shorter.
When a migrant can start work in the UK?
In fact, a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can start working in the UK 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 Jan 15, 2020, then a migrant can start working from Jan 1, 2020.
How to extend the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa?
Perhaps, a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can extend his/her stay in the UK if the migrant meets the eligibility criteria and provide requisite supporting documents. Moreover, the migrant also needs a new CoS from the sponsor. However, a migrant needs to apply for an extension before the expiry of the current visa. And can include any dependants who are on his/her current visa. Perhaps, also including children who have turned 18 during the stay in the UK.
What is the possible duration of extension?
In fact, a migrant can extend a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa for up to 3 years, or the time duration stated in the CoS sponsorship plus 14 days, or the time required to take the total stay in the UK to a maximum of 6 years, whichever time is shorter.
How to apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa extension?
Apparently, a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can apply online for leave to remain. Quite clearly, the Home Office fees for Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa leave to remain (extension and switching) applications from inside the UK is £704/-. Moreover, citizens of Turkey or Macedonia are eligible for a £55/- discount. And the Tier 2 Minister of Religion 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 Minister of Religion extension visa timeline?
Perhaps, the service standard is to process Tier 2 Minister of Religion extension and switching applications within 8 weeks after biometrics. Moreover, applicants can also avail priority and super-priority service for extension and switching applications.
What about extension visa priority visa service?
In fact, the priority visa cost an extra £500/. However, it enables the processing of Tier 2 Minister of Religion 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 an extension and switching application within 2 working days. Please note working days are from Monday to Friday and do not include bank holidays. Additionally, the purchase of 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 extension and switching applications are only for a straightforward application.
Who can switch to Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa?
In fact, the following types of migrants in the UK can switch to Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa before expiry of their current visa:
- PBS Tier 1 visa
- Tier 2 Sportsperson and Tier 2 General
- Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and the migrant is applying to change sponsor
- PBS Tier 4 visa – only if the migrant has an eligible qualification
- Start-up visa
- Innovator visa
- a dependent partner of a Tier 4 visa
- a representative of an overseas business
However, if a migrant is on another type of visa in the UK then needs to leave the UK before applying for the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa.
What is an eligible qualification for switching from Tier 4 visa?
Apparently, before applying for switching to Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa, a migrant on Tier 4 visa needs to have a:
- UK bachelors or masters degree
- postgraduate certificate in education
- professional graduate diploma (PGD) of education
Moreover, a PhD student needs to complete the last 12 months’ study during his/her most recent stay in the UK. Perhaps, this can be through a licensed Tier 4 sponsor or another visa that allowed the migrant to study.
What about the children born while the migrant is in the UK?
Quite clearly, if a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa have children while the migrant is in the UK then can certainly apply for permission for them to stay. Perhaps, a migrant certainly needs the permission if he/she wants to travel in and out of the UK with the child. Accordingly, the migrant needs to provide a full UK birth certificate to apply for permission.
Can a migrant do a second job in the UK?
Yes, a migrant on a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can do a second job- without making a new application- up to 20 hours per week in either the same profession as the main job or if the profession is in the shortage list. And also can do unpaid voluntary work in the UK.
When a migrant needs to make a new application?
Perhaps in certain circumstances, a migrant needs to make a new application. However, the migrant can not apply for a new application 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.
How to apply for a new visa application?
Apparently, an applicant can make a new Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa application online. And provide supporting documents with the 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.
What is the cooling-off period?
Certainly, a migrant on Tier 2 Miniter of Religion visa can not stay in the UK beyond 6 years. Therefore, a migrant needs to leave the UK once the duration of visa ends. And in most instances can only reapply after 12-months. Accordingly, this break of 12-months is commonly known as the cooling-off period.
Accordingly, if a migrant has had a grant of leave for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain as a Tier 2 Migrant at any time during the 12 months immediately before the date of application, unless the migrant is sponsored for a period of 3 months or less,. Moreover, a migrant can also apply for further leave under Tier 2 if:
- the migrant was not in the UK with leave as a Tier 2 Migrant at any time during the above 12-month period immediately before the date of application. And the applicant provides evidence to show this or
- the salary for the job that is £159,600 or more
Moreover, if an applicant leaves the job with the Tier 2 Sponsor early then needs to notify the Home Office so that the Home Office can curtail the leave. Perhaps, this is important as the 12 months are counted from the date that the applicant leaves ends.
When does the cooling-off period start?
Perhaps, if an applicant leaves the UK before the expiry of the last period of Tier 2 Minister of Religion 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 migrant stays in the UK is less than 3 months. For instance, if a migrant on Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa has a CoS of 6 months and he/she 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.
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