Tier 2 Visa Statistics 2008-17: A Guide to UK Work Visa Refusal Rate

This relates to Tier 2 Visa Statistics for entry clearance, extension, and settlement grants from 2008-17. And the immigration statistics relating to pre-PBS equivalent Tier 2 work visa statistics. Accordingly, provides the details of Tier 2 and pre-PBS UK work visa success and refusal rate.

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Tier 2 Visa Statistics

Tier 2 and Pre-PBS Visa Statistics 2008-17

Tier 2 General Visa for sponsored skilled workers was launched in November 2008 and gradually replaced its pre-PBS equivalent work visa routes such as work permit.

During 2008-17 a total of 470,083 entry clearance and 330,826 extension grants have been made under the different Tier 2 & pre-PBS equivalent sub-categories. The 10-year average Tier 2 work visa success and refusal rate are 96.21% and 3.34%, respectively.

Tier 2 Visa Statistics for Entry Clearance Applications

During 2008-17, a total of 488,258 entry clearance applications submitted for Tier 2 & pre-PBS equivalent. Accordingly, 488,576 decisions made, and 470,083 entry clearance applicants get Tier 2 & pre-PBS equivalent visa. Apparently and quite understandably the Tier 2 visa success rate was lowest (89.28%) in 2009. However, subsequently, the applicants and all the other stakeholders gradually learnt from their mistakes, which is the major reason for the rise in the Tier 2 visa success rate.

Year Tier 2 Visa Statistics: Decisions
2008 58,260
2009 40,646
2010 43,132
2011 39,787
2012 40,175
2013 46,538
2014 53,622
2015 55,559
2016 56,182
2017 54,675
Tier 2 Visa Statistics: Total Decisions 488,576

Tier 2 Visa Success and Refusal Rate

From 2008 to 2017, a total of 16,297 Tier 2 and pre-PBS equivalent entry clearance applications refused. And 1,734 applications withdrawn and 462 lapsed. The Tier 2 visa refusal rate was highest in 2009 (9.66%) and lowest (1.72%) in 2013. Moreover, the Tier 2 visa refusal rate in recent years hovers in the range of 2%, which is quite encouraging for the prospective applicants.

Tier 2 Visa Statistics Success Rate

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    Tier 2 Leave to Remain Applications (Extension and Switching)

    During 2008-17, a total of 330,826 extensions and leave to remain decisions made under Tier 2 & pre-PBS equivalent routes. And 314,141 extensions granted, and 16,685 applications refused under the Tier 2 & pre-PBS equivalent. Moreover, 10 years average Tier 2 extension refusal rate is 5.04%. Therefore, the 10 years average Tier 2 visa refusal rate for entry clearance applications (3.34%) is lower than that for extensions (5%).

    Year Tier 2 Visa Statistics: LTR Decisions
    2008 43,825
    2009 30,336
    2010 23,145
    2011 19,566
    2012 30,841
    2013 39,056
    2014 36,826
    2015 35,385
    2016 36,729
    2017 35,117
    Tier 2 Visa Statistics: LTR Total Decisions 330,826

    Pre-PBS Work Permit

    Prior to the inception of the PBS Tier 2 route, the major immigration route for doing work in the UK was Employment with a work permit. Accordingly, ever since November 2008 the number of extension decisions and grants relating to work permit fell quite drastically. Therefore, after 2009 the number of decisions relating to work permit is only an exceedingly small fraction of the total extension grants under Tier 2 and pre-PBS equivalent. However, most of the people still refer to Tier 2 as work permit visa, which speaks for the popularity of the work permit route prior to November 2008.

    Year Pre-PBS Work Permit: Decisions
    2008 42,092
    2009 7,516
    2010 84
    2011 17
    2012 8
    2013 2
    2014 5
    2015 2
    2016 0
    2017 0
    Pre-PBS Work Permit: Total Decisions 49,726

    Pre-PBS Other Permit Free Employment

    Other Permit Free Employment Skilled is also a pre-PBS equivalent route for high skilled employment. Therefore, like the work permit route, the number of extensions under this route fell after 2008 and the last extension granted under the route was in 2011.

    Year Pre-PBS Other Permit Free Employment: Decisions
    2008 568
    2009 172
    2010 21
    2011 4
    2012 1
    2013 2
    Pre-PBS Other Permit Free Employment: Total Decisions 768

    Pre-PBS Ministers of Religion

    Since 2008, the Tier 2 Ministers of Religion has gradually replaced the pre-pbs equivalent category of Ministers of Religion/Missionary. Accordingly, after 2008 and 2009, the number of decisions is negligible. And no decision made after 2012 in this pre-pbs category.

    Year Pre-PBS Ministers of Religion: Decisions
    2008 1,110
    2009 337
    2010 15
    2011 0
    2012 2
    Pre-PBS Ministers of Religion: Total Decisions 1,464

    ILR (Settlement)

    During 2008-2017 a total of 44,972 migrants have been granted settlement (ILR) under the Tier 2 route. The Tier 2 settlement grants have gradually supplanted the settlements under pre-PBS work permit route.

    Year Tier 2 Visa Statistics: ILR Grants
    2008 0
    2009 425
    2010 2,829
    2011 4,182
    2012 4,292
    2013 5,167
    2014 5,938
    2015 9,266
    2016 5,727
    2017 7,146
    Tier 2 Visa Statistics: Total ILR Grants 44,972