This pertains to switching a visitor visa to a job visa in the UK. The post explains the limitations of switching on a visitor visa and also provides details of the routes that can be switched to Tier 2 Work Visa in the UK.
One Can’t Switch from a Visitor Visa to a Job Visa in the UK
Only a visitor, who has been engaged in permitted activities i.e. a prospective entrepreneur; can switch to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa otherwise there is NO Switching Allowed from a Visitor Visa to a Job Visa. Here it is important to under that Job Visa usually means PBS Tier 2 Visa.
Permitted Activities in the UK on a Visitor Visa
Visitors are NOT Allowed to Study, Work and Business on a visitor visa apart from the permitted activities allowed under the Immigration Rules and Appendix V for Visitors as Family, Tourist, Business Visitor and Permitted Study as a visitor. If a visitor breaches these conditions then Suitability of Visitor Visa is questioned and leave to remain in the UK is quite likely to be Cancelled and Curtailed- and accordingly, the applicant is deported/removed from the UK.
If a visitor is caught doing activities not permitted in the Immigration Rules and Appendix V for Visitors then such an individual is subject to re-entry ban ranging from 12 months to 10 years depending on whether he/she had left the UK voluntarily, removed, deported or used deception.
Extension of a Visitor Visa
Moreover, only in limited circumstances, an application can be submitted for an extension of UK Visitor Visa from inside the UK.
Switching Mainly Pertains to PBS Applications
Since the Question pertains to SWITCHING, so it is relevant to mention that the term ‘Switching’– changing the visa category- is usually used for Points Based System (PBS) Visas i.e. a Tier 2 Worker switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, a student switching from Tier 4 to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa- only if an applicant is able to meet the corresponding conditions of switching.
Switching to Tier 2 General Visa in the UK
An applicant can apply to ‘switch’ from another visa category to a Tier 2 General visa, which is the major type of job/work visa in the UK. An applicant can stay in the United Kingdom for a maximum of five (5) years after switching to a Tier 2 General. For switching an applicant must already be in the United Kingdom under any one of the following visas categories:
- PBS Tier 1;
- Tier 2 Sportsperson;
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa;
- Tier 2 (ICT- Intra Company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and the applicant is applying to change the sponsor;
- Tier 4 Student – if the applicant has an eligible qualification or has done at least 12 months of a PhD.
Moreover, an applicant can also switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa if he/she is:
- a dependent partner/spouse of someone with a Tier 4 Student Visa;
- a representative of an overseas business.
Switching from Tier 4 Student Visa to Tier 2
An applicant is required to have sponsored by a licensed Tier 4 Student Sponsor for completing one of the qualifications as a Tier 4 Student in the UK:
- a UK Bachelors/Masters Degree;
- a postgraduate certificate;
- a professional graduate diploma.
PhD Students Can Switch To Tier 2
If an applicant completes at least 12 months of study during his/her most recent stay in the UK either through a licensed Tier 4 Student Sponsor or another visa that allows the applicant to study in the UK.
Related: UK Visit Visa Extension- Can I Extend My UK Visitor Visa?, Long Term Visit Visa UK Multiple Entry Visa Rules, UK Visa Refusal on General Grounds- Deportation Order, Conviction and Human Rights Application UK Visa- Leave to Remain and Enter