UK Immigration Services
Tier 2 General Visa
Duration Of The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa is usually granted for a one year period after which time you can apply for an extension, providing your business is successful. After the two year period the applicant can apply for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa providing he or she is able to meet with the relevant UKBA requirements. Applicants can also switch from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa into Tier 2 General visa category providing they meet with the relevant points based requirements.
Tier 2 Applications
The Tier 2 points based visa category allows non EEA applicants to work in the UK. The application can be made either on an entry clearance basis or applicants can switch in country providing they meet with the relevant Tier 2 points based criteria. At present the Tier 2 points based applications are divided into four categories namely;
- Tier 2 General;
- Tier 2 Intra – Company Transfer;
- Tier 2 Sports people; and
- Tier 2 Minster of Religion.
In order to make a successful application, the applicant will need to ensure that he or she scores the requisite 70 points, which are broken down as follows;
- Have a job offer from a licensed Tier 2 UK employer and a valid certificate of sponsorship from that employer, the applicant will score 30 points if he or she meets with this requirement. A Certificate of Sponsorship will only be issued under the following circumstances;
- The Tier 2 UK employer has completed a resident labour market test; or
- The applicant will be paid at or above £152,100 or more per annum; or
- The position is on the shortage occupation list;
- The application will also need to demonstrate that he or she is being paid the appropriate salary. The applicant will score a further 20 points for meeting with this requirement. The following applicants are exempt from the appropriate salary requirement;
- Applicant issued with the Tier 2 General visa under the rules in force before 6th April 2011;
- An applicant who is a Jewish agency employee;
- An applicant who is a member of the ground staff for a foreign airline;
- An applicant who is a minister of religion, a member of a religious order or a missionary;
- An applicant currently working for an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcaster;
- The requisite skill level in order to qualify for this application is NVQ Level 6 or above as indicated in the codes of practice (this is not applicable to Sports People or Ministers of Religion);
- The applicant will need to meet with the English language requirement at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for which he or she will be awarded ten points; and
- The applicant will need to meet with the maintenance requirement for which he or she will be awarded ten points.
There are two separate processes for the Tier 2 General visa depending on if the applicant is based in country or overseas.
In order to make a successful in country application, the employer will need to allocate an Unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship to the applicant, in some instances the applicant will not need to meet with the resident labour market test. If the applicant is based overseas and has a salary of less than £152,100 the employer will need to request a restricted certificate of sponsorship for the worker in question. The restricted certificate of sponsorship is allocated based on the points scored by the applicant and is subject to a monthly national quota held by the UK Border Agency. After the restricted certificate of sponsorship has been granted, it cannot be transferred to another applicant.
How Long is the Tier 2 General Visa Valid for?
The Tier 2 General visa is initially granted for 3 year and 1 month. Providing you continue to meet with the initial criteria above you are able to apply for an extension for a further two years and thereafter apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Tier 2 Intra – Company Transfer
The Tier 2 Intra – Company transfer allows multinational companies to transfer employees to their overseas UK branch of the organisation, either on a long-term basis or short term assignments. Currently there are 4 sub-categories:
- Long-term staff – This visa category allows the company to transfer employees to the UK branch of their organisation more than 12 months to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce.
- Short-term staff – This visa category allows the company to transfer employees to the UK branch of their organisation for 12 months or less to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce.
- Graduate trainee – This visa category allows the company to transfer recent graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation, as part of a structured graduate training scheme which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role.
- Skills transfer – This visa category allows the company to transfer new graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation to learn the skills and knowledge required so that they can perform their job overseas, or to impart their specialist skills or knowledge to the UK workforce.
Qualifying Criteria for a Tier 2 Intra – Company Transfer (ICT) Visa and Points Available
In order to make a successful application for a Tier 2 ICT, the applicant must score a total of 60 points (or 70 points if he or she wants to extend his or her stay in the UK to more than 3 years).
- Tier 2 – Certificate of Sponsorship 30 (or 50 if applying to extend your stay);
- Tier 2 – Appropriate Salary and Allowances 20 points;
- Tier 2 – Maintenance (funds) 10 point; and
- Tier 2 – English Language Ability 10 points (you are only required to meets with the Tier 2 points based requirement if you extend your stay in the UK for more than three years.
The requisite skill level in order to qualify for this application is NVQ Level 6 or above as indicated in the codes of practice.
Can I Switch To Remain Under Tier 2 Intra-Companies Transfer?
You can apply to switch into Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer – Long-Term staff) without leaving the UK if you are currently here in one of the following immigration categories:
- Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer – Established staff);
- Tier 2 (Intra – Company Transfer), under the rules in place before 6 April 2010;
- Intra-Company Transfer work permit holder (except multiple entry work permits); and
- Representative of an overseas business (including representatives of overseas media companies).
Settlement and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK
After you have lived in the UK for a certain period of time, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. The time in which you can qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) depends on the type of visa you were assigned. The following are examples of how many years you must have spent in the UK on the different types of visas before you can apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK:
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa from 3-5 years depending on the level of investment made in the UK;
- Tier 1 Investor visa from 2-5 years depending on the level of investment made in the UK;
- Tier 1 General after 5 years;
- Work permit, HSMP, Tier 2 General after 5 years;
- Artists, composers, Writers, Sole representatives, Business Person, Retired person of independent means- 5 years;
- UK Spouse visa or unmarried partner of a UK national or a person settled in the UK, Marriage to a UK national or a person settled in the UK- 2 -5 years depending on when the visa was issued;
- EEA Family permits, 5 years; or
- Any combination of lawful residency – 10 years.
Qualifying For Settlement
In order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain the applicant will have to meet with the following criteria;
- The applicant must continue to meet with the legal requirements of his or her existing visa;
- The applicant must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal, and must not be an illegal entrant;
- The applicant must have spent the majority of his or her time in the UK;
- The applicant must pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test; and
- The applicant must not have overstayed in the UK by more than 28 days on his or her existing visa.