UK Sponsorship Visa
The Tier 2 (general) sponsored skilled visa is for people coming to the United Kingdom with a job offer to fill a gap that cannot be filled by a settled worker (ie a UK or EU citizen). This category is also for applicants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations. Unless you are in a shortage occupation, your employer must complete a ‘resident labour market’ test to prove that the job can not be filled by a resident worker.
For the sponsored skilled visa you are only permitted to work for the employer that sponsors you and if you left the job for which you were sponsored then you would have to leave the UK or get another employer to apply for another sponsorship certificate for you.
Is Tier 2 (general) UK sponsorship visa the right visa for you?
Unless you are in a shortage occupation, it is not easy to secure a sponsor for a Tier 2 visa from outside the UK. Therefore, if you are not in a shortage occupation and wish to apply for a visa from outside the UK, then Tier 1 or Tier 5 could be better options for you. In certain industries (most likely industries with skills shortages), a UK recruitment agency may be able to help you find a sponsor in the UK. A sponsored visa is also a common route for working holiday makers who wish to continue working for their employer when their first visa expires.
Do you qualify for the Tier 2 (general) visa?
Tier 2 (general) is a points-based visa. You must score 70 points to qualify for UK sponsorship - visa, including:
50 points for Attributes (including, your qualifications, prospective earnings and the fact that you have a UK sponsorship visa certificate from a UK employer)
10 points for English language skills
10 points for Maintenance
Attributes and your sponsorship certificate
You will need to score at least 30 points for your Qualifications and Prospective earnings, plus you will get 20 points for a sponsorship certificate, which your employer will apply for on your behalf. This must add up to the 50 points you require for your ‘Attributes’. The better your qualification is, and the higher your prospective earnings/salary, the more points you will receive.
Your sponsor will need to be registered as a licensed sponsor with the UK Border Agency and apply for a certificate of sponsorship for you. The certificate will act as an assurance that you intend to undertake a particular job. There is more information for sponsors on the UK Border Agency website.
If you get a sponsorship certificate, it does not guarantee that you will secure a Tier 2 visa. You must meet all the requirements for Entry Clearance.
If you are within an occupation on the UK skills shortage list you will receive sufficient points for attributes, without having to earn points for prospective earnings or qualifications. You will still need a sponsorship certificate. The UK Skills Shortage list includes specific job titles and currently includes some construction and engineering positions, some medical practitioners (including nurses), some teaching positions, and more. You can view the current list on the UK Border Agency website.
English language skills and maintenance
As with other UK visas, when you apply for entry clearance you will have to prove your English language skills and show that you have enough money to support yourself when you arrive in the UK. When you apply for entry clearance under Tier 2, you will have to show that you have £800 in personal savings and you must have held it for a period of three months. The evidence you provide (such as original personal bank statements) must be dated no earlier than one month before the date of your application.
What happens if my sponsorship certificate becomes invalid?
Your sponsor is obligated to tell UK immigration if they no longer employ you or if there is a significant change in your job or salary. These circumstances may mean that your UK sponsorship visa is not valid and you will no longer have permission to work in the UK.
If you have been approved for a Tier 2 - sponsored skilled visa, you can apply to change employment, either within the same organisation or with a new organisation. The application will be treated as a new application, and the work will need to be with a licensed sponsor, with a new sponsorship certificate.