Tier 2 - Immigration Overview
Tier 2 immigration, like Tier 1, is a UK visa offers the long-term possibility of permanent residency in the UK. It allows large, multinational organisations to transfer the skills of new and existing staff members to the UK.
Tier 2 work permit visas can last between one day and five years, depending on the time frame specified by the sponsoring company.
Although the tier 2 permit is not in itself a permanent residency visa, candidates living and working in the UK for the minimum residency requirement of five years may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR).
Beyond this, a candidate may choose to undergo British Naturalisation as a UK citizen.
Candidates will be assessed against a points test, with a 50-point minimum pass mark for Tier 2 visa applicants. All applicants will be required to meet this threshold in order to qualify.
Under the Points Based System, candidates will be assessed on their qualifications, their prospective earnings, and the level of demand for their skills.
A PhD qualification = 15 points
A Master's Degree = 10 points
A Bachelor's Degree = 10 points
An NVQ level 3 qualification = 5 points
In Excess of £24,000+ = 20 Points
£22,000 - £23,999 =15 points
£20,000 - £21.999 = 10 points
£17,000 - £19,999 = 5 points
Level of demand
Non-shortage positions are inherently worth 30 points, while shortage positions will automatically receive 50 points. Candidates applying for an Intra Company Transfer (ICT) will also receive 50 points.
Individuals who do not have a job offer but are still classified as highly skilled may apply for a Tier 1 Visa.
The Points Based System places greater emphasis on the accountability and responsibility of sponsors in selecting the non-EEA nationals they bring via immigration to UK.
Under the tier 2 immigration structure, employers are responsible for ensuring that candidates are eligible and suitable to fill the positions being offered and as an organisation, they may be subjected to immigration compliance checks with or without prior notice.
Employers will be awarded either an A or B level sponsorship licence according to the UK Border Agency’s risk assessment.
In most cases, successful candidates will be awarded an A rating, however, where employers do not sufficiently fulfil their responsibilities they may be downgraded to a B rating or have their licence revoked altogether.
When issuing a certificate of sponsorship, employers must be able to show that the position is a genuine vacancy with remuneration equal to that which a UK national would receive were they to be employed in the same position.
The role must also be at or above the National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) level 3. For shortage occupations, positions do not have to be advertised in the UK before a sponsor can employ a non-EEA national, however where positions do not appear on the list of shortage occupations, employers must show that they have attempted to fill the role within the UK.
Spouse and dependent immigration
As outlined above, a tier 2 immigration visa for the UK may lead to permanent settlement in the UK if the candidate continues living and working in the UK for five years.
Since visas of this kind may lead to indefinite leave to remain, tier 2 makes provision for the spouse, common law, civil or unmarried partner of the applicant and any dependent children to move to the UK at the same time.
Any such dependents would be granted the same period of leave as the main tier 2 visa applicant. As dependents they will be able to seek employment in the UK.