Tier 2 (General) Work Visa UK, Application and Requirements

This is a work permit visa which is divided into two parts, a Tier 2 (General) for employees switching in appropriate categories in country to work for UK based corporations or foreign corporations with a UK base here, or applying for  Entry Clearance from abroad if they have to, to enter in this category, and Tier 2 ITC, ( intercompany transfer visa) which is for those employees who at present work for a foreign corporation abroad, with a branch or subsidiary in the UK and who are being sent to the UK to work for such branch or subsidiary.

Tier 2 General Work Visa

Before an applicant can apply for a Tier 2 General work permit, a sponsorship licence application will need to be made by the employer, to allow UK companies to employ non-EEA nationals.

A Summary of the sponsorship licence application process includes filling out an online application by a government portal; providing a detailed explanation as to why the organisation needs to employ a non-EEA national, carrying out a  resident labour market test to ascertain that a genuine vacancy exits, gathering and submitting relevant documents to the Home Office, implementing adequate human resources and record-keeping systems to fulfil obligations as a sponsor and preparing for a potential home office visit during which period the organisations record-keeping system and files may be inspected for accuracy. The Home office inspectors will, for example, be concerned to ensure that all the employees have permission to work, that students who are employed do not exceed their weekly permitted hours during term time, and that the directors and other officers of the organisation do not have any criminal conviction s which have not been disclosed. Depending on the state of the organisation it will be awarded either a grade A or a downgraded grade B sponsorship; licence and told what to do to upgrade to grade A otherwise it may risk having its sponsorship licence revoked.

It usually takes about three months for a Tier 2 sponsorship licence to be considered and approved by the Home Office. To help speed up the processing of the application the applicant employer organisation should provide a comprehensive overview of how it will meet the requirements set out in the Home Office and provide necessary supporting information.

There must be a genuine vacancy present for a certificate of sponsorship to be assigned to the prospective employee. This is not a paper certificate but a computerised number. The type of duties to be performed by proposed Tier 2 migrant must be set out in the employer’s job description. In some cases, there will be a resident market test which requires the employer to advertise the post, to give persons in the British labour force and in the EEA (which includes all EU countries), an opportunity to first apply for the post and only if the job is difficult to fill within that labour force to employ from outside the EEA.

The certificate of sponsorship can be either an unrestricted or restricted one, assigned to a worker who has existing leave to remain in the UK and is switching to a Tier 2 general visa, or restricted one assigned to work in the branch office or subsidiary of the UK employer by way of obtaining entry clearance from abroad.

After Brexit, EEA citizens will be able to continue to enter the UK to work after 29 March 2019 under a no deal Brexit but will require European temporary leave to remain for staying longer than three months. If they want to work here there will be no restrictions and the Tier 2 visa provisions will not apply to them or their dependents. They should, however, apply for pre-settled or settled status once here to make sure that they are compliant with the law which gives them until 31st December 2020 to do so.

If the UK leaves the EU without agreeing on a deal, the government has said that it will seek to end free movement of people as soon as possible. If free movement ends, EEA nationals will be subject to the same restrictions with respect to employment as non-EU nationals.  For a transitional period only, citizens from the EEA and their family members including Swiss citizens will be able to enter the UK for visits, work or study as they do now. However, EEA citizens wishing to come to the UK for work or study on after 1 January 2021 will need to make a further application under the new skill base based future immigration system which will begin from January 2021, will need to make appropriate applications for visas as if they were non-EEA nationals. From first January 2021 under the current proposals, there will be no differentiation between those coming to the UK from EEA countries and those coming from non-EEA countries.

This Visa leads to indefinite leave to remain after a five-year period in this category.

Tier 2 Intercompany Transfer Visas (ITC)

The Tier 2 intercompany transfer employee must be employed by a licenced sponsor in exactly the same way as a Tier 2 (General) visa applicant insofar as the employer obtaining a sponsorship licence is concerned.

So, the Tier 2 intercompany transfer Visa route can be used by an existing employee of a multinational employer who needs to be transferred to the UK branch for training purposes or to fill in a specific vacancy that cannot be filled by a settled or EEA worker either on a long-term basis or for frequent short visits.

Usually, the intercompany transferee is -as someone who understands the company organisation and there are two types of such transfers, the first is the long-term staff transfer. To apply for this Visa the employee must be transferred into a role that requires the person to have had previous experience working for the company. Usually, such an individual should be working for the foreign company abroad for at least 12 months before being transferred to the UK unless they will be earning at least £73,900 or more per annum in the UK. This signifies, of course, a very senior employee.

The second type of intercompany transfer re-is a graduate transferee or trainee. The individual must be a recent graduate with at least three months of experience with the employer abroad before being transferred.

The intercompany transferee can come to the UK for up to a maximum stay allowed for this type of Visa or the time given on the employee’s certificate of sponsorship whichever is shorter.

The maximum stay for each type of Tier 2 intercompany transfer Visa is 9 years for long term staff if earning more than £120,000 a year; if earning less than £120,000 a year 5 year and one month, and a graduate trainee 12 month.

There are numerous changes to the Tier 2 intercompany transfer Visa route since the launch of the points-based system in 2008.

What the transfer cannot do under this category is to obtain public funds or work before obtaining a visa. What the transfer can do is work for the sponsor in the job described in the certificate of sponsorship, do a second job in the same profession at the same level as the main job up to 20 hours per week; voluntary work; study as long as it does not interfere with the job the person has been sponsored for; travel abroad and return to the UK and bring family members with him/her.

Tier 2 intercompany transfer applicants cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain. This is opposed to Tier 2 (General) applicants who can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Tier 2 intercompany transfer applicants since 6 April 2010 have no longer been unable to qualify for indefinite leave to remain.

There is a cooling off period after the end of the visa of 12 months introduced from 6 April 2011 after which a person who has been in the UK in the in this category is not allowed to reapply to return for example as a tier 2 (General). Please note that no Tier 2 intercompany transfer migrant granted entry clearance under the rules in place on or after 6 April 2011 can switch into Tier 2 general either.

The cooling off period does not apply in the case where the applicant is applying under the Tier 2 intercompany transfer route, where the gross annual salary stated on the applicant’s current certificate of sponsorship is £120,000 or higher or £155,300 if their certificate of sponsorship was assigned before 6 April 2017.

The Home Office will have to be satisfied that this is a proper intercompany transfer situation where are two related companies. Companies can be related by way of shareholding for example where the foreign company is a parent owning all the shares in the UK subsidiary, or the majority of the shares that is to say at least 51% so that it has control. Companies can also be related by management control. Careful consideration must be given to these issues to ascertain whether there is in the first place it true intercompany scenario in order to process Tier 2 Visa.

Why choose Gulbenkian Andonian for your UK Visa needs?

Established in 1985, Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors has the reputation of being the best immigration law firm in London and one of the top immigration law firms in the UK. We have over 30 years of experience and are listed in the legal 500 Hall of Fame. Contact us to speak with our team of specialist lawyers and support staff.

Contact Us