To apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa, you must be a skilled worker from outside the European Economic Area and have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer who holds a valid Tier 2 sponsorship license. There is an annual cap on the number of Tier 2 general visas for UK that can be granted. The cap currently stands at 20,700. People earning over £150,000 per year are excluded from the cap.
In order to qualify you must:
- Have a job offer from a licensed UK employer and a valid Certificate of Employment from that employer.
- Meet the UKBA maintenance requirements
- Meet the UKBA English requirements
- Score 70 points or more in the Tier 2 points test.
- In order to gain entry into the UK, under the terms of the Tier 2 visa, an applicant must score 70 points under the Tier 2 points-based system.
- Job offer and sponsorship
You will receive 30 points if you have a valid Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship from your employer. You are eligible for a Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship if one of the following applies to you:
The job is on the shortage occupation list.
Your sponsor has completed a resident labour market test.
You will be paid £150,000 or more per year (very few people earn this much)
You will score 20 points if you will be earning the ‘appropriate salary and allowances’.
In most cases this means that you must earn £20,000 a year, inclusive of allowances, before tax. If this applies to you, you will earn 20 points. If you do not you will not score any points unless one of the following applies to you:
You came to the UK as a Tier 2 (General) migrant under the rules in force before 6th April 2011.
- You are a Jewish agency employee
- You are a member of the ground staff for a foreign airline
- You are a minister of religion, a member of a religious order or a missionary
- You work for an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcaster
- You are the holder of a UK work permit
- English Language Ability
You must score 10 points for your English language ability or you will not be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa extension. Since 6th April 2012, applicants for many visas have been obliged to take an English language test. To qualify for 10 points under the Tier 2 (General) points-based test you must prove that your English is at least at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
Skilled migrant workers who come to the UK with a Tier 2 visa after April 2012 (and so will not be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain until after 6th April 2016), will need to earn more than £35,000 per annum or their applications will not be successful. Immigrants doing shortage occupation jobs, and scientists and researchers in PhD-level roles, will be exempt from the £35,000 threshold requirement for permanent residence. Other Tier 2 visa holders will only be allowed to remain in the UK for 6 years.
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