Category Archives: Tier 2

Tier 2 General to ILR & Citizenship Route

After completing 5 full years in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) so long as you have not spent any more than 90 days outside the country in any one year.

Holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as Permanent Residence) means that you spent long enough in the UK for the country to be considered your permanent home, although not long enough for it to be considered your country of Citizenship.

ILR status will allow you to come and go from the UK freely and work in the country without requiring a temporary work visa. Please note however that if you are planning to leave the UK (after securing settlement) for an extended period (2+ years) you will lose your entitlement to the status and you will need to qualify all over again.

Are you a highly skilled IT, Engineering, or Financial Services Professional? Do you need a Tier 2 General visa for the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help! We partner with Tier 2 Licensed employers and consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual under Tier 2 General.

Submitting an Application for Tier 2 General to ILR

To submit an application as a Tier 2 General or Business and Commercial Work Permit holder you will need to:

  • Provide a fully completed and up to date SET (O) application form – You can find application forms on the UK Border Agency website within the ‘settling in the UK’ section here
  • Include supporting documents with your application including;
    • Original Passports
    • Current Passport Sized Photos
    • Proof of qualify against the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirement (KOL)
    • Proof that you have been paid at or above the minimum required level for your Tier 2 General role
    • Birth Certificates and Marriage Certificates (for dependents)

Tier 2 / Work Permit Salary Requirements

If you hold a Tier 2 General Visa (or old style Work Permit) you will need to prove that you have been paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job as set out in the Tier 2 Codes of Practice.

To do this you will need to provide:

  • A written confirmation from your employer(s) confirming that you have been paid at or above the required level, AND
  • Original stamped and signed payslips to confirm the gross and net monthly payments, AND
  • Original personal bank statements to prove that net sums have been paid to you

If you are unable to provide this information you may find that you visa application is rejected.

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK

In order to apply for ILR you will need to:

Losing ILR Status

If you secure ILR and then decide to leave the UK for a period of 2+ years you will lose your entitlement for the status and you will need to apply for entry clearance (normally further to a Tier 2 General Visa) all over again.

You will be able to return to the UK so long as:

  • When you last left the UK you held ILR status, AND
  • You have been away for less than 2 years, AND
  • You are returning to the UK to live here permanently, AND
  • You were not given public funds to pay the costs of leaving the UK

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Tier 2 Dependents | Work Permit Dependent

If you hold a Tier 2 General Visa you can bring your dependents with you while you work in the UK so long as you do not require access to public funds. While here your dependents can access the National Health Service (NHS) and State Schools for free just as any other UK resident would. (more…)

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Tier 2 Visa Extension Applications

A Tier 2 Visa Extension of 2 years can be granted following on from the initial Tier 2 General Visa period of 3 years. The application process is normally straightforward since an individual will simply be applying to extend their leave with an established Tier 2 Sponsor. (more…)

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Tier 2 Transfer Applications

Tier 2 Transfer Applications relate to situations where an individual with existing leave to remain will either change their employment in county OR switch from one Immigration category to another (e.g. Tier 1 PSW to Tier 2 General).

In order to bring about an In Country Tier 2 Transfer a Tier 2 Licensed Employer will need to assign an ‘Unrestricted’ Certificate of Sponsorship to an individual. Once the CoS has been assigned the worker can apply for the Tier 2 General Visa.

Are you a highly skilled IT, Engineering, or Financial Services Professional? Do you need a Tier 2 General visa for the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help! We partner with Tier 2 Licensed employers and consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual under Tier 2 General.

Change of Employment Applications

A change of employment application is one in which an individual switches his or her employment from one sponsor to another.

For example an IT Consultant working for one company as a Project Manager on a Tier 2 General Visa is offered a better role with a competitor. Once the new employer has assigned an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship the individual can submit a ‘change of employment’ Tier 2 application to move from one employer to the other.

Switching Applications

A ‘switching’ application is one in which a visa holder moves from one visa status to another (e.g. Tier 1 PSW to Tier 2 General).

Tier 1 Post Study Work to Tier 2 General

Now that Tier 1 General (the old HSMP) has been scrapped the only option for those on Tier 1 Post Study Visas is to find a sponsor and secure a Tier 2 General Visa.

If you are on a Tier 1 Post Study Visa at present it is very important that you begin to look for a Tier 2 licensed employer as soon as possible as transferring becomes very difficult (if not impossible) if done at the last minute.

So long as you have worked for the sponsor for at least 6 months in a qualifying role the license holder will not have to complete a Resident Labour Market Test prior to assigning an unrestricted CoS. If you are working at a lower level (sub £30k) this will probably be a deciding factor as to whether you secure sponsorship or not.

Tier 2 ICT to Tier 2 General

At present it is possible to switch from some Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Visas to a Tier 2 General Visa, but only where the Tier 2 ICT visa was initially applied for before April 2011 and in a relevant ICT sub category (please see our Tier 2 ICT page for further details).

Tier 1 General to Tier 2 General

Some individuals on Tier 1 General visas find that they struggle to qualify for an extension. This can be due to a number of factors but normally this is due to insufficient earnings in the qualification period.

If you are an IT Consultant and you believe that you may struggle to qualify for a Tier 1 General Visa extension due to insufficient earnings we may be able to help. For further details please get in contact asap.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Out of Country Tier 2 Applications

‘Out of Country’ Tier 2 applications are used where a UK Employer wishes to employ a Non EEA national who does not have an existing status that will allow him or her to move to the new visa in country. (more…)

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In Country Tier 2 Applications

In Country’ Tier 2 General applications are used where an applicant is either; (1) switching immigration category, OR (2) changing employment from one Tier 2 sponsor to another, OR (3) extending existing Tier 2 leave with the same employer. (more…)

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Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) | Individual

In order to apply for a Tier 2 General Visa you must have been issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a Tier 2 Licensed Employer. If you do not have a CoS you will NOT be able to apply for a Tier 2 General Visa.

A Certificate of Sponsorship is a database record in the UK Border Agency’s Sponsor Management System. Once a Sponsor has passed all mandatory Tier 2 employment processes it can assign a live CoS to a migrant worker. The CoS takes the form of a 10 digit Certificate of Sponsorship reference number which the individual must use when applying for the visa.

Are you a highly skilled IT, Engineering, Medical or Financial Services Professional? Do you need a Tier 2 General visa for the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help! We partner with Tier 2 Licensed employers and consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual under Tier 2 General.

To find out more call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

A Certificate of Sponsorship is a ‘virtual document’ which effectively forms the basis of a sponsors right to employ an individual on a Tier 2 General Visa. It is very important that a sponsor issues a CoS correctly and accurately as errors may be picked up at an annual UKBA compliance audit and repercussions can be costly (the UKBA may fine a sponsor for non compliance and downgrade or revoke a license where required).

There are two types of Certificate of Sponsorship (as detailed below);

  • ’Restricted’ Certificates of Sponsorship , AND
  • ‘Unrestricted’ Certificates of Sponsorship

Restricted CoS’s are used in the case of most ‘out of country’ applications which are subject to the Immigration Cap. Unrestricted CoS’s are used in the case of ‘In Country’ extension or switching applications which do not have any effect on the Immigration Cap.

What are Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship are used for ‘out of country’ applications which fall under the Immigration Cap. To apply for a restricted CoS a Sponsor must submit an application to the UKBA by the 5th of the month and then wait for approval before assigning the CoS to a prospective employee.

In the current financial year the Immigration Cap has been set to 20,700 with the total number of available certificates divided up each month. Points are awarded based on the following:

  • Priority is given to those roles detailed on the Shortage Occupation List, THEN
  • Those who apply to work in a role which requires a PhD and is in the research field, THEN
  • Those who have carried out a Resident Labour Market Test with higher level salaries attracting more points.

What are Un-Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Each year Tier 2 Sponsors are asked to request an allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship based on their usage in the previous year and their expectations for the year ahead. The UKBA consider the application and normally credit an allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship to the sponsor.

Sponsors can assign an unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship in the case of:

  • Intra Company Transfers (where an Tier 2 ICT license is held)
  • Existing migrants who are extending their employment with the same employer
  • New employees who are ‘switching’ their employment
  • Those seeking admission to fill a vacancy attracting a salary of £150,000 or more
  • Tier 2 Sports People or Ministers of Religion

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship may be allocated by the Sponsor without applying to the UKBA as their allocation does not affect the Immigration Cap.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Tier 2 Visa General Qualification

The Tier 2 Visa General qualification applies to foreign nationals from outside Europe who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. We only assist people in this category in the fields of IT, Engineering and Finance although this category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill all shortage occupations. This visa is sometimes referred to as a UK Work Permit Visa or a British Working Visa.

How to Get a Work Visa in the UK?

The application process for a work visa in the UK is in two stages. First the employer must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to an individual and then the individual must submit a qualifying application. To qualify under this category you must score 70 points.

Points Calculation

To qualify you must score:

  • 50 points for Attributes (i.e. Certificate of Sponsorship and Salary), AND
  • 10 points for English Language, AND
  • 10 Points for Maintenance

Certificate of Sponsorship (Maximum 30 Points)

The Certificate of Sponsorship is the all important electronic document that allows you to apply for this visa.

Please note that you CANNOT apply for this visa if you do not have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a Tier 2 Licensed Employer.

Attribute

Points

Job has an annual salary of £150,000+ (£152,100 if recruited after 6th April 2013) 30
Job is listed on the Shortage Occupation List
Resident Labour Market Test Completed
Switching from the Tier 1 Post Study work Category after 6+ months with the sponsor
Applying to extend with the same sponsor under Tier 2 General

Salary & Allowances (Maximum 20 Points)

In order to qualify you must be paid an annual salary of at least £20,000+ (£20,300 from 6th April 2013) unless one of the exemptions apply. Please note the actual minimum salary threshold for the role is decided by the SOC code used. The Sponsor must confirm that they will pay the required amount when assigning or applying for a CoS.

Annual Salary and Allowances (gross) before tax

Points

Salary of £20,300+ (from 6th April 2013 – previously £20,000) 20
If the salary is below £20,300 you can still qualify if you already have permission to stay in the United Kingdom as:

  • A Tier 2 General Migrant under the rules in place before 06/04/11
  • A Jewish Agency Employee
  • A member of operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • A minister of religion
  • A representative of an overseas newspaper or broadcaster
  • A Work Permit holder
20
Salary of below £20,300 (and not detailed in a category above) 0

English Language Requirement (10 Mandatory Points)

If you do not speak English to a satisfactory level you will not be able to secure a Tier 2 General Visa. There are three ways in which an individual can qualify, as detailed below. Please note that you will need to submit supporting documents with the application as proof that you meet the requirement.

 

English Language Attribute

Points

National of a majority English speaking country 10
Hold an approved English Language Test 10
Hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s Degree (as verified by UK NARIC 10

Maintenance Requirement (10 Mandatory Points)

There are two ways to satisfy the mandatory Maintenance requirement detailed below.

 

Maintenance Attribute

Points

You have £800+ (£900+ from 6th April 2013) in personal savings which has been in your account for 90+ days.

10
An ‘A-Rated’ Tier 2 Licensed Sponsor is confirming on the Certificate of Sponsorship that it will maintain and accommodate you until the end of you first month of employment if required 10

Please note that if you are applying on the basis of bank statements the balance cannot drop even £1 below the minimum threshold in the qualification period otherwise the application will be refused.

Cap on Visas

For the year from 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014, a maximum of 20,700 skilled workers can come to the UK under Tier 2 (General) to do jobs with an annual salary below £152,100.
There is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK to do jobs with an annual salary of £152,100 or above.

 

When is there no need to apply?

  • you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland – the European nationals section describes your right to work in the UK;
  • you are a British overseas territories citizen, unless you are from one of the sovereign base areas in Cyprus;
  • you are a Commonwealth citizen with permission to enter or stay in the UK because at least one of your grandparents was born here – the UK ancestry section explains how you can apply;
  • your partner or (if you are under 18) one of your parents has permission to stay in the UK under Tier 2 of the points-based system – you should apply as their dependant; or
  • you have no conditions or time limit attached to your stay.

Are you a highly skilled IT, Engineering, or Financial Services Professional? Do you need a visa to work in the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help!

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with Visa Licensed Employers & Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a highly skilled Individual on a Tier 2 General Visa.

To find out more about securing Tier 2 Work Permit Sponsorship or our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Tier 2 Immigration Cap

On the 6th April 2011 the UK Government implemented an Immigration Cap which limits the number of individuals who can come to the UK each year under Tier 2 General of the Points Based System. (more…)

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IT Consulting on Tier 2 General visa

Highly skilled IT consultants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) now have few choices but to do IT Consulting on a Tier 2 General Visa with a Tier 2 Licensed Sponsor in order to work in the UK now that Tier 1 General (formerly the old HSMP) has been cancelled. One other option if you have £50,000 to invest and a valid plan for an IT consulting business, is a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa using our partners turnkey solution

Are you a highly skilled IT Consultant with skills in demand? Do you need a Tier 2 General Visa (formerly UK Work Permit) to work in the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help!

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with Tier 2 Licensed Employers & Consultancies who may be prepared, where appropriate, to sponsor a highly skilled Individual on a Tier 2 General Visa.

 IT Consulting on Tier 2 General Visa

If you’re a highly skilled IT Consultant your aim will no doubt be to work on many varied IT projects in order to develop your professional experience and make you skills ever more in demand. Working for an IT Consultancy can be a great way to realise this aim and build your skill set in order to enjoy a long and fruitful career.

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with a number of IT Consultancies who are always looking for highly skilled individuals with skill and experience combinations in great demand in the UK. These companies are Tier 2 licensed and are prepared, where required, to sponsor a Tier 2 General visa.

Benefits of working for an IT Consultancy on a Tier 2 General Visa:

  • Varied Projects – Work on a number of varied projects during the course of a Tier 2 visa approval and build experience quickly. This should be compared to working for a Tier 2 sponsor in the same role for 5 years and stagnating
  • Increasing Project Rates and Retention – Normally rates increase with experience and value creation. If billing rates increase so will your pay / benefits!
  • 3 – 5 Year Tier 2 General Visas Approved – Our partners normally look to apply for maximum term Tier 2 General Visas (initially 3 years, extendable so that after 5 years you will usually be eligible for Permanent Residence (‘Indefinite Leave to remain’ or ILR)
  • Reclaimable Expenses to boost retention. Where appropriate, expenses may include:
    • Accommodation costs (either hotel or rent & Utilities) linked to work at a temporary site
    • Visa Costs
    • Flights Home
    • Travel cost to a temporary workplace
    • Subsistence costs when working at a temporary workplace
    • Professional Training & development
    • Professional Journals and Textbooks
    • Postage and Stationary
    • Necessary hardware & software

IT Roles in Demand

Many high level Information Technology roles and in great demand in the UK, including;

Senior Business Analysts, Systems Consultants, Project Managers, Senior Systems Analyst, Senior Test Analysts, Senior Systems Developers, Systems Architects, Senior Programmers, Senior Software Engineers.

If you work in one of the areas detailed below or any other high level IT role please get in contact!

IT Skills in Demand

The IT sector is always evolving which means that many new and existing skills are in great demand, including;

Murex, Calypso, Fidessa, Front Arena, Globus, OpenLink, Sophis, Summit, SolArc, SAP, Oracle, SQL, .NET, C, C++, C, Oracle, ASP.NET, XML, Java, J2EE, ION Trading, TIBCO, Solvency II, Basel II, Basel III, Sybase, WebSphere, WPF, Silverlight, Android, J2SE, WebLogic, DB2, Essbase etc

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To find out more about securing Tier 2 Work Permit Sponsorship with a Tier 2 Licensed employer call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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