Category Archives: Tier 1

Tier 2 Visa

At Commonwealth Contractors we specialise in the Tier 2 Visa (General) process. Acquiring this visa is largely the main route for highly skilled professionals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to work in the UK. It replaced the former UK work permit and allows a Tier 2 Licensed Employer to recruit a non-EEA national where it has not been possible to fill the position with a resident UK worker.

We partner with Licensed Employers & Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a highly skilled Individual on this visa.

Eligibility for Tier 2 Visa

Qualifying for a Tier 2 Visa is a two stage process. First the Licensed Employer must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to an individual and then the individual must submit a qualifying application fulfilling the criteria of appropriate salary, English language and maintenance requirements on-a-points based system. Read more . . .


Tier 2 Visa General

Tier 2 Visa General is available to Non EEA nationals who are coming to the UK to fill a vacant position that cannot be filled by a UK citizen and who have confirmed sponsorship from a licensed UK employer. The application process is an “out of country” for applicants who do not have existing status within the UK.

ICT (Inter Company Transfer)

Tier 2 ICT (Intra Company Transfer) Visa is designed to allow multi-national companies to transfer overseas employees to the UK to fill specific roles which they have not been able to fill with resident workers. Read more . . .

Tier 2 Visa Extensions

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.  Read more . . .

Switching to a Tier 2 Visa

You can apply for a Tier 2 Visa ‘In Country’ where an applicant is either switching immigration category, or changing employment from one Tier 2 sponsor to another, or extending existing Tier 2 leave with the same employer. Read more . . .

Tier 2 Dependents

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. Read more . . .    

Tier 2 Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

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. Read more . . .    

Minister of Religion

Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visas are for those who have been offered employment or a post as a minister of religion, a missionary or a member of a religious order in the United Kingdom. Read more . . .

Sportsperson Visa

The Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa allows UK based sporting organisations to employ elite sports people and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level. Read more . . .


Are you a highly skilled IT, Engineering, or Financial Services Professional? Do you need a Tier 2 Visa to work in the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help! To find out more about securing Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you.


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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa | Contract / Consulting Business with £50K

Would you like to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa ? Do you have £50,000 and a viable business plan? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help.

The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is focused on those who want to set up a business in which they will invest at least £200,000 and employ 2 local people (settled workers). For many this £200,000 hurdle is simply too steep to clear.

However if you have at least £50,000 there may be another option. At Commonwealth Contractors we work with experienced partners and sponsors who may be able to help you. You will need to secure the other £150,000 in the form of a loan and to get such backing you will need a detailed and viable plan, ideally with key clients and fee-earners already identified. If other key fee earners are also expats, then this need not be a problem.

You may like to read the following:

To discuss your situation and options with an experienced professional call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!


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Tier 1 Investor Visas | Concerns Over Checks on Applications

Tier 1 Investor Visas was introduced in 2008 and in that year 43 foreign nationals succeeded in their applications. In 2012 the number of applications soared and 470 visas were granted. The increase was due to rising demand from people from Russia and China.

According to a report in the FT this week wealth management companies are concerned over Home Office checks into the foreign millionaires’ finances as they feel there is a disconnect between what the companies have to do to establish the source of funds and what are perceived as the less in depth checks carried out by the Home Office. The response from the Home Office is that they are carrying out extensive verification and criminality checks and preventing fraud but these checks are not a substitute for those that financial institutions are legally required to carry out on investors’ funds .

For more information from this site on the this type of visa click on Commonwealth Contractors Tier 1 Visa Information.

If you have not got a million £s in the bank but have exceptional talent then the Tier 1 Exceptional talent route may be for you. Click here.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

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Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa | London Visa

Last Sunday evening the FT reported on the London mayor, Boris Johnson’s idea for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa /“London Visa”. If adopted would make it easier for talented technologists from around the world to get jobs in tech start ups and fashion studios. The plan to provide City Hall with a yearly allocation of 100 of the government’s existing exceptional talent visas has already been submitted to the Home Office. If granted the mayor’s office in collaboration with Tech City, the Fashion Council and London Design Festival would pick the best applicants, officially endorse them and speed their entry.

Mr Johnson said “It is a clear message to the elite of Silicon Valley or the fashionistas of Beijing that London is the place they should come to in order to develop ideas, build new businnnesses and be part of an epicentre for global talent.”

Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for business and enterprise thought the 100 visas a year was fairly modest and stated that in the fields of technology and design, individual talent really matters. He said ” We only need to find one Steve Jobs and we have an Apple on our hands.”

Fledgling businesses cannot cope with the complications and expense of sponsoring foreign workers. According to an article in Computer Weekly Eric van der Kleij, previously CEO of Tech City, suggested the government could invest money into creating experts to teach young companies how to hire people from outside the UK. He said “You can’t change the robustness of the system or it will be abused, but you should spend the money on helping younger companies use the system.”

A report in today’s Daily Telegraph highlights that the Development Economics study estimated that the technology industry, which employs two million people, needs an extra 750,000 workers by 2017 to ubnlock a £12bn windfall. Britain, especially London, is poised on the brink of becoming one of the power houses of the global dogital economy and a genuine rival to Silicon Valley. According to Jonas Almgren, a Silicon Valley veteran, Britain needs more talent to fuel the latest dotcom boom and that means looking further afield. Like football’s Premier league we need to employ the best the world has to offer if we want to be a global player.

We need Boris Johnson’s idea for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent “London Visa” and more. The scheme has been designed in a way that would not antagonise the government and as a Conservative politician he is under pressure to toe the party line to stem the flow of immigrants. While walking the tightrope he works hard to keep people focused on the fact that we need to keep the door open for business people and students in the long term interests of the economy.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

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UK Eases Visa Rules – 1st October 2013

Last Friday, Mark Harper, the immigration minister, announced changes which generally ease visa rules from 1st October 2013. Some of the key changes are:

  • Removal of the English language requirement for intra-company transferees.
  • Tourists and business visitors are allowed to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit.
  • Share ownership restrictions waived for senior staff earning £152,100 or more.
  • Artists of exceptional promise enabled to apply under Tier 1.
  • Graduate entrepreneurs will find it easier to switch into Tier 2.
  • New youth mobility scheme quotas set for 2014
  • Hong Kong will be added to the list of participating countries and territories on the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme in order to further strenghten business, trade and cultural ties.
  • Some students will be allowed to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.
  • The removal of the prospective student route.
  • The expansion of checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for.
  • The introducion of  powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English.
  • Dependants in the Points Based System and other work routes will be allowed to apply from within the UK, providing they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or temporary release. They will still need to satisfy all other existing requirements.
  • Special rules for overseas visitors to the Commonwealth Games 2014 were included.
  • With effect from the 28th October 2013 there will be changes to how applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!


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Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Route | Changes from the 6th April 2013

Changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa route will mean that you no longer have to pay the full application fee upfront, before you know whether your designated competent body will recommend your endorsement. They will no longer need to hold onto your passport while the designated competent body is considering your endorsement, allowing you to travel.

The process will be split into two:
Stage 1 will be applying for endorsement by a designated competent body.
Stage 2 will be applying for permission to work in the UK under this route.

Commonwealth Contractors

If you have exceptional talent or if you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK then Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.


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Wealthy Global Investors Favour Silicon Roundabout

According to a report in the FT entrepreneurs from around the world are attracted to the UK’s fastest growing business sectors including the rapidly expanding IT start-up sector centered around the Silicon Roundabout.

Where is it?

Old Street roundabout in London is referred to as Silicon Roundabout owing to the number of web start-up companies in the area. It sits on the northern fringe of the centuries-old financial hub, the City of London. In September 2011 Google acquired a  building  in the area which has since been transformed into a Google Campus comprised of  seven floors of co-working space, a café and events space for start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

According to  International Law Firm Pinsent Masons the number of wealthy foreign investors issued with specialist ‘investor visas’ allowing these people to stay in the UK has rocketed in the past year. The figure has risen to 462 at the end of a 12 month period ending in June 2012 compared with 199 in the same period a year earlier.

Simon Horsfield, the head of Pinsent Masons’ business immigration team says: “The UK, and London in particular, remains hugely attractive to wealthy individuals from around the globe. Foreign nationals still see London as an expat friendly gateway to Europe. London offers both political stability and a very transparent legal system. Investors see prime property in the capital as a very attractive and liquid asset. Prime property prices in London have remained stable or even increased despite the global downturn, which is a real lure for High Net Worths.”

These start-ups will also need talented engineers and other creative people. David Cameron on his visit to India last week announced that there is no cap on foreign students allowed in Britain provided they have basic English and an offer to study at a UK university. It is not just from India that we need them. These entrepreneurs and students will boost our economy through their expertise, innovative ideas and job creation. Making them welcome is the way forward for us.

If you are an expat studying for a PhD or an MBA, we, and our partners can help you

* Obtain a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa.


* Find an employer able to employ you on a Tier 2 (general) work visa.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

If you are a Tier 1 Entrepreneur we await your call.


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Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant “Genuine Entrepreneur” Test

Why is the Genuine Entrepreneur Test Required?

On the 30th January the Immigration Minister Mr Harper laid before Parliament a written ministerial statement setting out the changes to the Tier 1 (Entrpreneur) Migrant route with effect from the 31st January 2013. Following the tightening of other migration routes the Entrepreneur route is apparently targeted by applicants who are recycling funds amongst different applicants and creating artificial businesses. Mr Harper stated that he was introducing a “genuine entrepreneur” test which will give UK Border Agency caseworkers the ability to test the credibility of suspicious applicants.

One of the main changes is that the UKBA make ask for verification that funds claimed to be available in the application are still available at a later date. The funds can be in the applicant’s own possession or in the financial accounts of an incorporated business of which the applicant is a director or available from the third party or parties named in the application. The viability and credibility of the applicant’s business plans and market research into their chosen business sector will be assessed. Their previous educational and business experience, immigration history and previous activity in the UK will also come under scrutiny. The introduction of these tests will inevitably lead to delays for applicants.

The Immigration Minister Mark Harper is confident that students will still want to come here to study. Figures released by UCAS showed an increase in applications to study at UK universities by non-EEA students. The most significant figures were a 9.9% increase in application from China and a 19.3% from India. He said “This shows that despite rhetoric to the contrary, students continue to want to come to the UK to study in our world class universities.” However, these students had applied before Mr Harper changed the rules.

In the Spectator on January 25th it was reported by Alex Massey that Canada  has just announced a program that will grant immediate permanent residency to qualifying entrepreneurs from 1st April 2013. The Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney plans to recruit the super bright foreign nationals from Asia who are working in technology in the US but may have to leave before they can get the US Green Card.

Barack Obama possibly had this on his mind when, in his Immigration Speech on the 29th January 2013 in Los Vegas as reported in the Washington Post, he said
“Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future. Think about it. We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. That’s who we are, in our bones. The promise we see in those who come here from every corner of the globe, that’s always been one of our greatest strengths. It keeps our workforce young. It keeps our country on the cutting edge. And it helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.”

Later he added “We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out. But then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else. That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform. Now…”

Will the UK match Canada in offering permanent residency to high flyers? We will have to wait and see. In the meantime our partners at Commonwealth Contractors have experience in helping entrepreneurs, both with visa applications and in some cases with funding.

Contact us:

  • for tier 1 entrepreneur visa help
  • if you would like to meet similar individuals to make up an entrepreneurial team
  • for help with funding if you have a proven ability for your business to generate revenues of > £200k pa.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.


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Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Expansion | 1000 Extra MBA Places

While most areas of UK visa policy are getting tighter, the red carpet is still rolled out for the world’s high flyers.

In December 2012 Theresa May, UK Home Secretary, announced that

  • Phd students will be given 12 months from completing their course to seek work or  as entrepreneurs to start businesses in the UK
  • An extra 1000 Tier 1 ‘Exceptional Talent’ visas will be for MBA students.

The announcement followed London Mayor Boris Johnson’s public support for expat students coming to learn in the UK, and reports that British business schools thought overseas students had been reluctant to study here for an MBA as a direct result of the tightening on the immigration rules that limit their stay after graduation.

It remains to be seen if these very selective freedoms for top postgraduates will alter the perceptions created by generic UK government and opposition statements that the UK wants fewer immigrants.

Certainly the 28th January 2013 FT Business Education supplement, looking at global MBAs highlighted the extra 1000pa Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas being released from April 2013, and it is to be hoped that prospective MBA students will be able to see that the UK really wants them.

So where in the UK should you study for your MBA?
According to the FT’s MBA 2013 college rankings there are 11 schools in the global top 100 with the London Business School at the top of that 11.

Other interesting points made in the supplement include:

  • People are thinking more carefully about taking two years off work to complete an MBA.
  • Students are not interested in learning about business in isolation. For example at Oxford Said Business School 6% of their 200 students are on their 1 + 1 MBA programme which combines the in-depth study of a specialist masters degree with the breath of a one year MBA.
  • Contacts made through MBA Alumni networks are important for opening doors to the future and networking is often an important factor when decided to study for an MBA.
  • The inclusion of trips immersing students in other cultures are now a key part of an MBA. The FT has teamed up with the Global Fund for Children (GFC) and created a challenge for teams of students where there is an intenational mix i.e. One student has to be studying in Europe, a second in the Americas and a third in Asia and Africa. See link below.

If you are an expat studying for a PhD or an MBA, we, and our partners can help you

* Obtain a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa.


* Find an employer able to employ you on a Tier 2 (general) work visa.

Call Commonwealth Contractors on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. We are ready to help smooth the path to your future.

FT Links: FT Education and FT and Global Fund for Children MBA 2013 Challenge


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Tier 4 Students – 12.12.12 Deadline To Switch To T1(E)

The new guidance for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants after 13th December 2012 means that most Tier 4 students will have to go home to apply.


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