Tier 2 General Skilled Worker Visa

Tier 2 General Skilled Worker Visa

The Tier 2 General Visa is for skilled workers entering the UK with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.

Awards and Accreditations

The Tier 2 General Skilled Worker category is for individuals who have an offer of a skilled job in the UK from a licensed Tier 2 Sponsor. This category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations. You will need to have an offer of employment before applying for a visa.

What are the main eligibility requirements for a Tier 2 General visa?

In order to qualify for a Tier 2 General visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have a job offer in the UK from an employer that holds a Tier 2 Sponsor License;
  • The job you are sponsored for is at least graduate level or a specified creative profession unless it is on the shortage occupation list;
  • You will be paid a minimum salary of £30,000 (£20,800 for some applicants) or the minimum for the exact job you are doing, whichever is higher;
  • The job offer is a genuine vacancy and you are appropriately qualified/licensed to do the job.

Resident Labour Market Test

A feature of the Tier 2 General category is the Resident Labour Market Test (“RLMT”). This requires appropriately detailed adverts to have been placed in one or more general or specialist publications, for set periods to ensure that your prospective employer has made a genuine good-faith effort to hire British citizens/settled workers first. We can review your employer’s efforts to satisfy the RLMT and conduct additional advertising and recruitment efforts where necessary.

A Resident Labour Market Test is not required in cases where the job is on the Shortage Occupation List, for certain doctors and dentists in training, in research positions or if you will be a high earner (annual salary of £159,600 or more). If you are switching from a Tier 4 General Student visa then your employer will usually be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test.

Tier 2 General Salary

There are precise criteria by which it is to be calculated, essentially aiming to include only guaranteed earnings and allowances that would be received by a settled worker in the same line of work and limiting the earnings to those gained in a 48-hour week.


An applicant must satisfy the maintenance criteria and score 10 points under this section in order to secure a Tier 2 general visa. This is possible in the following ways:

  1. Providing your last 3 months’ bank statements prior to the date of application (with a closing balance dated not more than one month before the date of application) showing a balance of at least £945 at all times; or
  2. Your sponsoring employer can certify that they will provide maintenance and accommodation during the first month of your employment in the UK. Please note that only an A rated sponsor can certify maintenance for prospective workers.

Maintenance for Dependents

Your partner and any children under the age of 18 may accompany you as your dependents.

You will need to demonstrate an additional £630 for each of your accompanying dependents in addition to the £945 that you require for yourself. Again, an A rated sponsoring employer can certify that they will provide maintenance and accommodation for your dependents for one month.

Tier 2 General Duration

If your application for a Tier 2 General visa is approved then your first visa can be valid for a maximum period of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter. Your stay must start no more than 14 days before the start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

Permitted Employment

Applicants having leave to remain or leave to enter under the PBS Tier 2 (General) category are allowed to take supplementary employment that must meet the following criteria:

  • is outside of their normal working hours;
  • is no more than 20 hours per week;
  • is within the same profession at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was issued.

In addition to the supplementary employment, the applicants are also allowed to take unpaid voluntary employment.

What work is not allowed?

Tier 2 (General) workers are not allowed to enter self-employment, set-up a business or join another business as a director or partner without obtaining permission from the Home Office. 

They are also not allowed to hold more than 10% shares in the sponsor company if it is a limited (unless applying under the Intra Company Transfer category or those who earn £159,600 or more).

Tier 2 General Extension Applications

You can apply to extend your stay for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

You can settle permanently in the UK after being in the Tier 2 General category for five years. The five years can be accumulated through a combination of different employment-based visas.

Your sponsoring employer must support your application by certifying that you are still needed in the role and will be for the foreseeable future. A record of your work attendance must be provided together with an explanation for any excess absences for serious and compelling reasons.

Your sponsoring employer must confirm that your salary meets the minimum salary threshold (£35,800 for applications submitted after April 2019), unless you are employed in certain extremely highly-skilled occupations which are exempt from this requirement. You will need to provide evidence of your salary including recent pay slips with corresponding matching bank statements.

You must the knowledge of life and language in the UK requirements and must not have committed any overstaying beyond the 14 days which the Home Office allows.

Legal Advice & Representation

Our UK immigration lawyers can advise you in relation to the copious requirements of the immigration rules and Tier 2 Policy Guidance to ensure that you and your dependents make a successful application. We have a wealth of experience in filing applications for Tier 2 General entry clearance, extensions and indefinite leave to remain.

We will ensure that your UK employer is licensed to the correct level and that they have met the requirements of the RLMT.

We can offer a Super Premium Service where the Home Office will visit the applicants in order to process the applications within 24 hours (for further leave to remain only).

If your initial application for entry clearance has been refused, we will make a request for Administrative Review if there are sufficient legal merits. For in-country applicants who have been refused an extension or switching application we can lodge an immigration appeal.

Our team of business immigration specialists have experience in assisting employers and skilled workers across a variety of industries in small, medium and large businesses.

For further information, please schedule a consultation.

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