Tier 2 General Visa

Our business immigration solicitors specialise in corporate immigration, especially in the Tier 2 General visa category and Sponsor Licence applications. Call us on 0203 909 8399 or contact us online.

The Tier 2 Visa is for skilled workers to take up employment in the UK. Employing individuals through a Tier 2 (General) visa is a complex process, involving numerous procedures, which must be followed precisely in order to comply with immigration legislation.

Eligibility criteria

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the occupation and your personal details and is provided by your sponsor. You’ll have to add your reference number to your Tier 2 program form, and you can only use it once.

  • A certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • Appropriate salary
  • the required level of English
  • To score points by showing that they have enough money for their maintenance (living costs) in the UK;
  • The employer needs to have carried out a Resident Market Labour Test

Visa extension

A Tier 2 General 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.

In order to apply for a Tier 2 General Visa extension, your sponsor will need to assign an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship and you will need to use it to apply for an extension. At present, the sponsor does not need to conduct another Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) prior to assigning the CoS, however, this may change in the future.

Indefinite leave to remain

An individual who is granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) can legally settle in the UK without any time restrictions on their stay. Individuals from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) who are under a Tier 2 (General) visa, must meet the eligibility criteria in order to obtain ILR.

A person who was granted a Tier 2 (General) visa on or after 6 April 2011, is limited to a maximum stay in the UK of six years (inclusive of any visa extensions). After this time, they will need to either apply and qualify for settlement or leave the UK, the full criteria state that the individual must:

  • be paid an annual salary of at least £35,000 (please note further income threshold increases from April 2018, as detailed below)
  • hold a Tier 2 (General) visa
  • not have unspent convictions
  • have been living and working in the UK for five years and spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period (continuous residence)
  • still be in their position of employment and required by their employer (sponsor).

A person working in a job role which has appeared on the shortage occupation list at any time while they were being sponsored to do that job will be exempt from the annual salary threshold. They will still need to meet all the other settlement criteria.

Income thresholds

The £35,000 income threshold took effect from 6 April 2016. A Tier 2 (General) visa can extend up to six years, and although individuals may choose to apply for ILR after five years, individuals who entered the UK on or after 6 April 2011 (for whom these new rules apply) will not be compelled to apply for ILR until April 2017 at the earliest. The full details of planned income thresholds state the individual must be paid an annual salary of at least:

  • £35,000 if applying on or after 6 April 2016
  • £35,500 if applying on or after 6 April 2018
  • £35,800 if applying on or after 6 April 2019
  • £36,200 if applying on or after 6 April 2020.

Tier 2 change of employment

Switching employers while on a Tier 2 Visa is a very complicated process. Seeking the advice of the experienced immigration solicitors at Connaught Law can help you successfully deal with the challenges a Tier 2 change in employment can bring. They will ensure that your new employer can officially sponsor you and make sure that any possible issues are considered before proceeding with your application.

Premium service for Tier 2 Extension

We provide premium service also known as the UK Visas and Immigration Premium Service for an extension to stay as Tier 2 General Migrant. We can submit your Tier 2 General extension application through our Same Day Visa Service and can get a decision on your application same day.

For further help or information Get In Touch

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Labour Market Test?

To sponsor an individual outside of the UK under Tier 2 General of the points-based system for a skilled job that is not on the list of shortage occupations, you have to first complete a resident labour market test (RLMT).

What is Shortage Occupation List?

The shortage occupation list is an official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies in the UK.


What is Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?

In order to apply for a Tier 2 UK visa, you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an employer with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence.

Types of UK Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship

There are two types of Certificate of Sponsorship: restricted and unrestricted. All prospective employees based outside the UK will need a restricted certificate of sponsorship unless they will be working in a role which pays £159,600 a year or more, or will be working in an inward investment post.

  • Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship are for prospective employees who are based abroad, and planning to work in the UK in a role paying less than £159,600 a year, unless the job is an inward investment post. There is a monthly allocation meeting for restricted certificates (usually 1000-2000) and an annual cap of 20,700. Prospective employees based in the UK who are eligible to change status to a Tier 2 visa do not come under the Tier 2 Visa Cap and usually do not need a restricted COS. The exception is for partners of Tier 4 visa holders who wish to switch to a Tier 2 visa. These applicants do need a restricted certificate of sponsorship.
  • Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship are to employ prospective employees who are already in the UK (except dependent family members of Tier 4 visa holders) or are outside of the UK and will be working in a role which pays £159,600 a year or more, or will be working in an inward investment post.

What is English language requirement for Tier 2 General Visa?

Tier 2 General applicant need to prove his knowledge of the English language when they apply for Tier 2 General Visa.

An applicant of Tier 2 General visa can prove his knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways or need a higher level of English in some circumstances. Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.


You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

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