Point Based System Tier 2 – 5

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 licence. There is an annual cap on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas 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 licenced UK employer and a valid Certificate of Employment from that employer. You must meet the maintenance and English requirements. You must 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)

N.B. If you have been working in the UK under a Tier 2 (General) visa and your job is on the shortage occupation list, but that job has now been removed from the shortage occupation list, you may continue to work in the UK. You may also apply for an extension to your visa if you intend to stay in your job working for the same employer. If you intend to continue doing the same job but for a different employer, that employer must complete a labour market test first.

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). However, you will not have to do so if one of the following applies to you:

  • You were last given leave to remain in the UK under the Tier 1 (General) or the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa tiers or as a businessperson, a work permit holder, a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcaster, a member of the ground staff of an overseas airline or a Jewish agency employee
  • You come from a majority English-speaking country
  • You have a degree which was taught in English)

Maintenance

You must score ten points in this category to qualify for a Tier 2 (General) visa.

You will automatically score ten points if you are currently in the UK in any of the following immigration categories:

  • Any Tier 2 visa category
  • Work permit holder
  • Jewish agency employee
  • Member of ground-staff for an overseas-owned airline
  • Minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.

Alternatively, you can score ten points if you can show that one of the following applies to you

  • You have at least £900 in savings which must have been in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you make your application:
  • Your sponsor has an A rating and has confirmed that it will maintain and accommodate you until the end of your first month in the UK.

Summary of Employer Requirements

If an organisation wishes to offer employment to people from outside the EEA/ EU under the terms of Tier 2 then it must first:

 

Tier 5

The Tier 5 visa allows you entry to work in the UK in a number of different circumstances. If you are from one of the small number of Countries whose nationals can come under the Youth Mobility Scheme you can gain entry without a job offer. For a number of the other Tier 5 visa categories, you must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor and you must pass a points-based assessment.

 

The Tier 5 visa categories are as follows:

Youth mobility scheme: For young people from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, and Taiwan who want to come and experience life in the UK. 

Creative and Sporting: For people coming to work or perform in the UK for up to 12 months as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists. Sportspeople must be internationally established at the highest level in your sport, and/or their job must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level. 

Charity Workers: For people coming to do voluntary (unpaid) work for a charity in the UK. The work must be directly related to the sponsor organisation's work. 

Religious Workers: For people coming to the UK for preaching, pastoral or non-pastoral work, or work in a religious order such as a monastery or convent. 

Government Authorised Exchange: For people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the UK's social and cultural life. This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK. 

International Agreement: For people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law. This includes workers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and similar agreements, employees of overseas governments and international organisations, and private servants in diplomatic households. 

Youth Mobility Scheme

This is a good visa for young people eager to experience living and working in the UK. The Tier 5 visa allows young people from certain participating countries entry to live and work in the UK for up to two years. However, there are only a relatively small number of countries whose nationals are eligible to apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa category; these are Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Your national government will be considered your sponsor during your stay.

The youth mobility scheme is for young people from participating countries and territories who want to come and experience life in the UK. Every year, the UK government allocates a specific number of places for each country and territory. You can also apply under the scheme if you are a: British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen, or British national (overseas). In this case, you will not need a sponsor, and there is no limit on the number of places on the scheme. 

Creative and Sporting

The creative and sporting worker category is for people coming to the UK to work or perform as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists for up to 12 months.

If you are a sportsperson, you can only apply to extend your stay for a maximum of 12 months. If you are a creative person you can apply to extend your permission to stay in the UK as a creative worker for up to 12 months at a time, up to a maximum of 24 months.

If you are a sportsperson, you must be internationally established at the highest level in your sport, and/or your employment must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level in the UK. If you are a coach, you must be suitably qualified to do the job.

In order to apply under this category you must have a sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship.

Your sponsor must have an endorsement for you from the governing body for your sport, which confirms you meet the governing body's requirements to give their endorsement. The governing body must be recognised by the UKBA. 

Charity Workers

This category is for people coming to the UK to do voluntary unpaid work for a charity. The work must be directly related to the work of your sponsor's organisation.

In order to apply for a Tier 5 visa, you must have a sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship. You can make an application if you are currently outside the UK, or you are already in the UK under the Tier 5 (Temporary workers - charity workers) sub-category and you want to extend your stay. 

However, if you are already in the UK in a different immigration category, you cannot apply to switch into the Tier 5 (Temporary workers - charity workers) sub-category.

This visa will allow you to live and volunteer in the UK for a maximum time of 12 months or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter. 

Religious Workers

This category is for people coming to the UK to work temporarily as a religious worker. This includes work such as preaching, pastoral work and non-pastoral work, work in the UK in the same way you are working in an overseas organisation, or work in a religious order with community which involves a permanent commitment like a monastery or convent. In order to apply for a Tier 5 visa, you must have a sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship. Under this visa you can live and work in the UK for a maximum time of 24 months, or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

Please note, if your main reason for coming to the UK is to do preaching and pastoral work, you should apply under the minister or religion category of Tier 2. 

Government Authorised Exchange

This category is for people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life of the UK. This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK. Any work you do must be skilled which means it must be equivalent to NVQ or SVQ level 3 or above.

In order to apply for a Tier 5 visa, you must have a sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship. You may be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months under this category, depending on the length of time of your work as shown on your certificate of sponsorship. 

International Agreement

The international agreement category is for people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law, including the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); similar agreements between the UK and another country; employees of overseas governments and international organisations; and private servants in diplomatic households. 

In order to apply for a Tier 5 visa, you must have a sponsor, and a valid certificate of sponsorship. If you are given permission to stay under the international agreement category, you can live and work in the UK for a maximum of 24 months, or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

You may be able to stay for longer if you are applying as an employee of an overseas government or international organisation or as a private servant in a diplomatic household.

For more advice and information on how to obtain this visa please do not hesitate to contact us online using the enquiry form below/email or via the telephone on a number provided

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