Tier 2 Visas: An Overview

How to apply

Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS) covers highly skilled migrants who already possess a job offer. It replaces the previous Work Permit scheme.

To apply for Tier 2, you need a sponsor - in this case, your prospective employer - who is able to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

For Employers and Sponsors, we have produced this dedicated Sponsors' Guide

Applicants must also score further points for appropriate salary, English Language skills and maintenance.

Restrictions under Tier 2

The Tier 2 visa is tied to a particular employer and if you change employers, or even jobs with the same employer, you will need to make a new application.

Self employment is permitted within Tier 2 under certain circumstances. If you are considering self employment within Tier 2 please contact us for a full assessment of your situation.

Dependants of Tier 2 holders are free to work without restriction.

Tier 2 and Settlement

Tier 2 is granted initially for a maximum of five years. After this time an extension application can be made.

Any Tier 2 migrant who made their initial application after 6 April 2011 will be required to meet minimum criteria on salary, educational level, and shortage occupation status in order to apply for Settlement.


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