A Guide to the Tier 2 Work Visa in the UK: Requirements and Application

Tier 2 Visa UK

A skilled worker visa enables individuals to enter or stay in the UK for an eligible job with an approved employer, effectively replacing the Tier 2 (General) work visa. This visa also grants permission to work in UK waters.

Tier 2 Visa Eligibility

To qualify for a Tier 2 Visa UK, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your job must be suitable for this visa.
  • You’ll be working for a UK employer that the Home Office has approved.
  • You’ll receive at least the minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing, which is the highest among:
  1. £26,200 per year
  2. £10.75 per hour
  3. The ‘going rate’ for the specific type of work.

Your employer is responsible for ensuring your job meets the minimum wage requirements and complies with UK rules regarding weekly working hours. Please do so to avoid the refusal of your application.

Documents Required for Application

When applying, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Certificate of sponsorship reference number (provided by your employer).
  • Proof of your knowledge of English.
  • Valid passport or identity document.
  • Job title and annual salary.
  • Job’s occupation code.
  • Name of your employer and their sponsor licence number (found on the certificate of sponsorship).
  • Depending on your situation, additional documents may be required, such as evidence of personal savings, proof of relationship with your partner or children, tuberculosis test results (for certain countries), a criminal record certificate (for specific jobs), and a valid ATAS certificate for sensitive research at the Ph.D. level or higher.
  • Ensure your documents are in English or Welsh, or provide certified translations.

Additional documentation may be required

  • In some cases, you may be asked to show proof that you have enough money saved to live in the UK, like bank records (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows that your company can pay for your stay).
  • If your partner or children are applying with you, you must show proof of your bond with them. 
  • A certificate showing that you don’t have a criminal record; a valid ATAS certificate if your boss tells you that you need one because of the sensitive nature of your job; either your UK PhD certificate or your unique Ecctis reference number (formerly your unique UK NARIC reference number); You’ll need to apply through Ecctis if your degree is from outside the UK.
  • If you are from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, get a blank page in your passport for your visa. If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein but need a digital passport with a chip in it, get a blank page in your passport.
  • You’ll also need to show a verified copy of your papers if they are outside of English or Welsh.

Criminal Record Certificate

When working in education, healthcare, therapy, or social services, a criminal record certificate is necessary when applying outside the UK. Healthcare workers may also consider the Health and Care Worker visa.

If You’ve Lived in More Than One Country

You may need certificates from each country you’ve lived in based on your age and duration of stay.

UK Work Visa Application Process

Apply online once your documents are ready. The application process varies depending on whether you’re outside the UK, extending your current visa, or switching from a different visa.

Apply from Outside the UK

Online applications are mandatory. Prove your identity through fingerprints and photographs at a visa application centre or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.

Decision Time

Typically, a decision is made within 3 weeks. Delays may occur if document verification is required, interviews are necessary, or due to personal circumstances. Expedited choices may be available for a fee.

After Application

Cancellation is possible before UKVI processes your application, with a fee refund if applicable. Receive the decision via email, outlining the next steps.

Extending Your Visa

If job and employer conditions are met, you can apply to extend a skilled worker visa UK or a Tier 2 (General) work visa. Partner or child visas do not automatically open. Travel outside specified regions before a decision will result in application withdrawal.

For Tier 2 (General) Work Visa Holders

Different eligibility requirements apply based on the certificate of sponsorship and application dates. Specific salary requirements also depend on when the certificate was obtained.

By adhering to these guidelines, individuals can seamlessly navigate the process of obtaining or extending their Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa UK.