How to move to the UK as a skilled worker

Starting a new chapter in life is exciting – even more so if it involves a career move and a new country. But as with most milestone events in life, working overseas also involves bureaucracy. In this case, you will probably need a work visa.

Last year, more than 600,000 people migrated to the UK, with work being the second most common reason for people to make the move. That means thousands of work visas were processed by the UK Visas and Immigration department, with the Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visa a popular choice.

If you are planning to move to the UK for work and looking for more information about whether the Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visa is for you, this useful guide will take you through the main points of what is required and who is eligible.

How does the Tier 2 Visa work?

The Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visa is for people from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) that have a valid job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a Tier 2 sponsor licence. It allows companies to fill positions in skilled occupations like healthcare, accounting and teaching that cannot be taken up by the resident workforce already living in the UK.

The visa approval process requires more than just applying and being offered a job though.

The employer must also prove that there isn’t a suitable settled worker already in the country that can fulfil the role. To do this, the position has to be advertised in the UK for a set amount of time as part of the Resident Labour Market Test.

Once the application has passed the Resident Labour Market Test, further checks will then be carried out to make sure the role is genuine and that the candidate is suitably skilled to do the job. Once the visa is approved, family members (partner and children under 18) can then apply to join the skilled worker in the UK.

Sounds good? Then let’s take a look at the different types of Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visas and what is needed to apply.

Finding the right Tier 2 Visa

There are four categories within the Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visa and each one has some distinct specifications that are detailed below.

General Visa

As the name suggests, this is a commonly used category within the Tier 2 Visa system for people that have a job offer from a UK employer due to its general nature.

To be granted a General Visa, a skilled job offer must include a salary of at least £30,000 per year, or £20,800 for new entrants. Applications also need to include a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer, provide evidence of English language skills at level B1 or above, and proof of maintenance funds or written support from the sponsor.

A Tier 2 General Visa can be extended for up to five years and for some it paves the way for long term settlement in the UK.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa

This category is often used by global companies when an employee is joining the UK branch of an organisation from overseas, but there are slightly different requirements for long-term staff and graduate positions.

For long-term staff, they must have been working at the company for at least 12 months, and the UK job offer must have a salary of at least £41,500. For graduate trainees, they must be moving to the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme with a minimum salary of £23,000. All applicants need a Certificate of Sponsorship and evidence of maintenance funds.

The Intra-Company Transfer Visa can be extended for up to five years for long-term staff, and up to nine years for high earners.

Sportsperson Visa

Sports is a global industry, and with it comes the opportunity for international travel. Many professional sports people enjoy a career spanning different countries, with a new visa required for each move.

To qualify for a Sportsperson Visa, applicants have to be at the top of their game internationally. To work in the UK under this visa category the position must be high level within the world of sports. There are also several requirements that must be met in order for the visa to be granted.

  • Official endorsement by the governing body of the sport
  • Certificate of Sponsorship
  • A salary of at least £159,600
  • English language skills at level B1 or above
  • Evidence of maintenance funds

The Sportsperson Visa can also be extended up to a maximum of six years, but after five years visa holders can apply for settled status in the UK.

Minister of Religion Visa

For this visa class, the sponsor must be a bona fide religious organisation and the job offer must be as a minister of that religion involving preaching, pastoral work, operating as a missionary, or as a member of a religious order.

As with the other types of visas above, the applicant must have a Certificate of Sponsorship, evidence of English language at B1 or above, and proof of maintenance funds. The visa can be extended for up to six years, and visa holders may be eligible to apply for long term settlement after five years.

Next steps in applying for a Tier 2 Visa

Identifying the suitable visa type is just the first step in making a career move to the UK a reality. The next steps involve gathering all of the necessary paperwork and making an application. Working with a visa expert can also help to take off some of the pressure of applying for a visa.



Article Created By Hayley Maguire

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