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Tier 2 General Visa

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The Tier 2 visa is now the main UK immigration route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment, usually paying a salary of at least £20,800. In order to apply for this visa you must have a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence.  The Tier 1 General Visa Category for independent skilled immigration to the UK without a job has not been available for new applicants since April 2011.

This guide is split into the following sections:


Tier 2 General Visa Length of Stay

Up to 5 years and 14 days, or up to one month after the period stated on your certificate of sponsorship (whichever comes first), and up to 6 years with extensions.


In many cases the Tier 2 sponsorship licence employer will guarantee maintenance which will meet this requirement.  Most employers are "A rated" and are allowed to do this.  Alternatively, Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) visa applicants must show that they have funds of at least £945, and that at no time over the last 3 months has the balance in their bank account gone below this figure.


The job stated on a Tier 2 certificate of sponsorship must pay an 'appropriate' salary. This usually means at least £20,800 per year. There are exceptions for certain groups, workers whose previous OR current permission to enter the UK fall under the following categories have different salary rules:

  • Tier 2 (General) visa holders whose visas were granted before April 2011

  • Employees of a Jewish agency

  • Ground staff employed by an airline based outside of the UK

  • Religious workers, including ministers, missionaries, and religious order members

  • Workers employed by a media organisation – such as a newspaper or television news station - based outside of the UK

  • Work permit holders

  • Unregistered nursing staff

Tier 2 Visa and New or additional employment

Tier 2 Workers on this visa who wish to leave their job and work for a new employer will need a new tier 2 visa.  Tier 2 visa holders are free to work for an additional 20 hours per week in the following circumstances:

  • In another job on the shortage occupation list or a job in the same sector and at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) was assigned.
  • Outside the working hours covered by the CoS for the Tier 2 Visa.

Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK and other Countries. We work with clients under Section 84 of the 1999 immigration act and can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at