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Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers

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The Tier 2 visa allows skilled workers to enter the UK on a long term basis to fill a skilled job vacancy; including in a wide range of skilled occupations including in IT, accountancy, teaching, and healthcare. The occupation needs to be on the Tier 2 occupation list the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers.

If the occupation is on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List in most cases the employer will not have to advertise the vacancy. In addition, you do not need to advertise the vacancy if you wish to sponsor someone under the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa scheme.  Before they apply, Tier 2 visa applicants must have a job offer and a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsor licence.

Tier 2 jobs under the Tier 2 General visa scheme must usually be advertised to workers who are citizens or residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) before they can be offered to non-EEA immigrants, unless the job is on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List or it comes under the tier 2 intra-company transfer visa. This is known as the Resident Labour Market Test.

Tier 2 Visa categories

  • Tier 2 (General) visa For workers who have a skilled job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence. The vacancy must be advertised to UK workers before it can be offered to an immigrant, unless it is on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List. Limited to 20,700 places a year for job applicants resident outside the UK.

  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa For employees of multinational company who are being transferred to the business's UK branch. Applicants must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer. There are two sub-categories:

    • Long term staff

    • Graduate trainee

  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa For workers who've been offered a job, such as missionary or minister of religion, within a religious community organisation in the UK.

  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa For elite sportspeople and coaches. The applicant must be recognised or endorsed by their sport's governing body.

Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List

In the UK skilled jobs usually need to be advertised for twenty-eight days before they can be offered to a Tier 2 worker. This is not necessary if the occupation is on the shortage occupation list. Jobs on this list do not need to be advertised to residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) before they can be offered to a non-EEA immigrant.

Jobs found on this list often include physical and medical scientists, such as engineers, doctors, and nurses. The full Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List for can be found here.

The Resident Labour Market Test

If you are a UK employer, you may want to recruit a skilled worker from outside the European Economic Area. If you choose to sponsor them for certain types of Tier 2 visa, including the Tier 2 (General) visa, you will usually need to complete a Resident Labour Market Test unless the job to be filled is on the UK's Shortage Occupation List.


    Tier 2 applicants must provide several documents with their application, these include:

    • Current passport and/or other travel documents

    • A separate passport photograph in some circumstances.

    • Proof that they can meet the maintenance funds requirements for their visa, such as bank statements, unless their Tier 2 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only 'A rated' sponsors have this option.

    • Proof that they meet the Tier 2 English Language requirements, such as qualification equivalent to a bachelors degree or higher taught in English or English language test results.

    • A clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant is from one of the countries on the Home Office's TB testing list 

    Tier 2 Visa Points system

    Tier 2 applicants must score at least 70 points on the Tier 2 points test. Please see our Tier 2 Points System page for full details. 

    Tier 2 Visa Family members (dependants)

    In most cases you can bring your partner or children with you during your stay, but you must show that you have sufficient funds to provide for them. They will be able to apply under a family visa, please see our UK Family Visas page for more details. Alternatively, you can contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at

    Tier 2 English language requirement

    Tier 2 General visa applicants may be required to complete an approved UKVI version of the English language test if they are not nationals of an English-speaking country or have not completed a degree level course taught in English.  There are no English language requirements for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa applicants.

    UK Immigration help and advice's team of specialists has 30 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK and around the World. We represent 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