Sanwar Ali: Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and easier UK Tier 2 Visa

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By Sanwar Ali

A number of recent changes to the UK visa system, especially since the expansion of the Shortage Occupation List of 6 October 2019 have made it easier for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence employers and Tier 2 General visa migrants.   The changes mean that about 9 per cent of total employment in the UK will come within the scope of the shortage occupation list, compared to less than 1 per cent of total employment, which was previously the case.  This has happened under Boris Johnson's "right wing" Conservative Government.  Many would say that the Conservative Party is overall more anti-immigration than the other main parties. We cover some major changes to the UK visa system below.

Many more occupations now come under Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List

This is a significant benefit. Many employers will no longer have to do the Resident Labour Market Test.  Advertising the vacancy and considering job applicants for the position can be very time consuming.  Employers also have to pay for advertising typically in a private sector job site and on the Government Find a Job site.  Completing the Resident Labour Market Test delays processing of a Tier 2 General Visa application by twenty-eight days.  As an additional bonus Tier 2 visa fees for Shortage Occupation List occupations are significantly lower at £464 pounds for three years and £928 for five years.

Tier 2 IT Visa Applicants find it much easier to come under Shortage Occupation List

Before the change on 6 October 2019 it was very difficult for many IT companies to come under the Shortage Occupation List.  The main requirement was either that the company employed between 20 and 250 workers, or had a letter from a Government Department such as the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK supporting their application.  Now it should be the case that any size business can sponsor IT staff under the Shortage Occupation List.  The list of IT positions under the Shortage Occupation List has also been greatly expanded:

  • All IT business analysts, architects, and systems designer roles SOC code 2135;
  • All Programme and software development roles SOC code 2136;
  • All web design and development professional roles SOC code 2137;
  • All Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified SOC code 2139.

Much easier for many Chefs to come under Tier 2 Visa Scheme

Previously there was a ban on restaurants and other establishments that had a takeaway service from sponsoring Chefs.  This was very inconvenient and quite ridiculous.  This restriction no longer exists which makes it much easier for many in the hospitality industry.  However, chefs can still not be sponsored for fast food or standard fare outlets.  UK Visa and Immigration at the Home Office defines a standard fare outlet as the following:

"A standard fare outlet is one where the menu is designed centrally for outlets in a chain/franchise, rather than by a chef or chefs in the individual restaurant. Standard fare outlets also include those where dishes and/or cooking sauces are bought in ready-made, rather than prepared from fresh/raw ingredients."

Other Occupations now included in the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List

The expansion of the Shortage Occupation List means that now all occupations related to a particular SOC Code are in many cases allowed. Many more engineers find it easier to gain a Tier 2 visa now. Veterinarians and architects are now included.

Engineering occupations:
  • All civil engineer roles SOC code 2121;
  • All mechanical engineer roles SOC code 2122;
  • All electrical engineer roles SOC code 2123;
  • All electronics engineer roles SOC code 2124;
  • All design and development engineer roles SOC code 2126;
  • All production and process engineer roles SOC code 2127;
  • All engineering professional roles not classified elsewhere SOC code 2129;
  • All quality control and planning engineer roles SOC code 2461.
Science professionals:

All biological scientists and biochemists roles SOC code 2112;

Physical scientists – certain roles in construction, oil, and gas SOC code 2113.

PhD Level Occupations no longer coming under the Restricted CoS scheme

There has not been a shortage of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship under the quota for about one and half years.  However, having to apply for a  Restricted CoS can delay applications by about a month.  Most people who benefit from this change are Tier 2 General visa applicants in PhD level occupations who no longer need a Restricted CoS to apply from abroad. It should be noted that Tier 4 dependent visa applicants able to switch from within the UK need to apply for a Restricted CoS. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations, can help.

Many employers face sudden, unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.

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