Sanwar Ali: Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, UK visa changes and tips

By Sanwar Ali

The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa scheme is frequently the only option for entry to the UK.  The employer needs to provide a job to migrants and needs to sponsor them under the scheme.

We have our doubts that any scheme after the end of the Brexit transitional period will, in reality, make things easier for employers and migrants.  The current Boris Johnson Conservative Government still seems to want to make it expensive and difficult for migrants to come to the UK.

Skilled workers under Tier 2 visa need to have a job in the UK first

As hardly anyone qualifies for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa most of the time the only way in which you can emigrate to the UK as a skilled worker is under the Tier 2 visa scheme.  Despite low levels of unemployment in the UK, employers are still frequently reluctant to pay the high level of Government fees necessary to employ workers from outside the EEA.

There is a register of companies with a Sponsor Licence.  Migrants looking for a job might consider contacting some of these companies.

UK Tier 2 General Visa more popular than Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa

As Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visas do not usually lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK these tend to be unpopular with employees.  If you are a long term staff member earning less than £120,000 a year then you can only apply a maximum of five years and one months in the UK.  After this in most cases you will need to leave the UK for at least a year. 

It is also not possible in most cases to switch to a Tier 2 General visa and change employer in the UK, if you are on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa.  The exception to this is if you have a salary of £159,600 or more per year.

No restrictions on shareholding for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa holders

The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa may be an alternative UK visa category to the UK Innovator visa, Start-Up visa or Sole Representative visa for businessmen.  So far in practice it seems that very few people have been able to qualify for the UK Innovator and Start-Up visa.  Sole Representative visa holders are limited to fifty percent ownership at the most.  So for many entrepreneurs the only option may be to come under this visa category or pay £159,600 a year in which case there are no restrictions on shareholding under the Tier 2 General visa category.  However, the big issue is that you usually cannot gain indefinite leave to remain on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa.

Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List makes it easier.  Still need Sponsor

Since 6 October 2019 many more occupations were added to the Shortage Occupation List for those applying under the Tier 2 General visa scheme.  This makes it easier and cheaper for employers and hopefully makes it easier to find a job.  However, the employer needs to have a Sponsor Licence, and assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the migrant worker. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, or you would like help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations, can help. Call 0344 991 9222 for further details. has been in the visa business for more than 30 years, helping thousands of people to study, work, invest and live in the UK. We represent clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act, and we can advise and assist with your UK visa application.