UK Tier 2: New updates for sports people and religious workers

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Two new sections have been added to under the United Kingdom Tier 2 visa section covering two sub-categories for skilled workers: sports people and ministers of religion. Tier 2 for skilled workers is expected to come into effect during the autumn of 2008.

Tier 2 visas for sports people cover those who excel at the highest level of their sport and can make the same contribution to the sport in the UK. Ministers of religion are those who preach to a congregation and perform general pastoral duties.

As with Tier 2 visas for general skilled workers with a job offer, 70 points must be attained for both sports people and ministers of religion. However, unlike the general skilled worker sub-category, there is no points test for expected earnings or the applicant's skill level in their designated occupation.

Sports people must be sponsored by a governing body of the relevant sport and must have confirmation of their standing as an "elite" sports person. As for ministers of religion, the UK Border Agency has little information on sponsorship requirements, stating only that the religious worker must be sponsored. More information should turn up as Tier 2 gets ready to go live. Successful sponsorship will earn applicants under both sub-categories 50 points.

Both sub-categories must meet the Maintenance requirement of GBP 800 in savings at the time of application, along with an additional GBP 600 for each dependant that will accompany the applicant to the UK. The Maintenance requirement will earn the applicant 10 points.

Sports people will need to speak "basic" English to earn the last 10 points, which can be satisfied with a recognized English language test. Currently, the UK is approaching organizations that give English language tests to have their test certified as acceptable by British immigration authorities. The applicant will also be able to satisfy the English language requirement by showing that they come from a majority English-speaking country or have taken a degree taught in English from a recognized educational institution.

For ministers of religion, it's expected that applicants under this sub-category will have to speak English to a Council of Europe Level B2.

Keep checking back as the UK releases more details about the UK's new five-tier points based immigration system.