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Immigration Corner | What is a Tier 2 visa?

Published:Tuesday | July 12, 2016 | 7:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am a professional and I am considering an offer to work in the United Kingdom. My prospective employer believes that I may be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa. I am hoping that you can inform me about this visa.

Thanks in advance.

-D.Y.

Dear D.Y.,

Persons can apply for a Tier 2 (general) visa if they have been offered a skilled job in the United Kingdom; or if they are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Persons will need to be sponsored, i.e., have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor before being able to apply to go to the United Kingdom to work. The work that persons do in the United Kingdom must relate to the work of their sponsor organisation.

Generally speaking, persons can apply for a visa up to three months before the day that they are due to start work in the United Kingdom, and this date will be listed on the certificate of sponsorship. It should be noted that decisions on your visa will be made within three weeks when applications are made from outside of the United Kingdom. The processing times will usually depend on which country the application is made from.

With respect to fees, the cost for a Tier 2 (general) visa will depend on that person's situation, where he/she is and how he/she applies. Personal applications made from outside of the United Kingdom is £575; if a person needs to extend or switch while over there, the cost is £664; and if a person opts to extend or switch in person in the United Kingdom using the Premium Service, the cost is £1,164. Incidentally, it is the same cost for all dependents and persons will need to pay the healthcare surcharge.

Persons can go to the United Kingdom with a Tier 2 visa for a maximum of five years and 14 days, or the time that is given on the certificate of sponsorship plus one month, or whichever is shorter. Please be aware that persons stay must start no more than 14 days before the start date on the certificate of sponsorship. Also, persons can apply to extend this visa for up to another five years, as long as your total stay is not more than six years.

With this visa persons can work for a sponsor in the job described on the given certificate of sponsorship and do a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week.

Persons can also do a job which has a shortage of workers in the United Kingdom for up to 20 hours per week; do voluntary work; study as long as it does not interfere with the job he/she is sponsored for; travel abroad and return to the United Kingdom; and take family members with them.

Conversely, persons are not permitted to own more than 10 per cent of their sponsor's shares, unless they earn more than £155,300 a year; or get access to public funds.

In addition, persons cannot start working before getting the visa; or apply for a second job until they have started working for the sponsor. Persons should also know that they will need to make a new application if they want to do a second job that is not in the same sector as their main job.

I hope this helps.

Yours truly,

John S. Bassie

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practices law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com