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Tier 2 General

Within this section we have sub-categories of Tier 2; they are General, Intra-Company Transfer, Minister of Religion and Sportsperson.

Select any of the links below to view information about the 4 sub-categories under tier 2 of the points based system.

It is important you know the category you need to apply under, if you are not sure contact us for clarification.

Intra-Company Transfer

Minister of



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Tier 2 (General) allows UK businesses to employ skilled workers from outside of the EU.  Tier 2 General replaced the work permit route on the 28 November 2008 and from the 6 April 2011 and 6 April 2012 you policies were introduced by the Home Office on who can enter the UK on this tier and which migrants that are already in the UK can extend or switch their stay.

6 April 2011 major changes to Tier 2 General

The Home Office announced that there will be a two tier visa rule.  This meant if any migrant wanting to enter the UK on or after the 6th April 2011, they now need to provide evidence that they are at NQF4/5 years of reference experience, where before the 6th April 2011, all they had to provide was NQF3/3 years of reference experience.

The Home Office also reduced the number of job positions on the UK National Shortage Occupational List (NSOL), such as chefs* and senior carers.  Unless the job is on the NSOL you must carry out a 28 day Residential Labour Market Test (RLMT) in accordance to the Home Office policy guidelines.  Failure to comply to this policy guideline, would mean the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) would have been issued incorrectly and when the migrant applies for their tier 2 visa, the visa is likely to be refused and all costs of issuing a CoS and visa fee would be lost.

*If a chef salary is at or above £28260, from the 6 April 2011, then a RLMT is not required. Any salary below this sum a RLMT must be carried out for 28 days before a CoS can be issued.

The new two tiers of issuing CoSs meant for the first time we have Restricted and Unrestricted CoSs.  This meant any migrant already in the UK who could switch or extend their UK stay, could be assigned an Unresticted CoS.  If a migrant needs to leave the UK and re-enter, the migrant would need to obtain a Restricted CoS.

14 April 2012 major change to Tier 2 General

If you plan to employ a migrant needing to enter the UK on tier 2 general, the minimum entry requirements went up from NQF4 to NQF6.

Note: Creative sector is exempt from this rule and can apply under NQF4.

So how doe the Restricted and Unrestricted affect UK businesses?

Restricted CoS?

This has a great impact on your business at first you must request a Restricted CoS, and if approved by the Home Office, only then can you apply assign the CoS from your within your Sponsor Management System (SMS).  The Home Office will then decide whether to grant this request.  Note: Allow at least 4 weeks from the date of the request for the Home Office to get back to you.

Note: If you wish to employ a migrant who needs to enter the UK on an annual salary of £150,000 or above, you do not need to apply for a Restricted CoS, you just assign one of your Unrestricted CoSs.  If the salary is at or above £150,000 you do not need to carry out a residential labour market test.

Unrestricted CoS?

This is a much easier route; when you first apply for a sponsor licence, you will be given a number of CoSs to be used between 6 April to 5 April of that year. For example you have been issued 5, you can issue those 5 to any migrant that can switch or extend their UK stay. It is forbidden to assign a unrestricted CoS for someone who needs to enter the UK.  If during the period of 6 April to 5 April you run out of CoSs, you can request more, allow for at least 4 weeks for the Home Office to approve your request. On the 5th April of every year, any unused CoSs will be removed from your SMS.  You must apply for a new annual allocation from within your SMS.

Note: When applying for a CoS, allow at least 4 weeks from the date of the request for the Home Office to get back to you.  If you need an urgent CoS because a migrant visa is about to run out, you can put in an emergency request.  We recommend you to talk to us about this service to ensure your worker does not have to leave the UK.

How do I employ someone under Tier 2 General in the UK?

  1. First you need to apply for a sponsor licence.  If you already have a sponsor licence, you need to ensure you have CoS(s);
  1. If you do not have a CoS, you will need to apply for the number you require under Tier 2 General;
  2. Once the CoS has been approved, you can then assign a CoS to a non EU employee national.
  3. The worker can then apply for a visa.

Residential Labour Market Test

On the 6 April 2011 new Home Office policies were introduced and this meant that positions that were on the UK National Shortage Occupational List (NSOL) prior to 6 April 2011 now the UK organisation had to carry out a 28 days RLMT for positions such as Chefs and Senior Care Workers.  If the job vacancy is not on the NSOL, then a RLMT must be carried out before a CoS can be issued.

Do you need a Tier 2 visa to come to the UK?

Tier 2 is part of the Home Office points-based system that was introduced in November 2008, which is for migrants from outside of Europe. You do not need to apply under the points-based system if:



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