Tier 2 (General) visa

Guidance for international students who are skilled workers with a suitable job offer.

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Eligibility for Tier 2 is quite complicated, but we have it simplified below.

If you have any questions about applying for a Tier 2 visa after your studies, you can make an appointment to talk to us.

Eligibility

You have successfully completed your course

You need to have completed your undergraduate or postgraduate qualification.

You will need either: the original certificate, the original transcripts, or an academic reference confirming that you have successfully completed your qualification with a UK institution.

If you are unable to get your certificate or transcript, contact us to discuss obtaining an academic reference that meets the visa requirements.

You have a job offer from a licensed sponsor

Tier 2 visas can only be sponsored by organisations who are approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Always check whether your intended employer is on the UKVI's list of current sponsors.

Your job is on the approved list of jobs

Only certain jobs are supported under Tier 2. You should check Appendix J of the Immigration rules to see whether your intended job is on the list of suitable jobs.

Your job meets the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)

This test exists to ensure that employees from within the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA) are given preference over employees from outside the UK/EEA (people from the UK or EEA are known as settled workers).

The RLMT must always be passed unless an exception to the test applies to you.

You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)

Your employer must issue you with a COS so that you can apply for your Tier 2 visa. Your COS needs to list details of your job, your salary, and how the RLMT has been met (or which exemption applies).

There are 2 types of COS; Restricted and Unrestricted. Read our PDF to help you decide what type of COS you need.

If you are issued with a Restricted COS, you need to apply for your visa outside of the UK.

If you are issued with an Unrestricted COS, you can apply for your visa inside the UK.

You meet the financial requirements

You may need to meet the financial requirements by providing bank statements.

However, if your employer is A-rated by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), they can 'certify' your finances on the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), which means you wouldn't need to provide any bank statements when you applied for your Tier 2 visa.

If you are applying with dependants, and your employer certifies your finances, your dependant's are also exempt from having to submit bank statements.

You satisfy the English Language requirements

You can meet this by either presenting evidence that you are a national of a majority English speaking country, or you have a degree taught in a majority English speaking country, or you have taken an IELTS test.

GOV.UK has a list of majority English speaking countries.