Tier 2 visas - skilled workers

This is the main route for our migrant skilled workers and is for jobs that require at least a first degree.

There are two stages to apply for this type of limited leave to remain:

Stage 1 - applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship

We are required to get permission to sponsor and employ the worker by applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

To apply for a CoS you will normally need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test and have identified the candidate as the only appointable candidate (for jobs that need a first degree) or the best candidate (for jobs that need a PhD).

There is a UK-wide annual limit of 20,700 on the number of CoS available under Tier 2 (General) and jobs filled by migrant workers will be defined as ‘restricted’ jobs, for which a restricted CoS is required. However, CoS required for the following circumstances will be exempt from the limit and will be termed ‘unrestricted’ jobs:

  • Extensions
  • Changes of employment (e.g. moving to Leeds from another University)
  • Switching immigration category (e.g. from Tier 4 to Tier 2)
  • New hires earning over £150,000

Note that where a migrant worker has been sponsored under Tier 2 and the period of sponsorship comes to an end (or the individual resigns) and the individual leaves the UK the worker cannot be sponsored again under Tier 2 for 12 months from the date of leaving the UK.

Stage 2 - visa application

The individual is required to apply for permission to enter and live in the UK (the visa).