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Focus on Immigration – Tier 2 and Post Study Work

Please note that since this article has been published immigration guidance has changed. Please see our post UK NARIC’s Visas and Nationality Service launches on 6 April which contains more up-to-date information.


Focus on Immigration – Tier 2 and Post Study Work

Want to come to the UK to work?

Well there are a lot of good reasons to come …

It looks good on your CV – working in the UK will give you invaluable experience

Travel opportunities abound – London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Dublin, continental Europe…

Tolerant multi-cultural society – the UK is one of the most tolerant and multi-cultural countries in the world.

Great history and character – Shakespeare, Churchill, Sir Isaac Newton, Brontë sisters, John Lennon, the Beatles, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Royal Family; the list goes on and on and on…

Events and entertainment – the 2012 Olympics, Glastonbury, the Proms, Wimbledon, Premiership football,  the Lake District, the Highlands, the Welsh Valleys, Giant’s Causeway…

So, in short, it will help your career and you’ll have a great time!

If you do want to come to and work in the UK, and you are from outside the EU, you’ll need to apply through the Points Based System for immigration.  The main route for workers is Tier 2, the Skilled Worker route.

Tier 2 – Skilled Worker*

Migrants applying under this tier must have been offered a job in the UK and have a sponsor before an application can be made.

Sponsors are the organisations that are going to employ migrants.  There are particular responsibilities that the sponsor must adhere to and employers wishing to bring individuals in from outside the EU and they must register with UK BA before they can bring migrants to the UK.

In order to be successful in this route the migrant must score a minimum of 70 points.

There are four categories in which a skilled worker can apply for Tier 2;

  1. General – if a migrant has an offer of a skilled job that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This category includes applicant coming to fill shortage occupations.
  2. Intra- Company Transfer – if a migrant is an employee of a multi-national company and are being transferred to a UK based branch of the same organisation, long or short term or frequent short visits
  3. Sportsperson – if a migrant is an elite sportsperson or coach.
  4. Ministers of Religion – if a migrant is a Minster of Religion undertaking preaching and pastoral work, Missionary or Member of a Religious order, taking up employment or a post/role within your faith community in the UK.

In addition there are points awarded for the migrant’s proficiency in English and their ability to support themselves and their dependents.

English Language (10 points)

Migrants can claim 10 points if they are from a majority English language speaking country; or they have achieved the appropriate grade in an approved English Language Test; or they have an English Language Assessment from UK NARIC.

If these criteria are not met then no points can be awarded.

Maintenance Funds (10 points)

You will score 10 points if you have £800 available in your bank account.  If there are insufficient funds no points can be awarded.

General (50 points)*

A limit of 20,700 visas per year is available through this route, with a set amount available each month.  So far this year the month limit has not been reached.

In order to be successful in a route a migrant must score 50 for Attributes, 10 points for English language and 10 points for having the necessary maintenance funds.

Attributes (50 points)

This section comprises two parts;

1.     Meeting one of the following criteria (30 points)

2.     Earning an appropriate salary, in the region of £20,000 a year (20 points).

If however a migrant is applying under the following routes, additional points will be awarded.

Minister of religion (50 points)*

Migrants can claim 50 points for their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in this category.   They must provide an official, signed letter from the sponsor with the application.  This letter must give an outline of duties, details of remuneration and an explanation of how the role passes the resident labour market test.

Migrants will also need to pass the English language and maintenance criteria.

Sportsperson (50 points)*

There are 50 points available through this route.  They are all awarded for a CoS, but it must be accompanied by an endorsement from the appropriate governing body for the sport and confirm that the individual is internationally established and that they will make a significant contribution to the development of the sport at the highest level in the UK.

English language and maintenance requirement must also be met.

Intra company transfer (50 points)*

Once again there are 50 points available to a migrant through this route; 30 points for a CoS and 20 points for appropriate salary (Between £40,000 and £24,000 pa).

In addition, those using this route will need to meet the necessary criteria for English language and maintenance.

Shortage Occupations and the Migration Advisory Committee*

Under Tier 2 (General) migrants can claim 30 points if the job is on the Shortage Occupation List.  If an occupation is on this list, it means there are not enough resident workers to fill the available jobs in that particular occupation. If a migrant comes to the UK to do skilled work that is on the shortage occupation list, they will get all the points they need to apply (except the points for English language and maintenance).

The Shortage Occupation List is compiled by the Migration Advisory Committee which made up by independent economists and it advises the government on migration issues.

Post Study Work*

From April 2012 the Post Study Work visa route through Tier 1 will close.  This route was available to those who had studied at a UK university or college and were looking for work in the UK.

The new scheme will be managed through Tier 2.  It is going to be very similar to the Tier 2 (General) route outlined above, but the main difference is that the employer (Sponsor) will not have to pass the resident labour market test.  This will make It easier for the newly graduated student and the Sponsor.

Make sure you check the UK BA website to ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest developments for Post Study Work

Other Routes*

The other routes for those wishing to work in the UK are Tiers 1 and 5; we will be covering these in future blogs.

Tim Buttress, December 2011


*Please check the Home Office website to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

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