All you need to know about the

All you need to know about the Tier 2 General Work Permit

The Tier 2 UK Immigration route is one of the most popular ways for South Africans and other non-EU citizens to live and work in the UK

All you need to know about the

BIC has compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions on this immigration route, which will also serve to explain more about the application procedure, and advantages of this route.

The Tier 2 Immigration route is subdivided into categories, but for the purposes of this article we will only deal with the Tier 2 General work permit.

Can I apply for a Tier 2 work permit myself?

No, in order to be able to apply for a Tier 2 work permit, you will have to have a company that is willing to sponsor you. The UK company that wishes to sponsor you will have to have a licence to do so.

There are thousands of UK companies who have a sponsorship licence, which allows them to potentially sponsor you to take up employment with them. If the company does not have a sponsorship licence, they can apply for one, as it is obtainable for both small and large companies. BIC assist small to multi-national companies on a daily basis in obtaining such sponsorship licences.

Once the company is in possession of the sponsorship licence, they will be able to issue the prospective employee with what is known as a certificate of sponsorship or a COS certificate. This is essentially a document confirming that the company is offering you employment.

What is the Resident Labour Market test?

Prior to a UK company being able to issue you with a sponsorship certificate, they would have to go through a process called the ‘Resident labour market test’

The UK Home Office is advised by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as to which areas of the UK labour market are experiencing shortages. The occupations experiencing shortages of labour are then compiled in the Shortage Occupation List.

The implication of an occupation not being on the Shortage Occupation List is that employers are required to advertise the position. Where the employer can demonstrate, after advertising, that there is no suitably qualified resident or EU citizen candidate available to fill the vacancy a sponsorship certificate can be issued to the non-EU citizen.

This is done to protect the domestic labour market.

BIC assist companies with this process, which involves placing an advertisement that advertises the job in question for 28 days. All the applicants that have applied will then have to be looked at by your potential employers and the company will have to justify why you are the only suitable candidate for them.

Can I apply for entry clearance for the Tier 2 permit from within the UK?

Applying for entry clearance is the final step in obtaining the Tier 2 permit, and whether you can apply from within the UK, will depend on the type of visa on which you are currently in the UK. As there are some exceptions to the rule, it would be best to discuss your unique circumstances with a consultant.

Can my family join me in the UK?

One of the biggest benefits for persons moving to the United Kingdom as Tier 2 General work permit holders are that their families can join them. Your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner will also be able to work in any capacity, and if you have children they can attend local schools without having to pay very expensive international school fees.

How long am I allowed to be outside of the UK whilst on the Tier 2 permit?

You can be absent from the UK for a maximum of 180 days in any 12 month period which includes your annual leave as per your employment agreement. The rest can only be used on trips in line with your employment and on behalf of your employer and will have to be proven as such.

Any periods longer than this may well cause problems for future visa application, such as your ILR application.

Can I do some extra work whilst on this permit?

You will be allowed to do extra work, in addition to the job specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship in the following circumstances;

If the job is on the shortage occupation list or in the same sector and at the same professional level as the work for which the sponsorship certificate was issued;

It is for no longer than 20 hours per week; and

It is for no longer than 20 hours per week; and

It is outside the normal working hours for the job for which the sponsorship certificate was issued.

If you fulfil these requirements, you need not inform the UK Home Office of this supplementary work.

Does this permit lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Once you have been in the United Kingdom and have adhered to all the terms and restrictions of your stay you could be issued with indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom which would allow you and your dependents to remain in the United Kingdom permanently. You can thereafter apply for British nationality with your family if you so desire. or