UK Tier 2 Work Permits and the

UK Tier 2 Work Permits and the Shortage Occupation List

The UK Home Office is advised by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as to which areas of the UK labour market are experiencing shortages. This list is compiled in the UK Shortage Occupation List. But how does this affect the UK Tier 2 Work Permit application process?

UK Tier 2 Work Permits and the

Recently, the UK Tier 2 Immigration Route was in the headlines again, after it was announced that Nurses are now included on the UK Shortage Occupation List.

The consultants at BIC get frequent questions on how exactly the process of obtaining a Tier 2 Work Permit works if an occupation is on the Shortage Occupation List. We have therefore compiled a short article explaining the process.

The Tier 2 process if an occupation is on the UK Shortage Occupation List have three different stages:

  1. If a UK employer wants to employ a foreign national (the applicant) for a position that falls under the Shortage Occupation List, the employer must apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, if not currently in possession of such a licence.
  2. Successfully apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to be allocated to them and, once allocated, to be assigned to the migrant worker in question.
  3. The Tier 2 employee (applicant) would then have to apply for an Entry Clearance Tier 2 visa based on the CoS.

UK Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence

If the company that wishes to sponsor the migrant worker does not already hold a UK Tier 2 Sponsor’s Licence, then an application will need to be submitted to the UK Home Office to get this in place.

However, before the application is submitted, the company must have identified at least one migrant worker that they wish to sponsor under the Tier 2 system. This is because the UK Home Office needs a justification from a company on why they will require a UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.

In broad terms, the Sponsor Licence application is to satisfy the Home Office that the company is running and trading and that it has a genuine need to sponsor a migrant worker.

UK Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship 

If a company is looking to sponsor a migrant under the provisions of the Shortage Occupation List, it is not required for them first to meet the Resident Labour Market (RLM) test. The Resident Labour Market Test is effectively the process by which a company usually satisfies the UK government that they have advertised the vacancy and not been able to fulfil the position from the UK’s settled population.

As such, once the company has a Sponsor Licence in place they will need to apply to the UK Home Office for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to be allocated to them which, once allocated, must be assigned to the employee (the applicant).

UK Entry Clearance Application

Once the UK Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is approved, an application based on this CoS has to be prepared for the applicant and their dependents (if applicable). The applicant and their dependents must meet the requirements set by the UK Home Office and submit the Entry Clearance applications in their home country.

The applicant will then obtain entry clearance in line with how long the company have stated that they will require them for the position, which could be up to a period of five years.

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Ltd has a dedicated UK Tier 2 Department, who can assist employers and employees in the entire process from start to finish.  Please feel free to contact them for assistance or further information. or


Cover Image by