Tier 2 (General) Work Permit

For those in the possession of a UK job offer, we have put together a page that explained the need for a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (assuming the applicant does not have a UK born grandparent and they are not in a married like relationship with an EU passport holder).

Those looking to get a UK job offer can also find relevant tips on attracting UK employers attention here.

TIER 2 (GENERAL) WORK PERMIT

Introducing the Tier 2 category of the UK’s point based visa system replaced the old and simple work permit scheme. The same principle applies (that UK employers offer a position to a foreign worker) with exception that the British government is a lot more involved.

What’s important to note is that UK job offers alone are not qualifying grounds for this “upgraded” work permit scheme (formally known as the Tier 2 visa).

This General category of the Tier 2 visa is an employer sponsored one. Meaning that in order to qualify for this visa, South Africans have to have a job offer from a UK organisation that has a license to sponsor non-Europeans nationals (like South Africans).

In other words, under the Tier 2 (General) visa category, the UK employer is seen as the applicants visa sponsor. Sponsoring working rights in the UK. This sponsorship system holds UK employers responsible for the compliance of immigration practice that their international work force wish to make use of.

This responsibility and accountability of UK employers means that if their sponsored non-EU staff member breaches their visa conditions, that the UK employer is liable for fines from the UKVI. This increases the risk of offering employment to non-EU nationals.

UK employers first have to apply for a Tier 2 license (which at least 18 000 companies have already done so). Once the Tier 2 license is awarded, these UK employers may grant Certificates of Sponsorship to South Africans- subject to meeting the compulsory point criteria. South Africans in return can only apply for the visa if they have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a Tier 2 licensed employer.

POINT SYSTEM EXPLAINED

Attributes
Job offer after passing the Resident Labour Market Test: 30 points
Possible UK earnings
Less than £25 000pa salary 0 points
More than £25 000pa salary 20 points
Tertiary English ability
High School highest qualification 0 points
Degree from English accredited institution 10 points
English test certificate from recognized testing institution 10 points
Maintenance Requirement
Cash savings of £945 held and maintained for 90 days 10 points
Maintenance offered from Tier 2 company that is A Rated 10 points
No cash savings and no A rated Tier 2 sponsor 0 points

In order to qualify, South Africans have to claim a minimum of 70 points. A maximum of 10 points for Maintenance and English ability respectively is granted. This means that South Africans have to get a job offer with high prospective earnings.

From a South Africans perspective, this Tier 2 visa category is the last employment visa option if you don’t meet the following criteria:

Parents or Grandparents born in the UK or Europe
Partners with UK or EU citizenship
Entrepreneurs with £200 000 to invest into the UK economy.

If you are one of those that are not eligible for the above birth, marriage or investor visa options and would like to work in the UK, then the Tier 2 visa is most likely your next best option. Your next step is to get in contact with Tier 2 licensed employers.

Working Holiday Maker (2 year)

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UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

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Returning Residents

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Representative of SA company

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Tier 2 Professional Sports Person

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UK Tier 1 Exceptionally Talented

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

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TIER 2 LICENSED COMPANIES

To find out which UK companies have Tier 2 licenses in the UK, please take a look at the Tier 2 list of registered UK companies.

To find out which skills and roles are highly demanded (as per the UK governments perspective), please take a look at the Tier 2 skill shortage list.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question: I have been offered a job in the UK (from a friend or family member) – can I get this Tier 2 visa?

Sorry to say this but a UK job offer alone is not qualifying grounds to live and work in the UK. We find many South Africans contact us because their friend or family members have offered a work opportunity. This job offer alone does not mean one can live and work in the UK. From the above you can see that UK employers need Tier 2 licenses with the UK government.

These UK employers have to offer an above market related wage (which is therefore an additional expense and administration and ultimately a deterrent). You really need to be quite skilled in SA to consider this Tier 2 visa an option.

Question: I have been offered a job in the UK (from a UK based company) – can I get this Tier 2 visa?

Again, a job offer alone is not qualifying grounds for this work permit. If you applied for a job (via a recruitment company or directly to a company), you need to find out if the company in question is willing to offer Tier 2 visa sponsorship.

UK recruitment companies (and most UK companies) first offer UK positions subject to applicants having independent UK working rights. In simple terms, this means that UK employers are looking to find out if South Africans can qualify to work in the UK without Tier 2 sponsorship (i.e. through birth, marriage or investment rights). Tier 2 sponsorship is costly and administratively challenging (therefore it is designed to be a deterrent for any UK employer looking to employ South African nationals).

Question: What other visa options are there for South Africans looking to live and work in the UK?

Gone is the previous Highly Skilled Migrant Program (which catered for degree and high earners in SA) – effective November 2010.

Gone is the previous 2 year Working Holiday Maker (which catered for gap year students looking to experience UK working opportunities) – effective November 2008.

Today’s UK immigration policy is very sensitive to foreigners easily working and living in the UK. South Africans without birth or marriage rights (and not sought after skillset) have to consider another country as their next best alternative. South Africans can try contacting www.networkmigration.co.za (please let them know Move Up sent you).

Attached below are other types of UK work visas. Alternatively, applicants are encouraged to try our free assessment to find out about other work visas available.