Tier 1 Switching to Tier 2
With 6 April 2015 fast approaching, extending under the Tier 1 (General) category will no longer be an option. Such applications will no longer be accepted by the immigration arm of the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). However, switching into the Tier 2 (General) category may be a viable option.
There are many advantages to switching into the Tier 2 (General) route.
Resident Labour Market Test
There is no requirement for Tier 1 (General) visa holders to depart from the UK whilst their Tier 2 (General) application is made. However, the sponsoring organisation must perform a Resident Labour Market Test unless the role is on the Shortage Occupation List, attracts a salary of over £155,300 as of 6 April 2015 or falls under any of the listed exemptions.
Making the application within the UK
Tier 1 (General) holders can switch immigration categories without the need to leave the UK and make their application from their country of origin or residence thereby saving further disruption to them and the sponsoring organisation.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
The Tier 1 (General) holder’s eligibility for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) will not be harmed by the applicant switching categories to a Tier 2 (General). In fact, time spent in the UK under the Tier 1 (General) category will count toward the 5 years ILR requirements – subject to other requirements in the Immigration Rules being met.
Dependant family members of Tier 1 (General) holders, as evidenced by their visas, can also apply to switch into the Tier 2 (General) category whilst remaining in the UK, subject to the Immigration Rules.
In order to switch into the Tier 2 (General) category, the Tier 1 (General) holder must meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules. That is:
- The role must be sufficiently skilled to NQF level 6 as specified in the Home Office’s Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers; and
- Meet the relevant salary requirement as defined by the relevant Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) Code or be at least £20,800, as of 6 April 2015, whichever is greater; and
- Have previously met the English Language requirements by way of their UK university undergraduate (or higher) degree certificate, providing that the degree falls within the defined criteria; and
- Demonstrate that they meet the maintenance requirements.
Once the above requirements are satisfied, the sponsoring company can proceed to issue the Certificate of Sponsorship which will allow the Tier 1 (General) holder to apply for immigration approval to take up the proposed role.
And finally…To protect the position of the Tier 1 (General) holder, it is important to follow the requirements of the Immigration Rules and to keep up-to-date of imminent changes in the Rules.
Seeking legal advice and making an application to regularise your current immigration status well before the visa expiry date is highly recommended.
If you would like assistance with a Tier 2 application, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 020 7494 0118.