Tier 1 Switching to Tier 2 – Clock is Ticking


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 info@davidsonmorris.com or by telephone on 020 7494 0118.


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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