How To Apply For A Working Visa In The UK?


If you are a skilled worker you will require a Tier 2 General visa (also known as work-permit before)  if you are coming from outside the UK and the EEA countries.

If you want to apply for Tier 2 General visa, you must have a sponsor company in the UK who has the Tier 2 sponsor licence. The applicant must comply with all the requirements of codes of practice for employers including the job level, minimum salary among others.

For entry clearance as a Tier 2 General Migrant, usually a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is required unless the job is in shortage occupations list or the prospective salary to be paid to the Tier 2 Migrant is £152,100 or more gross per year.

This application process involves two stages:

  1. application for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a company also known as the “sponsor”
  2. application for a Tier 2 visa which provides leave to enter the UK, or leave to remain in the UK (issued by the Home Office).

Note that a Certificate of Sponsorship does not give the migrant the right to work in the UK: it merely enables the migrant to submit an application for a visa. The decision on whether to issue a visa is made by the Home Office. It is not possible, under any circumstances, for the Sponsor to guarantee that a visa will be issued by the Home Office.

CoS can only be issued by the Sponsor if you met all requirements set by the Home Office.

Tier 2 General Annual Limit – Restricted Certificate Of Sponsorship (CoS)

The number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to each Sponsor is limited for Tier 2 (General). This limit applies to Certificate of Sponsorship for those nationals seeking entry clearance to the UK under the Tier 2 (General) category and those who are applying to switch into Tier 2 (General) category from within the UK as a dependant of a Tier 4 (General) student. We refer to these as “restricted” Certificates of Sponsorship.

Those seeking admission to fill a vacancy with a salary of £150,000 or above and all other in-country applications are not affected by the limit. Certificates of Sponsorship for these applications are known as “unrestricted” and sponsors can assign these without first applying for permission.


Terms And Conditions Of Tier 2 Leave

Successful Tier 2 (General) applications will be granted leave up to 3 years with the possibility of extending for a further 3 years. You will not be able to extend beyond 6 years. You will not be able to re-apply to return to the UK under Tier 2 until 12 months after your last leave under Tier 2 expired. This will be the case even if you have been in Tier 2 for less than 6 years. If you leave your job with your Tier 2 Sponsor early, you should ensure that your Sponsor notifies us that you have left so that we can curtail your leave. This is important as the 12 months is counted from the date that your leave ends.


What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

A Certificate of Sponsorship is not an actual certificate or paper document, but is a virtual document, similar to a database record. When your sponsor assigns you a Certificate of Sponsorship they must give you a reference number so that you can enter it on your application form for entry clearance or leave to remain. You must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship reference number before you can apply under Tier 2. By assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship, your sponsor confirms to the best of their knowledge that you are able to undertake a particular job and intend to do so.

A Certificate of Sponsorship is valid when assigned to you and which has not been used in a previous application where leave has been granted or refused. You can only have one Certificate of Sponsorship assigned to you at a time. It is very important that you only give your personal details (such as your passport number) to a sponsor that you intend to work for.

What is a valid Certificate of Sponsorship?

Examples of when a Certificate of Sponsorship is valid include, but are not limited to:

  • has been assigned by a licensed sponsor; and
  • has the same details on it as in your passport; and
  • has been assigned no more than three months before the date of application; and
  • has a start date no more than three months after the date of application; and
  • has not been withdrawn or cancelled by the sponsor or by us.

If you submit an application using a Certificate of Sponsorship that is invalid, the application will be refused. You must get a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your sponsor. If you are already in the UK with entry clearance or leave to remain, we will cancel your Certificate of Sponsorship and reduce (curtail) your leave, if we find that the Certificate of Sponsorship on which your entry clearance or leave to remain was based and is improperly assigned.

A valid Certificate of Sponsorship does not guarantee that an application for entry clearance or leave to remain will be successful. You must meet the specific criteria for the Tier 2 category or sub-category you are applying under.


Don Magsino MBA is a student of Oxford Brookes University at Post-Graduate Degree in Law in Oxford, England, UK. He is a graduate of Ateneo De Manila University Graduate School of Business. He is a qualified and a practicing Immigration Lawyer in the UK. 07446888377 / 0207 316 3027. His London Office is located at Regus, 239 Kensington High Street, London W8 6SN. He is accredited by the Law Society in England and Wales and regulated by the OISC Level 3 (highest level in immigration professions). He has represented clients in the First-tier Tribunal, Immigration Detention Courts and Deportation and Bail Hearings and to the Upper Tribunal and won many difficult cases in immigration law in the United Kingdom.

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