Switching from Tier 2 Skilled Worker Migrant to Spouse Visa

Why switch from Tier 2 Skilled Worker to Spouse?

A Tier 2 General applicant may apply for a spouse visa for many reasons. The individual may have entered the UK as a student or as a Tier 2 General highly skilled worker.

Switching removes the applicant’s Tier 2 General visa, now called the Skilled Worker visa, restrictions. The visa applicant will not be bound to the sponsoring employer. Instead, the partner will sponsor the applicant, who can work for anyone or start a business or study. This may appeal to applicants who are unsure of their commitment to their sponsoring employers or who feel their sponsoring employer’s commitment may be waning due to the pandemic and economic climate.

What are the Requirements?

The applicant must have leave to remain in the UK to switch from Tier 2 General to spouse visa. Leave must have been granted for over six months. Thus, Tier 2 General leave to enter for 30 months qualifies. The UK’s standard visitors and marriage visitors won’t.

The applicant must show that they meet the English language and financial requirements in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules and have sufficient accommodation without State support. Our earlier blog post has details.

Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules also requires suitability.

The applicant must prove they have met their spouse and that they are British or settled.

We had a client Debbie. We submitted a copy of Debbie’s marriage certificate, her partner’s British passport and naturalisation certificate, and proof of their joint mortgage and living arrangements for her successful immigration category switch.

Our Tier 2 General visa client Linda considered marrying her British partner to qualify for the spouse visa. We were able to help her switch to the unmarried partner category because she had lived with her partner for two years in a marriage-like relationship. We provided utility bills, HMRC letters, and employment letters to prove Linda and her partner lived together.

But what’s the negative side effect?

Many things have drawbacks. Tier 2 General visas allow settlement after 5 years. Spouse visas allow settlement after 5 years. The years spent on Tier 2 and Spouse visa cannot be combined. Thus, switching from Tier 2 General to spouse visa resets the settlement status clock.

If Linda who had a Tier 2 General visa for 2 years, could have settled in 3 years. Given the pandemic’s impact on his sector, she was worried about losing her job and having to leave the UK and her partner if she couldn’t find a replacement in time. Restarting the settlement clock was worth it for Linda to know she could stay in the UK with her partner.

This option may not be suitable for some. Switching immigration categories will cost the applicant, not the sponsoring company. They may not want to settle near. Before making any decisions, consult an immigration expert.


For those in changed circumstances, switching from Tier 2 General to spouse visa has many benefits. Due to many factors and requirements, it may not be suitable for all. Assessing your spouse visa chances is helpful. To make visa applications easier, we offer professional immigration assistance.

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My name is Atty Lindoven Magsino, BSc, MBA, GDL, LLM, Ph.D. (candidate). I am a Partner & Solicitor /Lawyer and an advocate at Queen’s Park Solicitors. Our main office is located at Suite 4, Stewart House (formerly Glenny House), 56 Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex, England, IG11 8RT, United Kingdom | Telephone: 02036437508 | Fax: 02033931725 | Email: | | Regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA): 566513

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