A Tier 2 (General) Visa is effectively your legal work permit, allowing you to work without facing immigration problems in the UK.
You can make an application for this type of visa if you are from a country outside of the EEA and Switzerland and have received the offer of a skilled job.
You must also be sponsored and hold a certificate of sponsorship that has been issued by a licensed sponsor in order to apply to work in Britain. To meet the immigration rules, you must work in a role that relates to the work carried out by the organisation which has sponsored you.
How long will you have to wait for a decision?
The immigration rules state that you can make a Tier 2 (General) application up to three months prior to the day on which your job in the UK is due to start. This date will be listed on the certificate of sponsorship you are granted.
If you are applying whilst outside of the UK, you should be eligible to receive a visa decision within three weeks.
How much will it cost?
The amount you will have to pay for a visa will depend on the complexity of your case, your individual circumstances, how you choose to apply and whether you could benefit from the advice of specialist immigration solicitors to help give your application the best chance of success.
The fees also depend on where you are located when you choose to apply, where you come from, and whether you have any dependants. A healthcare surcharge will also be added on to your application fees.
The prices you pay can be reduced if you have been offered a job that is classed as a ‘shortage occupation’. These jobs are skilled positions where there is a shortage of people in Britain to fill the vacancies that exist.
Another factor that will influence the cost of your application is the length of time you intend to work in the UK.
How long will you be able to work in Britain?
A Tier 2 (General) Visa can allow you to work in the UK for up to five years and two weeks. Alternatively, you can stay for the duration dictated by your certificate of sponsorship, together with an extra month. The shortest period will apply.
You may make an application to extend your visa for a maximum of five years, but your total stay must not exceed six years.
Immigration rules on working
Under the terms of a Tier 2 (General) Visa you can work for the organisation that sponsored you, doing the job that is described in the certificate of sponsorship. You can also spend as many as 20 hours each week working in a second job that either has a worker shortage or is at a comparable level and in the same area of work as the main job on your certificate.
You are also eligible to undertake voluntary work and to study if it does not conflict with your sponsored job.