Tier 2 (General) Sponsored Skilled Workers

Immigration Skills Charge (ISC)

The government introduced an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), with effect from 6 April 2017. The ISC is levied on employers who sponsor applicants under Tier 2 to take up certain roles, but few University roles are affected.

Please note the ISC does not apply to Research and Lecturer roles, and there are a number of other exemptions. For full details please see our 'Cost and payment of applications' page.

Nationals of countries outside the EEA can only be employed by the University if they hold an appropriate work visa. Most skilled workers will require a Tier 2 (General) visa.

Please note, Croatian nationals previously required sponsorship under Tier 2 but as the restrictions on their employment ended on 30 June 2018 this is no longer necessary. With effect from 1 July 2018 Croatian nationals can, like other EEA nationals, simply produce their passport or a valid national identity card to evidence their right to work in the UK.

The application process depends on whether the applicant is coming to the UK from overseas, or whether they are already in the UK (in-country).

For all applicants requiring a Tier 2 visa, the application process involves two stages:

  1. application for a Certificate of Sponsorship from the University (issued by the Staff Immigration Team);
  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).

For applicants coming to the UK from overseas a third, preliminary stage is also involved: the University has to submit a formal request to the Home Office for a Certificate of Sponsorship for the overseas applicant on a case-by-case basis, before it can be issued to the applicant by the Staff Immigration Team.

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

Certificates of Sponsorship can only be issued by the University if a number of specific and inflexible requirements imposed by the Home Office have been met.

In particular, certificates can only be issued for roles that are considered by the Home Office to be skilled to at least degree level. These roles, and therefore those for which the University is permitted to request and/or issue certificates, are listed in the Home Office's Codes of Practice for skilled work in Appendix J of the Immigration Rules.

If departments and colleges are unsure whether they need to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship, please see Do I need a Certificate of Sponsorship? (463kb), or contact the Staff Immigration Team for advice.

Please see the Tier 2 application process flow chart (199kb) for further information. The processes involved, and the procedures to be followed, are described in more detail in the following sections.

Tier 2 visa holders are permitted to undertake a course of study in the UK without prior approval from the Home Office, however, those undertaking studies in science, engineering and technology subjects must check whether the course subject will mean they are required to first obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate. Further information can be found in relation to ATAS and applying for clearance in the University's Tier 4 student visa guidance.

Overseas applicants

PLEASE NOTE: A recent change to the Tier 2 guidance states that if a sponsored Tier 2 visa holder’s start date is delayed by more than 4 weeks sponsorship would have to be withdrawn. The start date listed on a Tier 2 CoS can be amended before the visa application is submitted by the individual. After this point the 4 week limit on any delayed start would apply. If you have any cases where a start date may be delayed speak to SIT as early as possible.

For overseas applicants, the University is required to submit a formal request for a Certificate of Sponsorship for that post from a monthly national quota held by the Home Office. If the formal request is granted, the University will be allocated a Certificate of Sponsorship which can only be issued for the specific post in question, and at the specific salary detailed in the application.

Please refer to the Tier 2 (General) applications for overseas applicants webpage for information on the application process for those applying from overseas.

All overseas applicants who have been issued a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship must obtain entry clearance/visa before arriving in the UK. 

Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) (credit-card sized plastic visa cards) are now issued to those applying from overseas for permission to stay in the UK for more than six months. The applicant will be issued with a 30 day vignette (visa in their passport) to enable them to enter the UK but they must then collect their BRP within 10 days from a designated Post Office.

A letter issued to the applicant along with their 30 day vignette details the designated Post Office and the date from which the BRP will be available for collection, based on the UK address and intended travel date listed in the visa application. The passport containing the vignette and the letter must be presented when collecting the BRP. If the visa holder does not collect their BRP within 10 days they could face a financial penalty and may have their visa curtailed. Guidance in relation to BRPs for overseas applicants can be found on the Home Office website.

In-country applicants

For in-country applicants, including those who are extending a current Tier 2 or old-style work visa, as well as those in other immigration categories who are eligible to switch into Tier 2 (General) from within the UK, the University holds a separate allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship which can be issued to eligible applicants without further specific permission from the Home Office.

Please refer to the Tier 2 (General) applications for in-country applicants webpage for information on the application process for those applying from within the UK.

All in-country applicants who have been issued a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship must apply for leave to remain in the UK.

Those applying from within the UK are issued their visa in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (a credit card sized plastic visa card). Guidance in relation to BRPs for in-country applicants can be found on the Home Office website.

Tier 2 Genuineness Test

Following the introduction of a “genuineness test” for Tier 5, the Home Office have now rolled this out to include Tier 2.

In order to assess the genuineness of the role being filled, the Home Office may request additional information/evidence from the applicant or ask them to attend an interview to assess:

  • Their knowledge of the role;
  • That they have the relevant experience relative to skills required to do the role;
  • Their knowledge of the Sponsor;
  • An explanation of how they were recruited;
  • Any other relevant information.