Tier 2 General Work Permit

This document provides guidance for the skilled workers tier of the Points-Based System. Tier 2 is the route which enables UK employers to employ nationals from outside the resident workforce to fill particular jobs which cannot be filled by settled workers. A skilled worker in any Tier 2 category must not displace a suitable settled worker

if you have an offer of a skilled job that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations.


You must have all of the following to be eligible for a Tier 2 General visa:

You must have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from an organisation that is a licensed sponsor in the UK. You can only have a job offer if you will not be displacing a suitable settled worker. This means that employers cannot offer a job to a non-settled worker if it means that a suitable settled worker will be turned down for the job or made redundant.

The sponsor must meet the requirements for the category you are applying under and accept certain responsibilities to help with immigration control. You must not own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares if the sponsor is a limited company unless you are applying under the Intra-Company Transfer category or your Certificate of Sponsorship shows you will earn £155,300 or higher.

You must score a minimum of:

  • 50 points for Attributes, which includes having a sponsor and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (Appendix A of the Immigration Rules); and
  • 10 points for English language skills (except for Intra-Company Transfers) (Appendix B of the Immigration Rules); and
  • 10 points for Maintenance (funds) (Appendix C of the Immigration Rules).

Even if you score the required 70 points, your application will still be considered against the General Grounds for Refusal criteria and may lead to your application being refused (e.g. because of your previous immigration history). Please see Home Office website for further information on General Grounds for Refusal. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/general-grounds-for-refusal-modernised-guidance


Whether you are applying in or out of the UK and on a restricted or unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship you must score 50 points in total for your attributes. The points you can score for attributes are listed in the table below. You can only score points for one entry in each row.

Criterion Points
Assigned Certificate of Sponsorship having met the requirements of:

• A resident labour market test exemption; or

• A resident labour market test by the sponsor; or

• An extension – Continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor.

Appropriate salary 20


Minimum skill level

To score points for sponsorship, you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor.

A sponsor must only assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to you if are appropriately qualified or registered to do the job (or will be, by the time they begin the job) shown on the Certificate of Sponsorship Checking Service. For example, if you are working as a doctor, your sponsor must make sure that you have the correct registration that allows you to practise in the UK. Your sponsor must keep a copy of any registration document or certificate, and give this to us on request.

If you are applying to work in the UK, the Certificate of Sponsorship must confirm that the job is at NQF level 6 (or the equivalent in Scotland) as stated in the codes of practice or in a creative sector occupation skilled to NQF level 4 (or the equivalent in Scotland) as listed in the Tier 2 & 5 Sponsor Guidance, or the job is at NQF level 4 and appears on the list of shortage occupations. This does not mean that you must be educated to this level; it means that the job is at that level. The Certificate of Sponsorship must also confirm that you will be paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job. These requirements are set out in the codes of practice and the Tier 2 & 5 Sponsor Guidance on GOV.UK.

Appropriate salary and allowances

You will be awarded the following points for the appropriate salary offered by your sponsor. These bands are before tax (gross) and yearly. Current appropriate salary is £20,800 and above.

The Certificate of Sponsorship must also confirm that you will be paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job. These requirements are set out in the Tier 2 codes of practice on GOV.UK When we assess the appropriate rate, and when we award points for appropriate salary, we will consider salaries and allowances as follows:

We will consider basic pay (excluding overtime) plus any allowances (such as London weighting) or bonuses, which would also be paid to a settled worker in similar circumstances, provided these allowances and or bonuses are part of your guaranteed salary package.

We will not consider other benefits, such as incentive pay / or travel and subsistence (including travel to and from your home country). Also, if you have exchanged some of your UK employment rights for shares as an employee-owner, the value of those shares will not be included.


You must score 10 points for your English language skills. When you are applying for entry clearance or further leave to remain under the Tier 2 (General) category.

You will be awarded 10 points under Tier 2 (General) if you meet the requirements of one of the categories listed below:

  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country; or
  • you hold a degree that was taught or researched in English which must be equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or above; or
  • you have passed an English language test at the appropriate level, you must have a level of English equivalent to level B1 or above of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning; or
  • you have met the English language requirements when given a previous grant of leave; or
  • you qualify under the transitional arrangements.


You will be awarded 10 points if:

  • you currently have entry clearance, leave to enter, or leave to remain as a Tier 2 skilled worker; work permit holder; Jewish Agency Employee; Member of the Operational Ground Staff of an Overseas-owned Airline; Minister of Religion; Missionary; Member of a Religious Order; or Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation; or
  • your A-rated (Premium), A-rated Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) or A-rated sponsor certifies on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will maintain and accommodate you up to the end of your first month of employment in the UK if required. Your sponsor may limit the amount of the undertaking, but any limit must be at least £945; or
  • you have personal savings of at least £945 which must have been held for a consecutive 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application. Any partners or children (also known as dependants) that you want to bring to the UK with you must have money in place to support them. The points based system dependants’ guidance provides more information on this.


Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, for example how much you’ll be paid.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form – you can only use it once.

Your certificate of sponsorship is valid for 3 months from the date it’s assigned to you.

Appropriate salary

The job you’re offered must pay £20,800 or more, unless your current or last permission to stay in the UK is as:

  • a Tier 2 (General) migrant before 6 April 2011
  • a Jewish agency employee
  • operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • a minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • a work permit holder
  • an unregistered nurse but your salary will be at least £16,271 while you’re doing your supervised practice or £21,478 after you have Nursing and Midwifery Council registration – and you’ll still be sponsored as a nurse by the same sponsor after you’re registered

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings continuously over the last 90 days, or your sponsor’s certification that they can support and accommodate you for the first month you’re employed
  • proof that you meet the English requirement
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

 How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

Your stay must start no more than 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week
  • do a job which has a shortage of workers in the UK for up to 20 hours per week
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £155,300 a year)
  • get public funds
  • start working before you get the visa
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor
You’ll need to make a new application if you want to do a second job that’s not in the same sector as your main job.