Tier 2 Visa

**Under the new UK immigration cap, coming into effect in April 2011, 20,700 Tier 2 visas will still be available and Antipodeans coming to the UK with a job offer should go via this route. However, the role on offer must be considered to be of a graduate level or above, in conjunction with the relevant criteria for the points based system. Get more info here.**

The Tier 2 Visa is specifically for those who have a confirmed job offer from an employer in the UK. The employer is known as the sponsor and must provide the employee with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.  The Tier 2 Visa also applies to employees of global companies, where the employee is being transferred to a UK-based branch of the same company, as well as to professional sportspeople and coaches and individuals filling religious vacancies. 

When applying for the Tier 2 Visa, you must score a minimum of 70 Points, based on:

  • Qualifications
  • Future expected earnings
  • English Language Skills
  • Maintenance Funds


Positions offered to prospective employees from outside the UK that aren’t on the shortage list must first be advertised so UK/EU workers can apply first.

Employers who want to sponsor an employee from outside the UK must obtain a licence from UKBA.

Sponsorship positions must either be at a level that requires a degree or higher national diploma, or at least three years’ of specialist experience.

How to score your Points for a Tier 2 visa

You must score a total of at least 70 points: 50 points for attributes, as well as 10 mandatory points for English language skills and 10 mandatory points for maintenance.

Attributes Points {50}


Sponsorship Points Qualification Points Prospective Earnings
Job in Shortage occupation 50 Master’s Degree, PhD or eqivalent
15 £320 000 or more 25
Transitional Arrangements 50 Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent 10 £28 000 – £31 999 20
Job passes resident labour market test 30 A Level S/NVQ 3 or equivalent or above 5 £24 000 – £27 999 15
Switch from Post Study category 30 None, or below A Level or S/NVQ 3
0 £20 000 – £23 999 10
Intra-company Transfer 25

£20 000
Extension in same job with same /higher salary

The Migration Advisory Committee publishes updated lists of shortage occupations. Should your position be on the list, you will automatically score 50 points and your employer does not need to carry out the resident labour market test.

English language skills {10 Points}

NOTE: These 10 points are mandatory to your application being successful. If you do not meet the language skill requirements, your application will be refused, no matter how many points you scored in other areas.

Here’s how to ensure you receive these crucial points:

If you are a national of a country where the majority of inhabitants speak English, you will automatically qualify for 10 points.  These are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.

If you hold a Bachelor’s Degree (or higher) that was taught in English, you will also qualify automatically.

If none of these conditions above are present, you will have to pass an English Language Test to prove that your English is up to scratch.

Maintenance Funds {10 Points}

NOTE: Like the English Language Skills points, these 10 points are mandatory to your application being successful. If you do not meet the maintenance fund requirements, your application will be refused, no matter how many points you scored in other areas.

If you are applying from within the UK on a Work Permit, you will automatically qualify for the 10 Points.

Outside the UK
If you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to prove that you have at least £800 in your bank account and that the money has been in the account for a continuous three-month period prior to applying.

In Secretary of State for the Home Department v Pankina [2010] EWCA Civ 719, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of an applicant who could not prove that funds were in the account for three months.

More about the Tier 2 Visa

If you would like to find out more, please visit 1stcontactvisas.com. Alternatively you could call 0808 141 5508 (UK), 0800 003 163 (SA) or 1800 039 300 (Australia) to speak to a friendly and highly qualified 1st Contact visa consultant.