This scheme is aimed at skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area who have a full time job offer from a UK employer.
The application consists of four stages.
Stage 1 – Joining the Register of Sponsors
In order for an employer to be able to employ non-UK nationals, they will firstly need to apply for a Sponsorship License and add their company name to the UK Border Agency official Register of Sponsors.
In order to do this, the employer will need to make an application to the UK Border Agency and submit various supporting documentation to show that the company exists and has a legitimate UK trading presence. Such documents would include (but are not limited to): audited accounts, premises / office lease, VAT certificate, and recent bank statements.
This process, on average can take up to 4 weeks and Processing Fee is payable (£ 536 for a small company and £ 1,476 for a large company). Those fees are refundable should your application be unsuccessful.
Stage 2 – The Resident Labour Market Test
Unless you will be paid a salary of at least £ 159,600 per annum or more, or your occupation features in the official Shortage Occupations List, your employer will be required to test the resident UK labour market by way of placing 2 advertisements. The advertisements need to run for at least 28 days. There are strict guidelines as to what information needs to be included in the advertisement and where you need to place it.
Stage 3 – Allocating the Certificate of Sponsorship
Once your employer has been granted a sponsorship license, they will need to apply for and assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).
A certificate of sponsorship is not a paper certificate; it is a ‘virtual document’ with a unique reference number which an employer issues to the prospective employee so that they can apply for permission to enter the UK if they are overseas (known as ‘entry clearance’), or permission to stay in the UK if they are already here (known as ‘Leave to remain’).
The COS contains all the necessary information regarding the job and details about the employer. The cost of applying for a COS is currently £ 199 and can take up to 2 weeks to be issued.
Stage 4 – Submitting the Application
Subsequent to a UK employer issuing the Certificate of Sponsorship, the prospective employee can then apply for permission to live and work in the UK. The employee’s application is assessed on the following criteria;
• Future expected earnings;
• English language skills; and
• Available maintenance (funds).
Applicants who are resident outside the UK will need to make and ‘Entry Clearance’ application at their nearest UK Visa Application Center (normally dealt with by a 3rd party provider).
Processing times vary considerably. On average however, you should expect a processing time of approximately 3 weeks.
Applicants who are resident in the UK need to apply directly to the UK Visas & Immigration This is known as ‘Leave to Remain’.
For ‘in country’ applications, processing times can be anything from 1 – 6 months. For complex or ‘outside the Rules’ applications, the process can take considerably longer.
If your application is successful you will be granted either Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain. You will normally will be issued with a biometric ID card or ‘BRP’.
Please note that you can choose MediVisas to deal with any, or all of the above stages.
Interested in applying under the Tier 2 General scheme?