As many applicants bemoan increased tightening by UK immigration authorities, 1st Contact says options are not as few and far between as many perceive. In light of the recent increased stringency in the changes to the Tier 1 Visa, the Tier 2 is becoming a preferable option for many highly skilled professionals. “The Tier 2 visa option is proving to be a popular choice”explains 1st Contact’s South African Visa Manager, Robyn Cory. “Tier 2 allows individuals to enter the UK and expand their career horizons through international exposure and a variety of opportunities.”
Eligibility is an option for applicants who meet various criteria, including possession of a UK degree-level qualification or UK Higher National Diploma relevant to the role on offer, sponsorship, future expected earnings, English language requirement, and maintenance funds.
“Tier 2 allows individuals to enter the UK and expand their career horizons”
In addition to applicants meeting a points criteria for eligibility, the visa is based largely on the offer of sponsorship from a qualified company in the UK. “Your employer must be able to demonstrate that the role cannot be filled by a suitably qualified or experienced resident worker,” notes Cory.
“The Tier 2 visa offers a validity period of one to three years, depending on the company. Furthermore it can open up the doors to permanent residency through the continuation of successive Tier 2 visa(s) to accumulate five years after which the visa holder is able to continue the path towards naturalisation through applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).”
1st Contact says the first step of making an application under the new Tier 2 scheme involves requesting that a potential employer becomes a Licensed Sponsor. Those interested in further information can direct their employers to http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employers/points/sponsoringmigrants/employingmigrants/ .
“Once your employer becomes a Licensed Sponsor, we step in to aid the process. For all those whose idea of getting a UK visa was based on Tier 1 applications, Tier 2 is great news; the opportunities in the UK, from work to naturalisation, are endless if you can meet the criteria to qualify under any of the broad terms on offer,” adds Cory.