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Tier 2

 What is Tier 2 ?

The Tier 2 program in the Points Based System came into effect as of the 27th November 2008. The program replaced the work permit program.

In general terms this system is based on the Australian and Canadian immigration systems for employers seeking to sponsor individual workers (in this case from outside of the EU). Employers seeking to enter into this program will need to register with the UKVI in order to use the system. On completion of a successful registration, employers will be granted a number of “certificates of sponsorship” which they are free to issue to potential future employees.


It is then the responsibility of the future employee to apply for the visa / specific entry clearance from their country of legal residence, prior to entering the UK and taking up the position.


In order to make a successful (visa) application candidates must evidence and meet the points based assessment, requiring a pass mark of 50 points. In general terms points can be scored in the following areas:



  • PhD Qualification - 15 points

  • Master’s Degree - 15 points

  • Bachelor’s Degree - 10 points

  • GCEA Level - 5 points

Prospective Earnings:


  • £32,000+ - 25 points

  • £28,000-£31,999 - 20 points

  • £24,000-£27,999 - 15 points

  • £20,000-£23,999 - 10 points


Certificate of Sponsorship:

  • Shortage Occupation - 50 points

  • Non Shortage Occupation - 30 points

  • Intra Company Transfer - 25 points

*Please note that switching from a post study work visa will gain an automatic 30 points.


In order to register, UK based employers need to complete an online application to the Border and Immigration Agency and provide specific hard copies of relevant data that the BIA deem necessary. Following this initial process the BIA will often make a “pre registration” appointment to assess current and discuss future processes and needs of the business with regard to the handling of non EU nationals and the volume of “certificates of sponsorship” required.

The company applying (if successful) will be granted an “A” or “B” rating and also issued with an agreed number of certificates / reference numbers for issue.

Once registered it is the responsibility of the employer (or in conjunction with their advisers) to ensure that the position in question is a genuine vacancy that would be difficult to fill from the local labour force. They will also have to evidence that the candidate has the appropriate skills and experience to fill the role, that the job in question is of an appropriate level and that an appropriate remuneration package is in place for the individual.




The system has the benefit that it allows employers to move quickly once registered to issues certificates and hire workers from abroad. The "sting in the tail" however its that compliance measures to issue certificates correctly are strict and penalties for employers abusing the system are extremely harsh.


How can Voyage help?


Voyage are one of only 40 service providers recommended by the Home Office (BIA) to provide services to corporate clients under Tier 2.

As a result clients of Voyage will find the process of registration and issuing of certificates more smooth and often with the use of a pre license report a Voyage representative will meet with employers being registered to conduct thorugh analysis of processes, policies and procedures to ensure that the system in place are robust and in keeping with the expectations of the BIA.


Pre Registration work:

  • An initial assessment of current HR files and systems for work permit holders

  • Assessment of the visa status / visa opportunities of all Non EU staff

  • Assistance with preparation of the initial registration submission

  • Preparation and attendance for the BIA pre registration check


Post registration / ongoing issues:

  • Issue certificates of sponsorship and insuring ongoing file compliance

  • With offices abroad we can either meet with or liaise with the future employee to complete the appropriate application, have this lodged to the BHC in their country of origin and gain the approval.

  • Periodic auditing of current work permit holders

The service is genuinely “end to end” in handling both local issues in the UK and activity that needs to be undertaken abroad which cannot be said for purely UK based advisers!

For a FREE initial Tier 2 visa assessment please complete the Free UK Visa Assessment and one of our consultants will respond within 48 hours of your submission

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