How long can I stay in the UK Tier 2?

How long can I stay in the UK Tier 2?

The UK Tier 2 Visa is a popular immigration category that allows skilled workers to come to the UK for employment purposes. If you are considering applying for a Tier 2 Visa, one of the key factors to consider is how long you can stay in the UK under this visa category. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the duration of stay on a UK Tier 2 Visa.

Understanding the UK Tier 2 Visa

The UK Tier 2 Visa is designed for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who have a valid job offer from a licensed UK employer. It falls under the points-based system and requires applicants to score a minimum number of points based on factors such as salary, English language proficiency, and maintenance funds.

Length of Stay on a Tier 2 Visa

The length of stay on a Tier 2 Visa depends on various factors, including the type of job and the duration of the employment offer. Generally, Tier 2 Visa holders can stay in the UK for a maximum period of 5 years and 14 days, or the duration mentioned on their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), whichever is shorter.

Extension of Tier 2 Visa

If you wish to extend your stay in the UK under the Tier 2 Visa category, you can apply for an extension. Tier 2 Visa extensions are usually granted for a maximum period of up to 5 years. It’s important to note that you must apply for an extension before your current visa expires to ensure continuity of your stay in the UK.

Switching to a Different Visa Category

In some cases, Tier 2 Visa holders may be eligible to switch to a different visa category while in the UK. For example, if you are offered a job under a different visa category or wish to pursue further studies, you may be able to switch to a Tier 4 Student Visa or a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, respectively. It’s crucial to understand the specific requirements and limitations of each visa category before initiating a switch.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of settlement in the UK that grants individuals the right to live and work in the country without any time restrictions. Tier 2 Visa holders may be eligible to apply for ILR after completing a continuous period of 5 years in the UK, subject to meeting the necessary criteria.

Absences from the UK

Under the Tier 2 Visa category, there are restrictions on the amount of time you can spend outside the UK without jeopardizing your immigration status. Generally, Tier 2 Visa holders can be absent from the UK for up to 180 days in any rolling 12-month period, with some exceptions for specific reasons such as work-related travel or serious illness.

Cooling-off Period

If you have spent the maximum allowable period in the UK under the Tier 2 Visa category, you may be subject to a cooling-off period before you can reapply. The cooling-off period applies if you have spent 5 years in the UK under the Tier 2 (General) route, and it requires you to remain outside the UK for at least 12 months before being eligible to apply for another Tier 2 (General) Visa.

Changing Employers on a Tier 2 Visa

If you wish to change employers while on a Tier 2 Visa, you must ensure that your new employer holds a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship License. The new employer will need to issue you a new CoS, and you will be required to apply for a Tier 2 Visa under their sponsorship. It’s crucial to follow the necessary procedures and guidelines provided by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to ensure a smooth transition.

Dependents on a Tier 2 Visa

Tier 2 Visa holders are allowed to bring their dependents, including spouses, civil partners, and children, to the UK. The dependents will need to apply for their own Tier 2 Dependent Visas, and their length of stay will be dependent on the duration of the main Tier 2 Visa holder’s stay.

In conclusion, the duration of stay on a UK Tier 2 Visa depends on various factors such as the type of job, length of employment offer, and eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding the Tier 2 Visa category is crucial for individuals planning to work and reside in the UK. If you are considering a Tier 2 Visa, it is advisable to seek professional advice to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I stay in the UK permanently on a Tier 2 Visa?

No, the Tier 2 Visa does not lead to permanent settlement by itself. However, after completing a continuous period of 5 years in the UK under the Tier 2 Visa category, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which grants permanent settlement.

Can I switch jobs while on a Tier 2 Visa?

Yes, you can switch jobs while on a Tier 2 Visa. However, you must ensure that your new employer holds a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship License and follows the necessary procedures for issuing a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for you.

Can I bring my family to the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?

Yes, Tier 2 Visa holders can bring their dependents, including spouses, civil partners, and children, to the UK. The dependents will need to apply for their own Tier 2 Dependent Visas.

How long can I be absent from the UK on a Tier 2 Visa?

Tier 2 Visa holders can be absent from the UK for up to 180 days in any rolling 12-month period, with some exceptions for specific reasons such as work-related travel or serious illness.

Is there a cooling-off period for Tier 2 Visa holders?

Yes, if you have spent the maximum allowable period in the UK under the Tier 2 (General) route, you will be subject to a cooling-off period. This requires you to remain outside the UK for at least 12 months before being eligible to apply for another Tier 2 (General) Visa.

Do you need a UK Skilled worker visa?

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