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Tier 2 (General) Skilled Workers

Migrants from countries outside the EEA can only be employed by the University if they hold an appropriate work visa. Most skilled workers will require a Tier 2 (General) visa.

Tier 2 (General) is for skilled workers with a job offer to come to the UK to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker.  To qualify for a Tier 2 visa, a migrant must have both a licenced UKVI Sponsor (employer) and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship which is provided by the sponsoring employer.  As the Tier 2 visa only grants the holder permission to work in the specific job covered by the Certificate of Sponsorship, when your employment in that job finishes so does your visa.  If you want to change employers within the UK then you need to make a new Tier 2 visa application.

Please note, while Croatian nationals do not require a visa to come to the UK but they can only be employed by the University if they hold a Tier 2 (General) Certificate of Sponsorship and Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate, or if they hold a valid registration certificate or are otherwise exempt.

The Tier 2 application process depends on whether the migrant is coming to the UK from overseas, or whether they are already in the UK (in-country).  For all migrants requiring a Tier 2 visa, the application process involves two mandatory stages:

  1. The University must assign a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship to the migrant
  2. The migrant must make an application for a Tier 2 visa.  This will give the migrant the right to enter or live and work in the UK.

Overseas applicants (made outside the UK)

For migrants coming to the UK from overseas, a preliminary stage is also involved.  The University has to submit a formal application to the UKVI for a Certificate of Sponsorship for the migrant on a case-by-case basis.  These applications are considered by the UKVI on a monthly basis.  There is an annual limit of 20,700 Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship for migrants coming from overseas and this is managed by the UKVI on a national monthly quota of 1500 certificates.

All overseas migrants who have been assigned a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship by the University must obtain entry clearance/visa before arriving in the UK.

In-country applicants (made in the UK)

For in-country applicants, including those who are extending a current Tier 2, switching employer or switching into Tier 2 (General); the University holds a separate allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship which can be assigned to eligible migrants without further specific permission from the UKVI. 

All in-country applicants who have been assigned a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship by the University must apply for leave to remain in the UK, before their visa expires.

Certificate of Sponsorship

Please note a Certificate of Sponsorship does not automatically grant the right to work in the UK.  It only enables the migrant to apply for visa. The decision on whether to issue a visa is not made by the University, but by the UVKI.

Certificates of Sponsorship can only be assigned by the University if a number of specific requirements imposed by UKVI have been met.  A Certificate of Sponsorship can only be obtained for a post which meets both the required skill level for the job and the 'appropriate rate' of pay as determined by the UKVI.  This is to ensure that the resident labour market is not undercut.  The salary for the post must be at least £20,500 per annum or at least the minimum rate quoted in the relevant UKVI Code of Practice, whichever is higher.  If the job does not meet these conditions, the University cannot obtain a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship.  If you are unsure if a post is eligible for a Tier 2 visa please contact Human Resources.

Human Resources manage the University’s Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship allocation.

Resident Labour Market Test

In order to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship, the University must complete a Resident Labour Market Test advertising the job 28 calendar days on suitable media.  There are a limited number of exemptions to the Resident Labour Market Test which avoid having to advertise the job. Further information can be obtained from Human Resources.

Cooling off period

The ‘cooling off’ period was introduced by the UKVI on 6 April 2012.  This means that any sponsored Tier 2 migrant whose visa was cancelled or expired and who had left the UK would be subject to a 12-month ban from submitting an application to reapply under Tier 2.  Migrants in this situation may wish to consider applying under Tier 1. 

Points Scoring Assessment

Migrants must obtain 70 points in order to be eligible for a Tier 2 visa.  Points are available as follows:

  • Assigned a certificate of sponsorship by UK Sponsor – 30 points
  • Appropriate prospective salary as set by the UKVI code of Practice– 20 points
  • English language ability - 10 points
  • Maintenance - 10 points 

Migrants can check their eligible on the UKVI Points-Based calculator at the weblink below.  Please beware that this does not guarantee a successful visa application.  The decision to grant visa rests solely with the UKVI.

UK immigration point based system

Further information can be found at


Human Resources

Cameron Little
The Old Burgh School
Abbey Walk

St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1334 462497
Fax:+44 (0) 1334 462570