Tier 2 License Visa
The Tier 2 scheme is quite complex, and it has two separate parts: Tier 2 sponsor licence and Tier 2 visa.
An employer in the UK who wishes to employ a non-EEA migrant in a skilled position who does not otherwise have the right to work in the UK must “sponsor” them under the Tier 2 scheme. To do this, the employer must hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence, and to obtain this licence, they must make an application to the Home Office. Only when the employer has successfully obtained the Tier 2 sponsor licence will they be able to employ the migrant.
Once the migrant has been sponsored by the employer (which involves the employer issuing a “certificate of sponsorship”, which is a virtual online document) the migrant must make a Tier 2 visa application (either in the UK or from outside the UK). The visa application is an entirely separate application from the Tier 2 sponsor licence application, and it is made by the migrant themselves, not by the employer. If the migrant is successful in the Tier 2 visa application, they may then (but not until then) start to work for the employer in the position in question.
In some, but not all, cases the employer has to advertise the position, to ensure that the migrant does not take a position that could have been filled by a resident worker (“resident labour market test”).
There are two main types of Tier 2 visa:
Tier 2 General Visa
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
The Tier 2 General visa is for migrants, either from outside the UK or already in the UK with leave under some other immigration category, whom the employer has sponsored.
The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa is for migrants who already work for an overseas branch of an international company, and where the company wishes to transfer them to the UK branch for a limited period of months or years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is potentially available for Tier 2 General migrants, after five years, but it is not available for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer migrants.