While the topic of immigration to the United Kingdom is a hot topic in the modern era, there is no getting away from the fact that the fabric of Great Britain has been shaped by the people who came to these shores and helped make it a better process. This is true for all levels of society and this is why it is important that the opportunity for people to come to the UK and work is available today.

One of the most common ways for people to gain entry to the UK for work purposes is on a Tier 2 (General) visa. The Tier 2 (General) visa is available for people who have been offered a skilled job in the United Kingdom and who hail from outside of the European Economic Area, the EEA, or Switzerland.

In order to gain this visa, there is a need for the applicant to be sponsored, which means that they need to have a sponsorship certificate from a sponsor that is licenced. This should be in place before they arrive in the United Kingdom and the work that they undertake in the United Kingdom should relate to the work undertaken by their sponsor.

It is possible to apply for the Tier 2 (General) visa up to three months before the applicant is due to start working in the United Kingdom and the date they are due to start work should be included on their sponsorship certificate.  The usual length of time for a decision to be made on a visa is three weeks, although applicants from some countries may experience longer waiting times for their application to be processed.

The cost of obtaining a Tier 2 (General) visa will depend on a number of factors

One factor that will impact on the cost of the application is the length of time the visa will run for and another factor is whether the role is classed as a “shortage occupation” role. Other factors include if you are applying from outside of the United Kingdom, if you are looking to extend or switch in the UK or if you are looking to extend or switch your visa in person in the United Kingdom.

The last option is the most expensive and this can cost over £1,000 compared to a basic cost of £575 for a Tier 2 (General) visa up to 3 years in a standard occupation. There is also a need for the application to pay a healthcare surcharge with their application and applications should review this amount before they submit an application.

As you would expect, the costs involved with a “shortage occupation” role, a position where it has been deemed that there is a shortage of workers currently operating in the United Kingdom are more affordable. This area of immigration has been in the news a lot thanks to the NHS crisis. Nursing has been classed as a “shortage occupation” in an attempt to increase the number of people who would be willing to travel to the United Kingdom and work as a nurse.

Shortage occupation applicants can save money

The costs of applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa which lasts for more than three years is more expensive than the visa which lasts for up to 3 years and again, the “shortage occupation” option is more affordable than the standard option.   It is important that applicants are aware of the upfront costs of applying for a suitable visa.

This can be difficult if people don’t have a lot of money, but it is part of the process and cannot be overlooked. If someone is struggling to raise funds, they may need to delay their planned entry to the UK or they could liaise with the sponsor and see if they can process the payment which can be resolved at a later date between the applicant and sponsor.

With a Tier 2 (General) visa, it is possible to stay for a period of 5 years and 14 days, which is the maximum period of time, or the length of time stated on the sponsorship certificate plus one month. The shorter of these two time periods is the one that is accepted so even if the sponsorship certificate stated 10 years, the Tier 2 (General) visa would only be applicable for the 5 years and 14 days period.

The start of the visa must come no more than 14 days before the beginning date on the sponsorship certificate and it is possible to extend the visa, by up to 5 years, but the total length of stay is not allowed to be over 6 years.

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.