Tier 2 Visa Extension; avoiding visa troubles

Plan your applications

Hello! This post provides some useful tips for changing jobs in the UK. The post mostly applies to the primary holder of the Tier 2 visa and may not directly apply to those who are dependents.

The Tier 2 visa is usually time bound, corresponding closely with the duration of your contract with your sponsor. Pay close attention to the end date. Once you are at least three months into the job, try to get a sense of whether your line manager would like to renew your contract. A caveat here of course is if your contract is for six months, you will need to start these proceedings way sooner. If you learn that your contract will be renewed, make sure the staff services team and recruitment team are aware. If you are applying for an extension on your visa with the same employer, here is some useful information. Firstly, use the right link from the gov.uk website. The link you used to make the first application to get the Tier 2 visa, is not the same as the link for the Tier 2 visa extension. If you are lucky, you will be provided with the appropriate link. If you are not, then just pay attention to this small detail. Secondly, think cost savings. The earliest you can apply for an extension is three months before your visa expires. The cost of an expedited application; either one month or one day within the UK is in excess of a thousand pounds not to mention the Immigration Health Surcharge, biometrics appointment costs and the additional costs if you have dependents who also require a visa. Starting your application process on time, gives you a comfortable cushion to use the eight-week service which will probably bring the total cost per applicant closer to a thousand pounds.

If you learn, that your contract is not to be renewed with your current employer or indeed you are just seeking an opportunity to change employers, then you should know a few things. Firstly. Start your job search early. Six months to the expiration of your visa is already leaving things too late. Allowance of at least 2-4 weeks should be given for applying for a job, getting shortlisted and being interviewed. A further allowance of 6 weeks for the process of signing contracts and getting a certificate of sponsorship (CoS). When applying for jobs, pay attention to the duration the job has been advertised for. For a sponsor to issue a CoS. They must provide evidence of having fulfilled the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). One of the requirements for this, is advertising the job for 28 days. If you notice the advert is only running for two weeks and the sponsor says they can provide Tier 2 visas to successful applicants, you have two options. One, flee from this job and do not spend time applying. The second option if you are keen on the job, is to bring this to the attention of the advertiser. If they extend the advert period, then you should go for it, if they don’t then do not bother. The reason is, a valid CoS cannot be issued if the sponsor has not fulfilled the requirements for the RLMT.

There is something obvious that needs to be said. For the purpose of extension of your visa, whether it is with the same employer or extension with a change of sponsor, your application must be made from within the UK. If for any reason you are out of the country, do not be tempted to apply before you return.

An application must be made before your current visa expires. Bear this in mind when planning. It should guide decisions about when to begin the job search and the timing of applications. It is important to note that if your visa expires after your contract with your current employer has ended and a decision on the application is being awaited, you will be unable to work for either employer. This has implications for planning accommodation during the waiting period as well as other living expenses. If your visa expires without a new application having been made, you are expected to leave the country within thirty days and are subject to a cooling off period before you can apply to return. You do not want this pressure in your life.

I hope this helps. The key thing to takeaway is, do not to shy away from early discussions about the renewal of your contract. Please leave a comment below if you would like to share your experience. Sign up to the newsletter to be notified of new posts.

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