This article on the Tier 2 Visa Application is broken down into the below four sections to highlight the required documentation and to aid you through the application itself and what to expect after your application is accepted.
Certificate of Sponsorship
Guide through the application itself
Biometric Resident Permit
After you have accepted your first job in the UK you will need to apply for a Tier 2 Visa. A Tier 2 Visa is now the main immigration route into the UK for skilled workers coming to take up employment in the UK. To apply for this Visa, you must have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
How long does the Visa last for?
You can work in the UK with a Tier 2 Visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time stated on your CoS plus 1 month, whichever is shorter. You can start your stay up to 14 days before the start date on your CoS. When you come to the end of your Visa, you will have to renew it.
What documents do I need for my Visa application?
Before you begin your online application, you should make sure that you have the below documentation:
Certificate of Sponsorship
You must have a valid CoS from your employer with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. Your UK hospital should request this and if granted assign your CoS via their online Sponsor Management System account. They will then provide you with a certificate number which you must input when submitting your online Visa application. Although the certificate is an electronic record, not a paper document, you can ask your employer to print out the details for the certificate from their system so you can have a physical copy for your personal records.
There are two types of CoS:
Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship: To employ people based outside the UK who have a job and are planning to work in a UK role paying less than £159, 600.
Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship: To employ people switching to a Tier 2 Visa within the UK or are outside of the UK and will be working in a role which pays £159,600 a year or more or will be working in an inward investment post.
Please note that there is a monthly allocation meeting for restricted CoS on the 11th of each month and an annual cap of 20,700 split into 12 monthly caps. Therefore, your employer must apply by the 5th of the month to be allocated a restricted CoS by the 11th of the month.
Tuberculosis Test Clearance Certificate
You will need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and you currently live in any of these listed countries. You will be given a chest x-ray to test for TB and if the result is not clear you may be asked to give a sputum sample (phlegm coughed up from your lungs).
If your test is clear and shows that you do not have TB you will be given a certificate which is valid for six months from the date of your x-ray. You must include this certificate with your UK Visa application.
Please note that you will have to pay a clinic fee for your TB test, and this varies country to country. The fee will cover the consultation, the x-ray and the certificate. The clinic fee is in addition to the cost of your Visa application. Also, the certificate is only valid for 6 months after it has been issued.
Police Clearing Certificate
The Government require that those applying for a Tier 2 Visa must provide a criminal record certificate if they are working in education, health and social care sectors. The purpose of this requirement is to strengthen safeguards against those with a criminal history who are seeking work in the UK.
You and any adult dependents you may have will have to provide a criminal record certificate from any country you have lived in for twelve months or more in the past ten years. It will be your sponsor’s responsibility (the hospital) to inform you of this requirement and failure to do so could result in refusal of the Visa.
Proof of English Knowledge
You will also be asked to prove your knowledge of English language. This can be done in two ways:
Passing an approved English language test OR
Having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or master’s degree or PhD.
Please note that only IELTS UKVI can be accepted as proof of English knowledge, and not the IELTS academic test or OET. IELTS academic test and OET will only satisfy your GMC Registration, not your Visa application.
Letter of Maintenance (Optional)
You can ask your hospital trust in the UK to provide you with a letter of maintenance. This will confirm that they will take care of your expenses and accommodation before you get your first pay. However, often they will mention this in the CoS and so you will not need a separate letter of maintenance from the trust.
If your hospital is providing you with maintenance, you must ensure that they are a fully approved A-rated sponsor. Most hospitals are, but it is best to confirm this by checking the approved sponsor list here. If they are approved you will not need to show your bank account details in your Visa application and you can list the hospital accommodation’s address.
What if my hospital is not giving me maintenance?
If your hospital is not giving you maintenance then you will have to have £945 in your bank account for more than 90 days before your Visa application and you will also have to arrange your own accommodation.
If you are unsure of how to lay out your cover letter then you can find an example here.
In the opening paragraph, you should provide your name, visa application number, date of birth, passport number and the reason for your application. You can also include details of where you received your primary qualification, your current place of employment and your GMC registration number.
After that, it is a good idea to provide the details of your family members, including your parents’ names and any other names of family members who are a dependent.
In the next paragraph, you should give an outline of your academic history and what led you to take PLAB 2 and essentially your Visit to the UK. Here, you could include information about your goal to live and work in the UK.
After you have outlined your academic history, you should then state what accommodation you are staying in during your visit, whether it is staying in a hotel, or with a family or a friend – you will need to provide evidence. If you are staying in a hotel then provide evidence of the hotel booking confirmation or if you are staying with a friend, ask them to write a statement confirming your stay.
You will then need to provide an entire itinerary for your trip to the UK. This includes the date and time you arrive, flight details and what you plan to do in between taking the PLAB 2 exam and the date you leave. If you have a few extra days after you have taken the exam you will have to provide good reasoning for staying beyond the purpose of the stay.
Lastly, you should provide a numbered list of the supporting documents that you have provided to accompany the letter.
GMC Registration Certificate
The Tier 2 Visa is based on a points-based system. To be eligible for the Visa you must score 70 points, however scoring 70 does not guarantee you will be accepted for the Visa.
Resident Labour Market Test
Salary of £159, 600 or more
Appropriate Salary (At least £30, 000)
Guide to Tier 2 Visa Online Application
The online Tier 2 Visa application is very similar to your Visa visit application to come to the UK to take your PLAB 2 exam.
First, the application will ask you to provide details such as your name, passport information, and national identity. Then it will ask you to provide your travel information and essentially an itinerary. This information should include the date you will arrive in the UK and the date you will leave the UK (A detailed travel itinerary should be provided in your cover letter).
Other details that the application will ask you to provide include personal and family information, employment details, how much money you plan on spending, accommodation details, any previous Visa refusals, and criminal convictions.
Once you submit the above form you will be asked to pay your Visa fee (£587 but subject to change) and an additional immigration health surcharge fee.
Once you have provided all the required information you will then be taken to a declaration page. This page offers you to pick an appointment date with a Visa Application Centre and your ID check at the Visa office. However, do not select a date if you have not uploaded all the required supporting documents.
What happens at the Visa application centre?
This process will be the same as the PLAB 2 Visa appointment. You will be asked to bring your passport and your ID will be confirmed by taking an ID photo and fingerprint scans.
You will then have to wait for your application to be processed and you can track its progress via this link.
Biometric Resident Permit
You will receive a biometric residence permit (BRP) if you:
Apply to come to the UK for longer than 6 months
Extend your Visa to longer than 6 months
Apply to settle in the UK
Transfer your Visa to a new passport
You will not need to apply for a BRP on top of your Visa application, you will receive one automatically if your Visa is approved.
What is a BRP?
Your BRP card will include your name, date and place of birth, your fingerprints, a photo of your face, your immigration status and any conditions of your stay, and whether you have access to any public funds i.e. benefits and health services. Some BRP’s have your National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of the card, however, this depends on when it was issued and your Visa status.
What do I need a BRP for?
A BRP card can confirm your identity, right to work in the UK and any access to public services or benefits you are entitled to.
If you an IMG who would like some advice on relocating to the UK and working for the NHS then get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Specialist team will be happy to advise you.