Tier 2: switching from another visa scheme

People who already hold a valid UK visa can often switch to a Tier 2 work visa in order to remain in the UK and work in a skilled profession. The rules which govern switching vary depending on which type of Tier 2 visa you want to switch to. This section details the rules and conditions for switching to all Tier 2 visas, including the Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion, and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visas.
 

Sections

Switching to a Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), or Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa

If you are in the UK and currently hold one of the following visas you can apply to switch to a Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), or Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa:

  • Tier 1 visa

  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa

  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa

  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa (Established Staff sub-category), if you're applying to change your sponsor

  • Tier 2 (Intra company Transfer) visa (under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010), if you’re applying to change your sponsor

  • Tier 4 visa, or another type of student visa. Please see our Tier 2 Switching Rules for Students section below for full eligibility requirements

  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting). You must be switching to take a job as a professional footballer, and you must meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements

  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme

  • Innovator Scheme visa

  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme visa

  • International Graduates Scheme, or the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme

  • Business and Commercial work permit (except multiple entry work permits)

  • Sports and Entertainment work permit (must not be a multiple entry work permit)

You can also switch to a Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), or Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if you are in the UK and you are one of the following:

  • a Tier 4 visa holder's dependent partner

  • a Jewish agency employee

  • ground staff employed by an airline which is based outside of the UK

  • a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order

  • a nurse or midwife who gained their qualification outside of the UK

  • in the process of writing a postgraduate thesis

  • a postgraduate doctor or dentist

  • a representative of an overseas business

  • a representative of an overseas media organisation, including both print and broadcast media

  • a student sabbatical officer
     

Tier 2 Switching Rules for Students

Students in the UK can apply to switch to a Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), or Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if they are in the UK on a Tier 4 or other type of student visa, and have gained one of the following qualifications from a licensed Tier 4 sponsor:
 

  • Bachelor's degree

  • Master's degree

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PCGE)

  • Post Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE)

You may also apply to switch if you are in the UK on a student visa and one of the following:

  • a short term student

  • a student nurse

  • resitting an examination

  • a nurse who gained their qualification outside of the UK

  • in the process of writing a postgraduate thesis*

  • postgraduate doctor or dentist

  • student sabbatical officer

*PhD/doctoral level students must have completed at least 1 year of doctoral study in the UK
 

Switching to a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa

Only the Long term Staff subcategory of the the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa can be switched to. If you want to apply for a visa in the Short Term Staff, Graduate Trainee, or Skills Transfer subcategories you will have to make a normal application.

If you are in the UK and currently hold one of the following visas you can apply to switch to a Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer – Long Term Staff) visa:

  • Intra-company Transfer - Established Staff

  • Intra-company Transfer granted before 6 April 2010

  • Intra-company Transfer Work Permit (must not be a multiple entry work permit)

  • Representative of an Overseas Business visa, including media including both print and broadcast media organisations

In all cases you must remain working for the employer for which you were granted your previous visa.

Those in the UK on a student visa cannot switch to a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa


 

Further information, help, and advice

Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK and other Countries. We work with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com