The UK Border Agency’s website contains detailed information on what immigration categories you can switch from in to the skilled worker category (Tier 2 General) of the points-based system to work, assuming you are currently in the UK.
The website also contains a useful Points Calculator tool, which allows you to calculate how many points you have and to see if you may be eligible to work in the UK under the points-based system.
You can switch in to the skilled worker category (Tier 2 General), subject to meeting the points based requirements, from the following immigration categories:
- highly skilled worker (tier 1)
- sponsored skilled worker (tier 2)
- student (Tier 4)
- student nurse
- student re-sitting an examination
- person writing up a thesis
- overseas qualified nurse or midwife
- postgraduate doctor or dentist
- student union sabbatical officer
- qualifying work permit holder
- Highly Skilled Migrant
- a participant in the International Graduate Scheme (formerly known as the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)
- a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
- a participant in Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
- minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
- member of the operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
- a Jewish agency employee
If you are not in any of these categories, you will have to leave the UK and apply for a visa at your local entry clearance post – British Embassy.
You must have worked in the job you have now for your current sponsor for at least six months before applying under Tier 2. You must also continue to work for your sponsor in the job you have now.
If you have not worked for your potential sponsor for at least six months before you apply, your sponsor will need to meet the ‘resident labour market test’ unless the job is on the ‘shortage occupation‘ list.
The care industry employs thousands of care workers on student visas taking NVQ courses in Health and Social Care. Many of these workers would naturally like to switch into a work permit, or Tier 2 as it is now known, after completing their NVQ3 qualification.
The rules do allow qualified students to switch into Tier 2, subject to meeting the points based criteria and finding an employer who is registered as a Sponsor.
The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recently recommended that the qualification threshold for overseas Social Care Workers be changed to NQF (National Qualification Framework)/NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Level 2 and the minimum salary cut from £8.80 to £7.80.
You can automatically claim a useful 30 points if you are switching from:
- the post-study worker category of tier 1 or
- Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme or
- International Graduate Scheme (formerly known as the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)
Employers wishing to sponsor migrant workers should visit the Working in the UK section of the UK Border Agency Website.
Registering as a Sponsor under Tier 2 can take several months, so employers need to plan ahead if they want to take on new overseas workers or renew existing Work Permits.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: