Tier 2 Switching Guide

A Tier 2 switch means that you transfer your visa from a different category to a UK Work Permit (Tier 2 Visa) without leaving the UK or making a new application for entry clearance. NB: This is different from changing Tier 2 sponsors - where you already have a Tier 2 visa but want to change employers. 


It is a simple process and has become very popular in recent years due to the extensive changes to other immigration categories like scrapping the HSMP programme, removing the Tier 1 (general) category, changing the Tier 1 PSW criteria and repeated tweaks to the Tier 5 / Working Holiday Visa.

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The Tier 2 program has been relatively stable - especially for those working within IT, Finance, Engineering and Telecommunications. These industries haven't been as badly affected by the introduction of caps and reduction in Tier 2 quota. Contact us if you'd like to discuss moving to a Tier 2 permit.

Tier 2 switching guide

You can switch into Tier 2 (General) from the following immigration categories (this information is from the UK Border Agency - you can check the most recent here) :

  • any Tier 1 category
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) 
  • Tier 2 (ICT) provided your visa was issued before April 2011
  • any Tier 4 category
  • dependant partner of a Tier 4 migrant 
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
  • innovator
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)
  • Business and Commercial work permits (except multiple entry work permits)
  • Sports and Entertainment work permits (except multiple entry work permits)
  • Jewish agency employee
  • Member of the operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • overseas qualified nurse or midwife
  • person writing up a thesis
  • postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • representative of an overseas business
  • student
  • student re-sitting an examination
  • student nurse
  • student union sabbatical officer


*November 2011 newsflash*

If you are on a Tier 1 visa (any category) then you can switch to a Tier 2 (General) Work Permit in-country. This means your application will be processed without you having to leave the UK. This greatly reduces the expense and hassle of moving onto a work permit.

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Client comment

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Shell International Trading & Shipping