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Applying for a UK Tier 2 visa? Read this first

The Tier 2 (General) visa remains one of the most popular ways for Australians to live and work in the UK. This visa comes with some strict requirements that must be met to ensure your application is a success. Here’s everything you need to know about the Tier 2 application process.


If you’re not from the European Economic Area and Switzerland, you can live and work in the UK for up to five years with a Tier 2 visa. You can only apply for this visa if:


You’ve received an offer for a skilled job in the UK

You earn the appropriate salary

You have sufficient savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK


While citizens from certain countries are required to prove their knowledge of English, Australians are exempt from having to do so.

It’s easier to make the move if your skills are in demand

If your occupation is on the UK Shortage Occupation List, it will be much easier for you to find a job in the UK and get a Tier 2 visa. You can find the full list here, but below are some of the occupations that are in demand in the UK:



IT and communications professionals

Programmers and software development professionals

Health professionals



Social workers



Dancers and choreographers

Graphic designers



It’s still possible to get a visa even if your occupation is not on the list, the process is just a little different.

If your profession is not on the Shortage Occupation List, the company will need to advertise the job first, also known as the Resident Labour Market Test. The test ensures that there are no suitable UK residents for the position. The job will need to be advertised for at least 28 days before you can be given the position.

Get a job, get a sponsor

You will need a job offer from a UK employer before you can apply for a Tier 2 visa. You must ensure that the company you get a job with is licensed to sponsor migrants for a Tier 2 visa. You can begin your job search on any UK career site.

After offering you a position, your employer will need to get a sponsorship licence. When your employer has received a sponsorship licence, they will issue you with a certificate of sponsorship. You need this certificate to apply for your visa – it serves as confirmation that your employer wants and needs to sponsor you.

Proving you have sufficient savings to support yourself

Before you apply for your visa, you must have £945 in your account for 90 days. If you bring any dependants with you, you will need an additional £630 for each dependant.

Make sure your job pays enough

Your job in the UK must also pay you a minimum salary of £30, 000 per year. If this salary requirement is not met your application will be refused.

How much does a Tier 2 visa cost?

The cost of a Tier 2 visa varies:


A visa for three years or less, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued, will cost £610

A visa for more than three years, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued, will cost £1,220

A shortage occupation visa for three years or less, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued, will cost £464

A shortage occupation visa for more than three years, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued, will cost £928

Apply for your Tier 2 visa

You must apply for your visa in your country of birth. You can apply for your visa no more than three months before you’re due to start your job. Your start date will be listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

You can get help with your application from a UK immigration specialist. This will ensure you meet the requirements and that you’ve supplied the correct documents. This is often the best way to get your visa, particularly when you consider the time and cost involved in applying for a Tier 2 visa.

After arriving in the UK – things to know

To work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance (NI) number and a UK bank account.

Getting your NI number

Your NI number is a unique code made up of a combination of letters and numbers. The UK government uses this number to track your taxes and National Insurance contributions. Without this number you’ll be taxed at UK emergency tax rates, which are much higher than normal tax rates. So, it’s important that you get it shortly after arriving in the UK. You must be in the UK to apply for your NI number.

Getting your bank account

Opening a UK bank account is notoriously hard. This is mainly because it requires proof of your address, which is difficult to obtain if you’ve just arrived in the UK. You can provide one of the following:


A mortgage statement

An electricity, gas or water bill that’s less than three months old

A bank statement that’s less than three months old

A current council tax bill

Account, investment or insurance document

House or motor insurance certificates


You can apply for your NI number and open your bank account yourself, but it’s often easier to make use of a professional service that specialises in doing this.

Before putting in your Tier 2 application, make sure you’ve done sufficient research or spoken to a UK immigration professional who can advise you on your options and even manage the application process for you. This will give you less to worry about and more time to enjoy the adventure that awaits in your new home.

Sable international specialises in making every aspect of your move to the UK easy by offering expert immigration advice and solutions. They’ve been helping people relocate for over 20 years. If you have any questions or need help with applying for your UK visa, National Insurance number or opening a bank account, get in touch on +61 (0) 3 8651 4500 or email