Switching to Tier 2: some common problems

Blog for students
05 September 2019
22     7

Adviser and trainer Andrew Humphrey looks at some of the common problems around securing a job with Tier 2 visa sponsorship.

Some aspects of switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 work visa have become more straightforward recently, especially the logistics of the visa application itself.  I blogged about this recently for UKCISA. However, whether you can apply at all starts with being offered a sponsored skilled job with Tier 2 visa sponsorship. It is this stage which can be time-consuming and tricky.  

This article looks at some of the most common problems with employers when switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2. If you need individual advice about job applications or dealing with employers, speak to the Careers Service at your university or college.

For full details of eligible jobs, minimum salary and skill levels, and eligibility for a Tier 2 application in the UK, see UKCISA's detailed guide to Tier 2 visas

Job info says you need permission to work in the UK

Application asks if you have a work permit, or says you need one

Employer does not have a Tier 2 licence

Employer thinks they must run the Resident Labour Market Test

Employer is a Tier 2 sponsor, but they say they cannot sponsor me 

Employer wants evidence of your results before they will issue a CoS


What other issues have you experienced with Tier 2 employers? Leave a Comment below. Please do not post questions asking for advice about your individual situation: if you have a question about an individual case please contact the International Student Adviser at your institution or UKCISA's students' advice line.


Andrew Humphrey is a freelance student adviser and trainer. He tweets at @andrew_humphrey.


Comments are now closed

26 September 2019
I am wondering if I am switching to Tier 2 visa from Tier 4 student visa, but I am over 26 years old when I apply for the Tier 2 visa. Am I considered as a new entrant or an experienced worker?
26 September 2019
Vivien, this is covered at Working > Working after studies > Tier 2: sponsored skilled work > Wage level
25 October 2019
I am student recently graduated with master , received job with CoS from Employer with who is ready sponsor my employment. However regarding maintenance of Fund requirement of 90 Days period , of £946 ..
.. i have the £ 946 available for last 30 Day.
Secondly, I am staying with Parent in UK who has valid visa residence permit & Bank account . Can i submit My bank details + Bank detail of my parent as a proof of maintenance fund ? Will it considered as fulfilling criterion
26 October 2019
Pushar, see Info & Advice > Working > Working after studies > Tier 2 (Sponsored skilled work) > Maintenance, English language skills
30 October 2019
Hi Andrew,
Can postgraduation diploma students, can convert there tier-4 student visa to tier-2 work visa, if the employer is ready to sponsor within UK?
Many thanks
30 October 2019
This website has a detailed guide to who can apply in the UK, Sairam. See Info & Advice > Working > Working after studies > Tier 2 (sponsored skilled work) > Applying in the UK
Fahad Mahmood
04 November 2019

I have completed my BEng (Hons) in July and my visa for that was expired on 7th August. Since then I took admission in postgraduate course and renewed my Tier 4 status in August 2019. In November 2019, I have been offered a full-time job by a Tier-2 Sponsor and they are willing to offer COS. However, I came to know that I cannot switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 now as my current course is still ongoing. However, I have completed my previous course in the UK but the visa for that course was expired. My question to you is whether I can switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 or not.
05 November 2019
See my reply to Sairam above, Fahad.
06 November 2019
I am a masters student awaiting dissertation results and will be applying for Tier 2 (international student switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2).

My employer did not ask for my results as I am still waiting, but I just came to know that I need to retake one module. Do you think I won’t be granted Tier because of this? Thanks in advance.
06 November 2019
See my reply to Sairam above, Zaineb
06 November 2019
If one converts from a Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa while in the midst of a doctoral programme, are there any specific conditions for being able to continue doctoral studies part time (other than those specified by the school). Also, is a condition of Tier 2 visa sponsored work that it be full time? Thank you
07 November 2019
For the conditions of a Tier 2 visa, see paragraph 245HC of the immigration rules. For specifics of a sponsored job, including hours, speak to the employer.
Ahsana Parammal Vatteri
23 November 2019
Hi Andrew,

Thank you very much for making the immigration rules easier to understand! I am a third year PhD student in a PhD Programme at UCL, UK, under Tier 4 visa. I would like to know about the switching option from Tier 4 to Tier 2, for PhD students after completion of 12 months in the programme. Please clarify if the student is required to secure a job with an employer who is willing to sponsor his/her Tier 2 visa in this case. I am not aware of job opportunities after completion of just the first year of PhD! Or is it the University that act as the employer for the PhD students? My scholarship from UCL is just below the minimum salary required for the switching. Please advise how can I proceed for applying for Tier 2 switching in these circumstances.
25 November 2019
A Tier 2 application can only be made with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a Tier 2 sponsor employer. You may be conflating Tier 2 with the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, which is covered in the "Working after studies" section of this website.
jasmeen sekhon
03 December 2019
Hi, I have recently completed LLM from UK and have my transcripts as well. I wanted to ask while making a switch from Tier 4 to tier 2 what SOC (Standard occupation code) must my employer apply for while requesting a Cos (cerificate of sponsership) ? I'm working as a paralegal and i have been doing my research .. to no avail. I checked the immigration rules j appendix list and for solicitors the code is 2413 (new entrants - £24000 , experienced worker - £32,800) and for other legal professionals not classified anywhere the code is 2419 (new entrants - £35,700 , experienced workers £46,200) . However when you read the rules related to switching from tier 4 to tier 2 the payment threshold is only £20,800. But i still need to find the SOC for that ? can someone tell me where is might be ?thanks in advance xx
04 December 2019
This is a matter for the employer sponsoring your visa, Jasmeen.
19 December 2019
Can I submit my Tier 2 application with only a couple of weeks left on my Tier 4 visa?
19 December 2019
This blog post is about issues with Tier 2 employers, Martha. For immigration advice, contact the international student adviser at your university.