Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 ILR

This section focuses on ILR requirements specific to Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 (General) visa holders. More information and a link to the online application form for Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 (General) visa holders is found on the Home Office website.

Expand All

The Skilled Worker visa route replaced Tier 2 on 1 December 2020 and the six year limit, which previously applied to time spent under a Tier 2 (General) visa was removed. When Tier 2 visa holders go to extend their visa they will apply for a Skilled Worker visa and will now have the option to keep extending instead of applying for ILR. As the visa and NHS fees are substantial, however, those who wish to stay in the UK in the longer term may still choose to apply for ILR.

The Minimum earnings threshold which previously applied to Tier 2 visa holders applying for ILR no longer applies. Instead Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders applying for ILR must show that they salary meets the Skilled Worker 'going rate' threshold for their type of work or the minimum salary, whichever is higher.

For those in Research and Lecturer roles, and roles which appear on the Shortage Occupation List, the minimum salary is £20,480, for all others the minimum salary is £25,600. As salaries dropping below the job specific 'going rate' or minimum salary thresholds would not have been possible for Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders this requirement should not be an issue. If Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders have queries about the salary requirements when applying for ILR they should contact the Staff Immigration Team.

 

Back to top

Absences from the UK

To be eligible for ILR applicants must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period of the five year qualifying period. All absences from the UK are counted, whether for work, family or holidays.

Under a new rule, which took effect from the start of October 2019, periods of research outside the UK is no longer counted against the limit on absences. The new rule only applies to Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders who are sponsored under the Researcher and Lecturer SOC codes. Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders who are preparing to apply for ILR and believe they are close to, or over, the limit on absences should contact SIT to discuss whether they can rely on this rule.

A stricter limit on absences from the UK applies under the 10 year ‘Long residence’ ILR route.

Only full days outside the UK are counted against the 180 day limit. For example, travel on Monday to a conference held outside the UK and returning to the UK on Wednesday would only be counted as one day’s absence from the UK.

Counting absences

The Home Office changed the way absences are counted in January 2018 but this change is not retrospective.

  • Absences under visas issued before 11 January 2018 - The 180 days limit is counted in 12 month blocks counting back from when the ILR application is submitted. This can make it possible in some cases to split longer absences across two successive 12 month periods.
  • Absences under visas issued after 11 January 2018 - The new rule introduced on 11 January 2018 states that the 180 days limit must instead be counted in rolling 12 month periods. This prevents longer absences being split across two successive periods.

More detail on how Home Office caseworkers count absences when assessing ‘continuous residence’ in ILR applications is found in Home Office guidance.

If an applicant thinks they are near or over the 180 day limit, they should contact SIT to discuss further.

Evidence of absences

The Employer’s letter Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders must submit with their ILR application confirms the history of absences from the UK they list in their application. Other documents showing residence are not, therefore, required. Those who can rely on the rule under which periods of research are not counted against the limit on absences will need to have their employers letter amended to highlight this.

 

Back to top

Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders must submit an employer's letter with their ILR application. The letter should be provided by their employing department/ college/ faculty based on a template which SIT provides. The letter confirms:

  • their continuing employment;
  • that their salary will not be reduced;
  • details of their Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 sponsorship; and
  • the history of absences from the UK they entered in their online ILR application.

Those who can rely on the rule under which periods of research are not counted against the limit on absences, mentioned in the continuous residence section above, will need to have their employers letter amended to highlight this.

Skilled Worker/ Tier 2 visa holders must list their SOC code, which can be found on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which they used to apply for their current visa, in both their online ILR application and their employer’s letter. SIT can confirm visa holder’s SOC code if they are unsure.

If the applicant has worked for more than one department/ faculty/ college within the collegiate University, or with another employer/ sponsor, they will also need to submit letters from their previous employers. These letters only need to confirm their dates of employment and absences from the UK during those periods.

 

Back to top

Contact us


Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

 

MPLS / Social Sciences

Rose Boadu Tel: 01865 289921 Email: rosemond.boadu@admin.ox.ac.uk

Solveig Alsaker Tel: 01865 289912 Email: solveig.alsaker@admin.ox.ac.uk

 

 

 

Popular links