This guidance sets out the Tier 2 Visa route which we suggest might be an alternative to the Tier 5 MTI Visa route, if the requirements are met.

UKVI Guidance states that the ‘Tier 2 is the route which enables UK employers to employ nationals from outside the resident workforce to fill particular jobs which cannot be filled by settled workers. A skilled worker in any Tier 2 category must not displace a suitable settled worker’.

This category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations.  A Tier 2 Visa is also subject to a resident labour market test.
The resident labour market test is there to protect the settled workforce and means that employers must advertise the job they want to recruit for, to give settled workers a chance to apply. They can only recruit a migrant if:

  • They have completed a resident labour market test in accordance with UKVI guidance and can show that no suitable settled worker is available to fill the job or
  • The job is exempt from the resident labour market test.

Exemptions from the resident labour market test

Where a resident labour market test is not required before a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) under Tier 2 (General) can be assigned:

  • Continuing to work in the same occupation – If the migrant is already working and they need to extend their leave in the same immigration category to continue working in the same occupation, the employer does not need to carry out a resident labour market test. If they are changing (‘switching’) immigration categories and are not covered by another exemption, the post must be advertised
  • Shortage occupations – A resident labour market test is not a requirement to fill a job in a shortage occupation in Appendix K of the Immigration Rules. Shortage occupations are ones where there are not enough settled workers to fill available jobs in particular sectors. The current shortage occupation lists are published on the GOV.UK website

The shortage occupation list in Appendix K of the Immigration Rules on GOV.UK is reviewed regularly. The document includes a separate list of shortage occupations for Scotland. If a vacancy is being filled which is listed only on the shortage occupation list for Scotland, the vacancy must be in Scotland.

A CoS can only be assigned for a job on the shortage occupation list if the migrant will work for a minimum of 30 hours per week.

A Certificate of Sponsorship will be assigned having met the requirements of:

  • A resident labour market test exemption
  • A resident labour market test by the sponsor
  • An extension – continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsorThe UKVI website has an overview and specific requirements of a Tier 2 Visa.