Tier 2 Overview

Tier 2 is a visa route for skilled non EU/EEA nationals who wish to work and live in the UK.
The visa allows the individual to undertake a particular skilled role for the University and colleges. They can be accompanied by their family members (partner and children under 18) and the route can lead to settlement (after 5 years) which enables them to stay permanently in the UK. 
A Tier 2 (General) visa is granted by the Home Office when:
  • a sponsorship has been provided by the University via its Home Office A-rated, Premium Licence;
  • departments and colleges submit a request for sponsorship to the Staff Immigration Team by completing a Tier 2 CoS Application Form;
  • a visa application is submitted by the individual which meets the Home Office eligibility requirements
Sponsorship is provided in line with the duration of the appointment. The University can provide a Tier 2 sponsorship up to 5 years. The maximum amount of time that can be spent on a Tier 2 (General) visa is 6 years. 

Below is an overview of the various requirements connected to a Tier 2 sponsorship: 

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The role must be considered by the Home Office to be skilled to at least degree level. The Home Office maintains a list of occupations for which sponsorship can be provided, entitled "Codes of Practice". The main duties detailed on the job description for the role is compared to these Codes to identify the correct occupation.


The following roles are the most commonly sponsored occupations:

  • Researchers - Academics who are undertaking independent research. This includes positions like 'Postdoctoral Researchers', 'Senior Research Associates' and 'Research Assistants' (depending on their level of autonomy). Researchers may also undertake some teaching as long as this is mentioned in their job description and the Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Higher Education Teaching – Teaching staff at undergraduate level or above, who may also undertake research activities

Additionally, roles outside of research and teaching may include, but are not limited to:

  • Actuaries, economists and statisticians;
  • IT Specialists;
  • Public Relations Professionals;
  • Senior professionals of educational establishments;
  • Senior Research Managers

The following points must be met to satisfy the employment requirements for a Tier 2 sponsorship:

  • The sponsored individual must hold a contract of employment with a University of Oxford department or an Oxford college and be paid via payroll.
  • The salary must be paid into the individual's own personal bank account. Payments in cash are not permitted.
  • Sponsorship is provided in line with the employment duration, as stated on the contract of employment. However, the sponsorship period for a Tier 2 visa cannot exceed 5 years in duration.


There are two salary thresholds that must be met: 

1. the absolute minimum salary threshold

2. the threshold specific to each occupation. 


1. Absolute minimum salary threshold

The absolute minimum threshold is split into the following two categories:

New Entrant - £20,800 per year

  •  graduate switching from a Tier 4 (Student) or Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension) visa into Tier 2; or
  •  anyone aged under 26 on the date they submit their visa application

Sponsorship under the new entrant salary threshold can be provided for a maximum period of 3 years and 1 month. 


Experienced Worker - £30,000 per year

  • anyone not falling under the criteria for new entrant; or
  • if sponsorship is being provided initially for longer than 3 years; or
  • anyone who is extending their total stay in Tier 2 beyond 3 years and 1 month


2. Occupation Threshold

This will be found on the Home Office Codes of Practice, and provides a minimum salary threshold for both 'New Entrants' and 'Experienced workers'. 



Part-Time Appointments

It can be more difficult for sponsorship to be provided for part-time roles.  The part-time salary must be at or above the absolute minimum salary of £20,800 for 'New Entrant' or £30,000 for 'Experienced Workers' with the full time equivalent salary needing to meet the occupation threshold.



Guaranteed allowances, for example for accommodation, as long as they are detailed in the contract of employment and will be paid for the duration of the sponsorship, will be included in the salary calculation.

Adhoc allowances, or those relating to the individual performing the duties of their role (for example a book, research, entertainment or relocation allowance) cannot be included in the salary calculation and are not disclosed to the Home Office.

Advertising must be in line with the Home Office’s Resident Labour Market Test, subject to certain exemptions (for example for students studying on a Tier 4 student visa).


The Resident Labour Market Test includes advertising a role for a period of 28 calendar days, on two suitable media, ensuring key information about the role is included. 

Meeting the advertising requirements is an essential part of the sponsorship requirements. For the Home Office it ensures anyone from the Resident Labour Market has the opportunity to apply and be considered for the role. The role must be a genuine vacancy, with all applicants considered against the selection criteria detailed in the advert and job description.


For information on how to advertise in a way that satisfies the Resident labour market test (RLMT) requirement, please see our Advertising & Selection page

Please do contact a Staff Immigration Advisor if you are unsure about a role meeting the sponsorship requirements. They can assess the job description and advert to confirm whether it is sponsorable for a Tier 2 visa and meets the RLMT requirements.

Once sponsorship is provided by the Staff Immigration Team in the form of a Certificate of Sponsorship, the individual submits a visa application to the Home Office for themselves and any dependants (partner, children under the age of 18) to be granted the Tier 2 (General) visa.

The Request a CoS & Prepare visa application page provides further details on the visa requirements to be met, which can include English language, tuberculosis screening, maintenance and criminal record checks.

Contact us

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

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

James Galloway Tel: 01865 289927 Email: james.galloway@admin.ox.ac.uk


MPLS / Social Sciences

Nina Song Tel: 01865 289926 Email: nina.song@admin.ox.ac.uk

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




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