skip to content

Tier 2 (General)

If you have received a job offer from the University of Cambridge, full details of the Tier 2 CoS and visa process can be found on the University’s HR Immigration webpages.

Tier 2 is the main immigration route for working in the UK and is for skilled workers with a job offer. Visa sponsorship is required by an employer and the visa is linked to a specific job. There are different categories within Tier 2 and the most relevant for international graduates is Tier 2 (General).

Switching from Tier 4



The visa can be granted for up to 5 years and will depend on the length of appointment and whether the job meets the 'new entrant' or 'experienced worker' salary rate.

Visa application

Requires you to obtain 70 points as below:

50 points for Attributes:

30 points for Switching from Tier 4 (General)

You can switch into Tier 2 from Tier 4 if you have completed your degree OR are applying no more than 3 months before the expected completion date of your degree OR you have completed a minimum 12 months of study in the UK towards a UK PhD during your current period of leave.

You will be required to provide evidence of this with your visa application. This would either be your degree certicate, official academic transcript or a letter on official headed paper confirmining your name, the course title and award, the course duration and either the date you completed the course (having say all exams and presetned all academic papers) or the date you are expected to complete the course (when all exams will have been taken and all academic papers submitted) if applying within 3 months prior to the end date. PhD students switching into Tier 2 on the basis of completing 12 months study on a PhD course will require a letter confirming this. 

20 points for minimum level salary - meeting the minimum salary level for specific occupation

10 points for English Language - fulfilled using Cambridge degree

10 points for Maintenance –  £945 minimum held for a consecutive 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before you make your application OR certification from sponsor on CoS that they will provide this sum for you should you require it. Please discuss this with the recruiting department / institution.

Please note: If you have been financially sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency within the last 12 months covering fees and living costs you will need a letter from your scholarship provider stating that they give their unconditional consent to you remaining in the UK.

If you have received your final results, you can commence permanent full-time employment in the role for which the CoS has been assigned while the visa application is being processed.

Advantages to switching in the UK from Tier 4

If you are switching from a valid Tier 4 visa within the UK, which includes the Doctorate Extension Scheme, the following concessions currently apply:

  • Employers are exempt from having to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), which requires a job to be advertised in a particular way and for sponsors to demonstrate that there are no suitable settled workers to fill the post.
  • The issuing of the CoS is not subject to the national annual limit and so does not require prior approval from UK Visas and Immigration. Therefore, you are likely to have the CoS issued to you within a shorter timeframe.
  • Employers are exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge.

Applying from outside the UK

If you apply for Tier 2 from outside the UK, there are additional requirements to be sponsored:

  • The issuing of the CoS is subject to a national annual limit and requires prior approval from UK Visas and Immigration. This adds an additional timeframe to the issuing of the CoS. If you are outside the UK, the only exception is if the salary will be £159,600 or more.
  • Employers must carry out the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), which requires a job to be advertised in a particular way and for sponsor to demonstrate that there are no suitable settled workers to fill the post. Exceptions to this are:
    • If the job is on the shortage occupation list OR
    • The salary will be £159,600 or more OR
    • The job is for a supernumerary research position (this usually only applies to individuals who are named on a grant or Fellowship).
  • Employers must pay the Immigration Skills Charge, unless the job is at PhD-level as outlined in the Immigration Rules Appendix J: codes of practice for skilled work

Further sources of information

The UK Visas and Immigration website provides an overview of Tier 2, including application costs, in addition to the full policy guidance, which you are advised to read before making an application.