Shareholding: the Tier 2 General Visa and Skilled Worker Visa

Following updates to the UK’s immigration policies, Skilled Worker visaholders are now able to overcome previous restrictions related to shareholding under the Tier 2 visa route. This article addresses common concerns often held by clients who frequently consult us, including the likes of those who want to set up their own part-time business or take part in a business venture. 

Can I become a shareholder in my sponsoring company on a Skilled Worker visa?

Prior to 1 December 2020, if you held leave to remain as a Tier 2 (General migrant), you could not hold more than 10% of the shares in your sponsoring company unless you were a High Earner (earning a gross salary of more than £159,600 per year). 

Changes to the immigration rules under the Skilled Worker Rules of December 2020, however, mean that there are no longer any restrictions on the number of shares an applicant can hold in a sponsoring company.

How do I prove that my job or sponsorship letter is genuine?

As a skilled worker visaholder, it is important at the outset to be aware of the ‘genuineness requirements’ laid down in the policy framework of ‘sponsoring a skilled worker’.  Amongst such requirements is that the role must not have been created largely so that the applicant would be able to apply for a visa. If you have a significant shareholding within a business and are,  therefore, able to control or influence the company’s decisions with respect to your role, this may affect the Home Office’s assessment of the genuineness of your role within the company.  Our specialised team of Immigration barristers and solicitors aid you through the complex Immigration rules and restrictions so that you are able to handle your matter without having to worry about anything. 

Can I work in a capacity other than what is mentioned on my Certificate of Sponsorship?

In addition to the job specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”), a Skilled Worker/Tier 2 (General) migrant’s conditions of stay allows them to do additional, extra work if it is:

  • a job in the Appendix Shortage Occupation List or a job in the same occupation code as the job for which the CoS was assigned for; 
  • no more than 20 hours a week;
  • outside the working hours covered by the CoS. 

Before taking on such extra work. It is of the utmost importance to note, however, that you must continue to work in the job for which you were originally sponsored during this time

If you undertake additional employment that does not meet the supplementary employment criteria and you have not been granted permission to allow you to take up such employment, you may be in breach of your conditions of stay. Our team of immigration lawyers and barristers can advise you as to whether you meet such criteria, ensuring that your prospects to stay in the UK are safeguarded. 

Can a Tier 2 general migrant take advantage of shareholding changes to the Skilled Worker Rules?

The change in the Rules does not operate to remove the shareholding restriction from existing Tier 2 General migrants. Tier 2 general visaholders are bound to continue to meet the requirements of the Rules at the time their visa was granted under.

Individuals in other Tier 2 categories (such as the Tier 2 Sportsperson and Tier 2 Minister of Religion as well as Tier 2 General) can apply for and be granted immigration permission as a Skilled Worker if they wish to increase their shareholding above 10%. Our Immigration Team frequently assists all kinds of Tier 2 category visaholders and can accurately assist you as to whether you may be eligible for such status.

Successful Skilled Worker Visa Applications

The key ingredient to success is having the right support. Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in to get you the best result

We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of the merit of your case before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. Our team of immigration lawyers are extremely skilled and hold considerable experience in advising clients on an array of visa applications they may undertake, including UK High Potential Individual visas. Our team looks at the issues from both sides so that a balanced and correct evaluation of the case is achieved. We are also proud of being able to mobilise with speed and act as tenaciously as the client’s needs and case demands. All options available are discussed with the client, consideration is given to personal and financial pressures and future action is only taken after proper consultation and agreement.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA and LEXLAW are just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is integral to success. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and develop a timely strategy for your successful Skilled Worker Visa visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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