UK Immigration Tier 2 Cooling-Off Period

Recently, the vast majority of our enquiries involve the regulations around the Tier 2 work visa cooling-off period on some level. The rules about the cooling-off period have been around for quite some time. However, due to its complex nature, not many people truly understand the rules. If you wish to understand more about this rule, you have come to the right place. If you need further guidance or have any doubts as to whether these rules apply to you, you should contact our experienced immigration solicitors at your earliest convenience.

What is the Tier 2 Cooling-off period?

The cooling-off period is a 12-month period where you may not re-apply for Entry Clearance as a Tier 2 migrant, if you were last granted leave to stay in the UK as a Tier 2 migrant. There are different rules that apply to the different categories under the Tier 2 route.

This cooling-off period is calculated by the date of expiry on your last grant of leave. Alternatively, it may be calculated from the day you last left the UK, whichever is sooner, provided that you can adequately evidence your departure.

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Cooling-off Period

There are currently 4 sub–categories under the Tier 2 (ICT) route and each have a maximum period of leave granted, they are listed as follows:

  • Long-term staff – maximum stay of 5 or 9 years depending on whether you earn less or more than £155,300 per annum;
  • Short-term staff – maximum stay of 12 months;
  • Graduate trainee – maximum stay of 12 months;
  • Skills transfer – maximum stay of 6 months.

For each of the category above, you must leave the UK after your maximum period of stay. Further, you may not re-apply to return to the UK under an Intra-Company Transfer category nor the Tier 2 (General) category.

However, the cooling-off period may not apply to you, if:

  • You are applying under the Long-term Staff sub-category; or
  • You will be paid an annual gross salary of £155,300 or higher; or
  • Your previous grant of leave, as stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship, was for 3 months or less.

Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Sportsperson), and Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Cooling-off period

Tier 2 (General) visas are aimed at highly skilled migrants who have been offered a long term job in the UK. The maximum grant of leave under the Tier 2 (General) category is 5 years. At this point, you must either apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (i.e. Settlement) or leave the UK or perhaps explore other visa categories. In any case, the maximum stay in the UK under the Tier 2 (General) route in total is 6 years.

Rules on the cooling-off period that apply to Tier 2 (General) also apply to Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) categories. The cooling-off period will apply to you if you have had a grant of leave as a Tier 2 migrant at any time during the 12 months immediately before your date of application.

This should not affect any changes of employment applications or switches to another visa category or extensions of Tier 2 visas, provided that you are eligible and satisfy applicable requirements.  If you have any doubts about whether the cooling-off period applies to you, you should contact our experienced solicitors as soon as possible.

Under the aforementioned categories, the cooling-off period may not apply to you, if:

  • You had a Tier 2 grant of leave but you did not use it to enter or stay in the UK at any time during the 12 months immediately before your date of application, provided that you can adequately evidence this; or
  • Your previous grant of leave, as stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship, was for 3 months or less; or
  • You will be paid an annual gross salary of £155,300 or higher.

Successful Tier 2 Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain Applications

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your applications before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration or visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

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.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. 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 arrange your legal consultation.

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

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