Switching from Tier 4 student (general) to Tier 2 (General) work permit employment

Under Tier 4 (general) of the point based system adult aged 16 – 17+ are able to come to the UK to study a course at or above National Qualification Framework level 3.  Entry clearance is a requirement.  The UK economy still actively encourages students to come to the UK to study. Students are able to switch into work permit employment, if suitable employment is secured.


The UK still remains one of the top destinations for students wishing to study, followed by Germany. Germany has is not only Europe’s biggest economy. It is also well-known for its high-class education especially in the field of engineering.

Immigration Minister Damian Green   ‘Britain is open for business to the brightest and the best migrants……..”

 So what are the opportunities for securing a work permit employment to those able to find employment after graduating?   What specific skills are required from the applicant?   In what instances does the resident labor test apply, and when is it exempt? We will be examining the answers to these common questions.

Qualifications Required


The job must require the applicant to have either:


       A UK equivalent degree level qualification; or

       An Higher National Level (HND) level occupational qualification that is

       relevant to the post on offer; or

       An HND level qualification which is not relevant to the post on offer, plus

12 months of relevant full-time work experience; or

       At least 3 years relevant experience at NVQ level 3 or above.



Switching – Post Study work visa & IGS

 Applicants who are in the UK on a Tier1 post study visa or International Graduate Scheme (IGS) will also be able to switch into this category.  

Securing offer of employment

Applicants will first have to secure employment offer in their respective fields of discipline before they can apply.

Resident labor Market Test

The test requires that the employer must advertise  in  national form of media  to enable a resident worker to apply. Eg Job centre plus or a publication that is available throughout the UK.  This test does not need to be done if the applicant is applying following a post study visa or under the International Graduate Scheme (IGS).   The test is also not required where the skill is listed on the shortage occupation list.   The Tier 2 (General) category is also the route for applicants outside the UK who have been offered a skilled job route.


 Applicants must score a minimum of:

 50 points for Attributes, which includes having a sponsor and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (Appendix A of the Immigration Rules); and



Assigned Certificate of Sponsorship having met the requirements of:

• A resident labor market test exemption; or

• A resident labor market test by the sponsor; or

• An extension – Continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor.


Appropriate salary  £20,300 or above



10 points for English language skills (except for certain Intra-Company Transfers) (Appendix B of the Immigration Rules); and

10 points for Maintenance (funds) (Appendix C of the Immigration Rules).

The Certificate of Sponsorship must confirm that the job is at NQF level 6 (or the equivalent in Scotland) as stated in the codes of practice, or the job is a creative sector occupation skilled to NQF level 4 as listed in the Tier 2 & 5 Sponsor Guidance. This does not mean that the applicant must be educated to that level; it means that the job is at that level.

The Certificate of Sponsorship must also confirm that the applicants will be paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job.

 Leave granted up to 3 years + extension

 Successful Tier 2 (General) applications will be granted leave up to 3 years with the possibility of extending for a further 3 years.  They will not be able to extend beyond 6 years.  Applicants will also not be able to re-apply to return to the UK under Tier 2 until 12 months after their last leave under Tier 2 expired or they can show they have been outside the UK for 12 months, whichever is sooner, unless they will be paid a gross annual salary of £152,100 or more.


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