Many Tier 2 migrants who began work in the UK under sponsorship this year have been affected by unemployment due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With a number of industries making cuts, many sponsored workers have faced redundancy and a loss of the sponsorship which is essential to their right to remain in the UK. Many are now unsure of their options going forward. In order to stay in the UK, Tier 2 migrants must be sponsored, but are facing unprecedented challenge of finding a new role whilst the pandemic is ongoing.
In this article, we will discuss the options for Tier 2 migrants who have found themselves in this situation, and outline the steps that individuals can take to remain in the UK.
What is curtailment?
The rules state that “if a Tier 2 migrant fails to work with their sponsor, [the Home Office] must curtail their leave.” This means that if a Tier 2 migrant stops working, their visa can be cut short, requiring them to leave the UK earlier than the original visa allowed. If you have lost your job as a sponsored migrant, your employer will need to notify the Home Office of this change to your employment and sponsorship status. You will then receive a letter by post or email which gives you 60 days from the date that the letter was sent (not from the date that your employment ended) to either leave the UK, or switch to a different visa category to remain in the UK.
Although 60 days is the official period of time, individuals will often have more time in the UK depending on the length of time taken for the relevant paperwork to be processed. This means that if you are looking to remain in the UK with a new sponsorship opportunity or under a new visa, you will have the necessary time to make new arrangements.
The curtailment process states that the individual’s visa must be cut short unless further leave has been granted. At Westkin Associates, we can help you to switch to a different visa, based on your circumstances, which would allow you to remain in the UK. Below are some of the options which would be viable.
1. Remain on Tier 2 visa: finding a new job and new sponsorship
If you want to remain on a Tier 2 migrant visa, you will need to find a new job and sponsorship in order to do so. This option will be easier for some individuals than others, depending on the industry which you’re working in and how that industry has been affected by the pandemic.
For experienced workers working in shortage occupation roles finding a new job and sponsorship opportunity may be the best option. However, for lower skilled, younger workers who may be working lower paid jobs, finding a new role with sponsorship in the current climate may be more of a challenge. For those who want to remain on a Tier 2 visa, our lawyers can advise on your options and how to take advantage of new sponsorship opportunities.
2. Switch to a student visa: take up university studies
For some individuals, switching from Tier 2 to a student visa and taking up a new university course could be a viable option to remain in the UK. You can apply for a general student visa (tier 4) if you are over 16 and you have been offered a place on a course. Individuals can apply for a student visa up to 3 months before starting a new course, and are permitted to work in the UK alongside their studies.
Individuals can apply for this visa from within the UK, and can extend if necessary. Our lawyers can speak to you about the next steps with moving forward for an application for a student visa to remain in the UK.
3. Switch to a partner visa: prove your relationship is genuine
If you are the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner of a UK or EEA citizen, you may be able to consider applying for a partner visa. The partner visa is available for non-UK citizens who are over the age of 18. If you are granted a partner visa, you will have the right to live and work in the UK with the same rights as a UK citizen.
To qualify, you will need to be able to prove that your relationship is genuine and meet specific objective requirements. Our lawyers can guide you through the process of meeting the financial and relationship requirements if you are interested in switching from your Tier 2 visa to a partner visa.
These aren’t the only options for finding a new visa arrangement which will allow you to continue living in the UK after losing sponsorship. Our expert lawyers are available to offer you advice based on your situation.
If you’re worried about your Tier 2 visa status after loss of sponsorship, get in touch.
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