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Careers Service

Advice on finding Tier 2 employers and jobs

Tier 2 overview and details

Target sponsoring employers

A requirement of the Tier 2 visa is that individuals have a certificate of sponsorship issued by an employer on the Register of Sponsors.

There are currently over 29,000 employers on the Register of Sponsors in the UK. This listing is available on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website and may help you to target your applications.

In addition to employer sponsorship, you also need to understand salary levels for your chosen job.

Jobs that meet the salary requirements

Tier 2 visa requires a minimum salary of £20,800 for the role, or the 'new entrant' salary given in the Codes of Practice for NVQ level 6, whichever salary is higher. However, each role has its own minimum salary therefore you must check the Codes of Practice for the appropriate salary for your chosen career.

Salaries will vary depending on the type of job and sector. You can research what the typical graduate starting salaries are for jobs you are interested in on our which career pages.

How should I use the Codes of Pratice to carefully consider whether the role I am looking for/applying for is qualified enough for a Tier 2 visa?

  1. Compare the job description or other information you have about the role against the SOC code which seems most relevant. Look for the tasks, not just the job title. The relevant tables to check are Table 1: Occupation skilled to PhD level and Table 2: Occupations skilled to Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 6 and above. One exception to this is if you have an offer of a job that is on the list of shortage occupations. In this case, the minimum skill level is NQF level 4 however the jobs on this list are very specific so will only apply in a rare number of cases.
  2. If it is qualified enough then ensure the salary will be at or above the specified level. For occupations in Table 2 - Occupations skilled to Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 6 and above, check the 'New Entrant' salary. The role you are looking for or applying for must be paid at least £20,800, however, you may be in an occupation where the minimum wage is higher than this, therefore the higher figure is the one you need to look at. Check the salary against the working hours the Home Office has used for the salary. Are you expected to work 37 or 40 hours a week? Does the salary match these hours when compared to the Home Office guidelines? The lowest wage that any new applicant applying for Tier 2 (General) can be paid is £20,800.
  3. Some of the most popular SOC codes are listed below - however, this does not mean that graduate level salaries will meet the home office requirements for the role in all these occupations. For some occupations, for example Marketing, the new entrant salary as specified on Appendix J - Table is much higher as past experience is required.
    • 1132 Marketing and sales directors
    • 1135 Human resource managers and directors
    • 2121 Civil engineers
    • 2133 IT specialist managers
    • 2421 Chartered and certified accountants
    • 2423 Management consultants and business analysts
    • 2424 Business and financial project management professionals
    • 2429 Business, research and administrative professionals not elsewhere classified
    • 3534 Finance and investment analysts and advisers

For full details on the above steps, please visit the UKCISA webpages.

If you are unsure whether the job you are applying for or have been offered meets the Tier 2 criteria on the Home Office website, please check with us

Apply early

Graduate employers typically recruit a year in advance in the UK, with recruitment starting from the summer onwards for a start date of September in the following year.

You should aim to begin applying for graduate jobs at the start of your final year or masters to maximise your chances of success. Some graduate employers may hire all year round, others have fixed application deadlines which can be as early as the Autumn. Popular graduate training schemes can close early.

Sectors most likely to offer sponsorship

  • Information and communications
  • Health and social work
  • Professional, scientific and technical
  • Education
  • Financial and insurance

According to statistics from the Home Office (UKCISA website)