The Tier 2 Cooling Off Period
The ‘cooling off’ period means that most skilled workers cannot apply to come to the UK if they have had entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 2 migrant at any time during the 12 months immediately before the date of application.
Does it affect me?
You will not be affected if you previously had entry clearance/leave to remain as a Tier 2 migrant and are returning in another category, or if you previously had entry clearance/leave to remain in another category and are returning under Tier 2.
For example, if you came to the UK as a student, left, and re-applied under Tier 2 within 12 months of your departure, you would not be subject to the cooling off period. Similarly, if you were in the UK for 2 years as a Tier 2 migrant, and returned within 12 months of departure as a spouse, you would not be cooled off.
Are there any exceptions?
- If your previous visa was assigned for a work period of 3 months or less, the cooling off period will not apply to you;
- If you will be a high earner in your new job – currently defined as someone with an annual salary of at least £155,300 – the cooling off period does not apply;
- If you had a Tier 2 visa, but did not use it to come to or stay in the UK at any time during the 12 month period before the new application, the cooling off period will not apply. You will have to provide evidence;
- You will not be subject to the cooling off period if you are applying under the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Long Term Staff sub-category and have, or last had entry clearance or leave to remain as:
- a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Migrant in the Short Term staff, Graduate Trainee or Skills Transfer sub-categories, or
- under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2011.
- Before leaving the UK, take legal advice to see if you can settle: Tier 2 (General) migrants are potentially eligible for settlement, and if you were granted leave to remain in a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer category before 6 April 2011 you may also be able to settle. The advantage of this is that even if you have to leave the UK temporarily, you will retain your Indefinite Leave to Remain as long as you return within two years;
- If you have a partner or spouse, consider whether they could obtain sponsorship for their job in the UK. The cooling off period does not prevent you leaving the UK as a Tier 2 Migrant, and returning as a Tier 2 Dependent (or vice-versa).
For advice and assistance in relation to the cooling off period for Tier 2 migrants, contact our skilled migration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or by completing our online enquiry form.