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Applying from outside the UK

The cooling-off period

Please note that where an individual has previously been sponsored under Tier 2 by any employer in the UK, and they have left the UK and their visa lapsed or expired, they must wait 12 months before they can apply to re-enter the UK under any Tier 2 category. This is called the ‘Tier 2 cooling off period’. Failure to apply this rule will result in automatic refusal of their visa with no refund.

Where the individual left the UK before their Tier 2 visa expired, the 12 month cooling off period can start earlier than the date their visa expired but only if they can provide evidence of having not been in the UK for a period of 12 months before the date of their new Tier 2 visa application.

  • The cooling off period does not apply to individuals who are already in the UK under Tier 2 and are applying for an extension of their existing leave or making a change of employment application.
  • It does apply where they are overseas and their previous grant of Tier 2 leave has expired or lapsed, or they are in the UK and have switched into a different immigration category.

Applying from inside the UK

'Switching' applications

Where an individual is already inside the UK and wishes to work for the University through the Tier 2 visa route, they can do so by making a 'switching' application, but only if they currently hold an eligible visa type:

Swithing from a Tier 4 visa - further guidance

There are a number of conditions that govern the ability of Tier 4 students to switch to Tier 2:

  • Tier 4 students from privately and publicly-funded further education colleges and schools are not permitted to switch to Tier 2.
  • Tier 4 Higher Education students can switch to Tier 2, but they must have either:
    • Been awarded their degree; or
    • Have completed a minimum 12 months of study in the UK towards a UK PhD.
  • Tier 4 students who have been awarded their degree and who have submitted their Tier 2 visa application can commence full-time permanent employment in the role for which the CoS has been assigned whilst their visa application is pending. The Compliance Team will require evidence that both conditions have been met before this can be authorised. Please contact the Compliance Team for further guidance.

Change of employment applications

Where an individual who currently holds a Tier 2 visa wishes to change jobs from the job stated on their CoS, they may or may not be required to apply for a new Tier 2 visa. Please see the guidance below for the different scenarios you may encounter.

Current employees

  • Where any of our Tier 2 sponsored employees move to another job within the University, they are permitted to do so without obtaining a new Tier 2 visa and without having to meet the Resident Labour Market Test, but only if the new job is in the same SOC Code as their existing job;
  • Any changes to job title, work location and salary must be reported to the Compliance Team before they occur;
  • Where a current employee sponsored by the University of Cambridge thorugh Tier 2 moves to another job within the University and the job is in a different SOC Code, they must apply for a new Tier 2 visa. The individual must have obtained the new visa and a copy must have been taken by the department/institution before the new employment in the new role can start. The individual can continue working in their previous role up until the start date of the new job, as stated on their new CoS, provided their current Tier 2 visa has not expired.

Prospective employees holding Tier 2 with another employer

  • Where an individual who already holds a Tier 2 (General) visa with a different employer wishes to work at the University of Cambridge, the individual must be issued a new Certificate of Sponsorship by the University, and apply for a new Tier 2 visa;
  • You must check if you need to meet the Resident Labour Market Test (unless an exemption applies);
  • The individual must have obtained the new visa and a copy must have been taken by the department/institution before the new employment in the new role can start. The individual can continue working in their previous role up until the start date of the new job, as stated on their new CoS, provided their current Tier 2 visa has not expired.