Minister of Religion Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 Minister of Religion

There are five categories of Skilled Worker applicants who will require a sponsorship certificate from their sponsors in order to make a visa applications in line with the certificate:-

Skilled Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (General)

Minister of Religion Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Minister of Religion)

Sportsperson Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Sportsperson)

Intra-Company Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)

Health and Care Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Health and Care Visa)

 

You can apply for leave to enter or remain in this category if you have been offered employment or a role within your faith community in the UK as: a minister of religion; a missionary or a member of a religious order.

Minister of Religion Visa

The applicants are required to score at least 70 points in total to successfully apply for the required visa and they can claim the following points under the heads of Attributes, English Language and Maintenance:-

The Home Office will now check that applicants are genuine and that they intend to meet the conditions of the leave they apply for.

I Attributes

Initial Applications

The applicant has to score 50 points under this section by having a valid certificate of sponsorship from his or her sponsor. The certificate can only be granted once the Resident Labour Market Test requirements have been met.

The applicant must provide an official letter from the sponsor with the application, which must give an outline of the duties, details of remuneration, and an explanation of how the role passes the resident labour market test.

Extension Applications

The applicant has to score 50 points under this section by having a valid certificate of sponsorship from his or her sponsor, except that there is no Resident Labour Market Test requirement if the applicant merely wishes to continue in the same role with the same sponsor.

II English Language

For Minister of Religion applicants, it is a requirement to provide evidence that they speak, communicate and understand English language to a certain level. This can be done in three ways:

  • By being a national of one of the majority English speaking countries, i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc.
  • By having a UK Bachelors degree level equivalent qualification from a majority English speaking country or that was taught in English (verified by UK NARIC as equivalent) – please note Canada is not included in this respect
  • By having passed an approved English Language Test to the B2 CEFR standard

This will score 10 points for the applicant.

The following persons would also automatically score 10 points under this section:

  • Applicants  who were last granted leave as a Tier 2 Minister of Religion under the old immigration rules
  • Those who were last granted leave under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).

III Maintenance

Applicants will need to score 10 points under this section. This can be possible in the following ways:

  1. Providing  the last 3 months’ bank statements prior to the date of application (with a closing balance dated not more than one month before the date of application) showing a balance of at least £945 at all times; or
  2. The employer (sponsor) can certify that they will provide maintenance and accommodation during the first month of his employment in the UK. Please note that only A rated sponsors are be able to certify maintenance for prospective workers.

Exemptions: The following persons having leave to remain or leave to enter would automatically qualify for 10 points:

  • Tier 2 Migrant issued under the old immigration rules
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned airline
  • Representative of an overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organization.

Maintenance for Dependants: The applicant will require showing an extra £630 for each of his dependants in addition to the £945 that he requires for himself or herself.

The applicant’s sponsor will also be able to certify the dependants of the prospective employee for maintenance purposes.

Duration of the Minister of Religion Visa

  • Successful applicants for entry clearance would be given a visa for 3 years and 1 month or for a period equal to the length of the period of engagement plus 1 month,  whichever is the shorter
  • Those who are already on a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) issued under the old immigration rules visa would be given an extension of stay for 2 years or for a period equal to the length of the period of engagement plus 14 days,  whichever is the shorter (if the application is not for a change of employment)
  • If the application is for a change of employment, those who are already on a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa issued under the old immigration rules would be given a visa for 3 years or for a period equal to the length of the period of engagement plus 14 days,  whichever is the shorter
  • Those who are applying for extensions under the transitional measures would be able to get the balance of the duration to enable them complete 5 years or the duration stated on the sponsorship certificate whichever is less (unless that period is less than 2 years in which case they would be granted a further 2 years’ stay or a period equal to the length of the period of engagement plus 14 days,  whichever is the shorter)

Work Allowed

Applicants having leave to remain or leave to enter under the Minister of Religion Visa category would be allowed to take supplementary employment that must meet the following criteria:

  • is outside of their normal working hours;
  • is no more than 20 hours per week;
  • is within the same profession at the same professional level as the work for which the certificate of sponsorship was issued.

In addition to the supplementary employment, applicants are also allowed to take unpaid voluntary employment.

What is not allowed?

Minister of Religion Visa workers are not allowed to enter self-employment, establish a business or join another business as a director or partner without obtaining further permission from the Home Office. They are also not allowed to hold more than 10% shares in the company they are working for.  Please note that this restriction is not placed on those workers who are working for a Partnership or Sole Proprietor business.

Switching Rules

The following persons are able to switch into one of the above categories of the Worker Visa, provided they fulfil all the requirements:

  • Tier 1 Migrant
  • Tier 2 Migrant issued under the old immigration rules
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson, Minister of religion) visa issued under the old immigration rules
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer: established staff) visa and you’re applying to change sponsor issued under the old immigration rules
  • Health and Care Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Health and Care Visa)
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and sporting) for a job as a professional footballer and you meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements, issued under the old immigration rules
  • Innovator
  • Start-up
  • A Dependent partner of someone with a Student visa
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned Airline
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization

Switch from a Student Visa

In order to be able to switch from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker Visa you must have obtained one of the qualifications below:

  • A UK bachelor’s degree
  • A UK master’s degree
  • A postgraduate certificate in education
  • A professional graduate diploma of education

The other student visa categories are:

  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife
  • Person writing up a Thesis
  • Post graduate doctor or dentist
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer

Administrative Review (Entry clearance applications only)

If the entry clearance application is refused by the ECO in the British Diplomatic post, the applicant will be given a right to make a request for a review of the decision that must be exercised within 28 days of the date of service of the decision. The applicant will only be able to rely on the information/documents already submitted with the application and will not be allowed to provide or submit any fresh evidence with the review request.

It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help while making grounds for making review request.

Appeals (In country Applications only)

Applicants whose Minister of Religion Visa extension applications are refused will be given full rights of appeal, provided they are not left with any leave to remain in the UK at the time of the decision. In these appeals, applicants are no longer allowed to make use of fresh evidence in order to challenge the decision of the Home Office (unless appealing on human rights, asylum or race discrimination grounds) and can rely only on the evidence submitted with the application. The applicant will have 10 working days from the date of service of decision to lodge an appeal against that decision.

It is strongly advised to seek professional assistance in lodging an appeal against any decision of Home Office.

Settlement Prospects

Minister of Religion Visa workers can apply for permanent settlement in the UK on completion of a total of five years in the following categories, most recently having Tier 2 leave to remain (issued under the old immigration rules):

  1. Tier 1
  2. Tier 2 Migrant issued under the old immigration rules
  3. Sportsperson Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Sportsperson)
  4. Health and Care Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Health and Care Visa)
  5. Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization

Dependants would also be allowed to apply for settlement with the main applicant if they had last been granted leave as a dependant of the main applicant (in respect of partners, provided they have lived with the main applicant in the UK for at least two years).

What services can we offer?

  • We can advise on the procedure of making the Minister of Religion Visa application in line with the sponsorship certificate
  • We can assess the job and the applicant`s details and advise on the likelihood of the applicant being sponsored under the Minister of Religion Visa
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making their leave to remain/entry clearance applications in line with the certificate of sponsorship
  • We can advise and represent our clients’ dependants to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
  • We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant`s application is refused for some reason
  • We can advise in making applications for indefinite leave to remain for those who have already completed the five years’ qualifying period in the UK

Whatever the case, we are here to assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of their immigration matters.

 

 

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