Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa Guidance

The Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) category is for religious workers who have been offered employment within religious organisations in the UK. The route enables workers who will be undertaking mainly pastoral work to travel to / remain in the UK. The migrant does not necessarily need to be a qualified minister as missionaries and members of religious orders are also able to benefit from the category.


Who can apply?

The route is for qualified ministers, missionaries and members of religious orders. The worker must be relocating to the UK in order to undertake mainly pastoral / preaching work, although the individual can also undertake some non-pastoral work. Preaching / pastoral work includes, but is not limited to, leading worship, leading at marriages and funerals and offering counselling and welfare support to members of the organisation.

What are the eligibility requirements?

The individual must receive an offer of employment from a religious organisation that holds a sponsor licence. As long as the employment satisfies strict conditions contained in the Immigration Rules, the religious organisation will need to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the individual. It is important to note that the CoS should not be assigned until a Resident Labour Market Test has been completed, unless an exemption applies. Conducting a Resident Labour Market Test will involve advertising the role to the local labour market for a period of 28 days in order to demonstrate that there are no suitable settled workers available to take the role. Religious organisations are, however, frequently able to benefit from an exemption to this test.

The individual must demonstrate an ability to communicate in English to Level B2 CEFR. They must also demonstrate access to sufficient funds to cover their (and their family’s) living expenses, unless their maintenance has been certified by their employer.

The individual must be of good character and will need to demonstrate that the general grounds for refusal don’t apply to them (the general grounds for refusal can result in an application being refused if, for example, the Applicant has a criminal conviction, has relied on false documents/information, or has deceived the Home Office). The individual must also satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer that they genuinely intend to undertake the proposed role in the UK; that they are capable of undertaking the role; and that they do not propose to undertake employment except as a religious worker.

From 10 January 2019, a change to the Immigration Rules will mean that individuals who have previously spent time in the UK as a Tier 5 (Religious Worker) or Tier 5 (Charity Worker) will not be able to receive entry clearance as a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) unless the individual has been outside of the UK for at least 12 months.

Extending your visa

Applicants present in the UK as Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) migrants are usually able to extend their leave to remain up to a maximum period of 6 years. The route leads to settlement, usually after spending a continuous and lawful period of 5 years inside the UK.

Documents you must provide

Documents to confirm your identity should accompany the application, together with specified evidence that the financial and English language requirements can be satisfied. The individual will need to provide the Home Office / Entry Clearance Officer with their CoS reference number, and Latitude Law would also advise that documents relating to past experience / relevant education accompany an application in order to demonstrate that the individual is able to undertake the proposed role. In certain circumstances, an individual may need to provide evidence that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that such tuberculosis is not present.

How we can help…

Latitude Law can assist individuals with their Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) applications by providing comprehensive advice about the requirements, and we can also prepare the entire application which will be accompanied by detailed representations explaining how relevant Immigration Rules are met. Latitude Law can also assist religious organisations with securing a sponsor licence to enable them to sponsor religious workers under the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) category and can assist sponsors with any queries they have with existing / proposed workers. Religious organisations who hold a sponsor licence are subject to various duties and it is important that they are fully aware of the requirements that apply to individuals under the Minister of Religion category and their duties as a sponsor.

Why choose us?

Latitude Law has extensive experience of assisting religious workers and organisations throughout the UK in relation to the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Tier 5 (Religious Worker) queries, and are able to assist with applications by individuals and religious organisations.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts about a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) query, call 0161 234 6800 (Manchester and London) or 0151 305 9600 (Liverpool).

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 13/12/2018