Tier 2 General - pupillage (leading to practise in England and Wales) and tenancy

Immigration support for non EEA nationals who have secured funded pupillage and wish to practise as barristers after pupillage and non-EEA national barristers that have secured tenancy.
Tier 2 (General) is for people coming to the UK with a skilled job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. An individual entering under this category is required to have a Tier 2 sponsor. For self employed barristers, either their chambers or the Bar Council can act as their sponsor.

The Bar Council is accredited as a Tier 2 (General) Sponsor by the UK Visas and Immigration which means it is able to produce certificates of sponsorship (COS) for suitably qualified non-EEA national barristers in pupillage and tenancy positions. The Bar Council charges a fee for this service which varies according to the duration of the sponsorship period. Please see the payment instructions for more details.
The COS can be used by the individual to apply to the UK Visas and Immigration for their Tier 2 entry clearance for the duration of their pupillage or in the case of tenancy up to a maximum of 5 years. With either, there is the possiblity of extension, proivided the total period does not exceed 6 years.  

If you have any queries please contact Immigration or call 0207 611 1329.

Click on the tabs below for more information on applicant criteria for sponsorship by the Bar Council under Tier 2 General and details of how to apply.

Please note:   The Immigration Skills Charge was introduced on 6 April 2017

Chambers who wish to sponsor Non-EEA pupils or tenants are required to pay this fee. The skills charge is £1000 per year of sponsorship. It is payable upfront, at the time a CoS is assigned, and for the total period of time covered by the Certificate of Sponsorship.

For further information, please click here.


Eligibility criteria

You must:

  • Be a non European Economic Area national.

  • Have an offer for funded pupillage (and you aim to practise in the UK afterwards) or tenancy within a set of chambers.(unfunded pupils and minipupils are advised to apply for a Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship).

  • Have a valid practising certificate (if in your second six or beyond)

  • Be eligible to switch to Tier 2 from your current visa (if currently studying or working in the UK).

  • Be able to demonstrate that you have passed the Resident Labour Market Test, if subject to it.

  • Be able to demonstrate minimum annual gross projected earnings detailed in the code of practice “2412 barristers and judges”, of:


Income threshold


New entrant

£20 800

• Those applying for pupillage under Tier 2.
• Those who are switching into Tier 2 from Tier 1 or Tier 4.
• Those recruited under the ‘Milkround’ provision in the RMLT.
• Anyone under the age of 25

Experienced worker (not pupillage)

£31 900

• Those applying for tenancy.
  • Be able to demonstrate to the UKVI you have £945 of personal savings, held for at least 90 consecutive days in a period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application. For further details of this requirement please see, “Tier 2 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance". Please note that the Bar Council will not under any circumstances certify your maintenance.

  • Be satisfied that you meet all other UKVI requirements for application to Tier 2. It is your responsibility to check this.

How to apply

  1. Check you meet the UK Visas and Immigration criteria for Tier 2 (General).
  2. Check you meet the Bar Council's applicant criteria and can provide the required supporting documents.
  3. Complete the application form and submit it with all necessary supporting documents and payment of the non-refundable application fee by mail or email to Immigration, The Bar Council, 289-293 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7HZ.
  4. Your application will be considered by the Bar Council who will aim inform you of the outcome of your application within two weeks following satisfactory receipt of payment and all application documents.
  5. If successful, you will be emailed a certificate of sponsorship (a unique 11 digit reference number) or CoS.
  6. You can then use your COS to apply to the UK Visas and Immigration for your Tier 2 (General) visa. Information on requirements and process is available here and from  the policy guidance. You will need to quote the CoS number on your application form. A CoS is valid for 3 months from the date it was assigned. If you do not use the certificate of sponsorship within this period to apply for entry clearance or leave to remain, it automatically becomes invalid. During this period a migrant intending to come to the UK under Tier 2 cannot be assigned another certificate of sponsorship by any other sponsor. 

Please note that:

  • The fact that a CoS has been issued does not guarantee that you will be successful in obtaining entry clearance or leave to remain from the UK Visas and Immigration.

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all the conditions required by the UK Visas and Immigration for Tier 2 General.

  • The Bar Council cannot intervene if there are problems with your application to the UK Visas and Immigration.

  • If granted leave to enter or remain from the UKVI you must visit the Bar Council within a week of the start of your visa to allow the Bar Council to make a copy of your visa and UK biometric card (if applicable).




Application documents

  1. A completed application form (with signed declaration);

  2. A photocopy or scan of your passport photo page;

  3. A photocopy or scan of your current UK visa (if applicable);

  4. Payment of the application fee by credit/debit card or by bank transfer. Please see the payment instructions.

  5. A photocopy or scan of your practising certificate (if applicable);

  6. A photocopy or scan of your national insurance card or National Insurance number notification letter from HMRC or the Department for Works and Pensions;

  7. Your tenancy offer letter from chambers including the names and signatures of all parties involved in the offer of tenancy if available.

  8. A letter from chambers confirming:

    1. The start and end dates of the funded pupillage or tenancy;
    2. Your projected gross yearly earnings. This must be an accurate figure that can be verified by evidence at any point during your sponsorship period by the UK Visas and Immigration;
    3. Evidence of the value of any allowances given to you as part of your tenancy, if applicable;
    4. A declaration that they understand the terms of your leave to remain under Tier 2; please use this template
  9. Unless you are exempt from the resident labour market test (RLMT), you must submit a letter from chambers confirming that the RLMT has been complied with. Please include the following information:
    1. Confirmation that the RLMT has been conducted as set out in the UK Visas and Immigration Guidance for Tier 2 Sponsors and that in this process it was not possible to identify a suitable settled worker to fill the post.
    2. Confirmation that the advertising methods used were compliant with the Tier 2 Guidance for sponsors.
    3. Give details of how the RLMT was met including where the post was advertised, between which dates the post was advertised and reference number(s) for mandatory advertising.  Please also provide copies of any advertisements as specified in Appendix D under the section titled, "Resident Labour Market Test Tier 2 and Tier 5".
    4. Confirmation that you have in your possession and will keep a record of all other information and documents detailed in Appendix D under the section titled, "Resident Labour Market Test Tier 2 and Tier 5".
    5. Confirmation that you will keep on file and be willing to make available to the UK Visas and Immigration records of the recruitment and selection process used to recruit the barrister being sponsored, for the duration of their sponsorship (three years), in case the UK Visas and Immigration carries out a spot check on the RLMT.

NB- all letters from chambers must be on headed paper, signed and dated and from the Head of Chambers or Senior Clerk.