Immigration Support for Non-EEA Pupil Barristers
The Bar Council operates as a Licensed Sponsor on behalf of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and is therefore able to provide Tier 2 visas for funded pupil barristers and tenants working in chambers in England and Wales, enabling suitably qualified non-European Economic Area (or ‘non-EEA’) nationals who meet the qualifying criteria to train and practise at the Bar.
User information for non-EEA pupil barristers
The Bar Council is an accredited Tier 2 (General) Sponsor and is therefore able to provide Certificates of Sponsorship to suitably qualified non-EEA nationals who have secured positions as pupil barristers or tenants in chambers.
The Certificate of Sponsorship can be used by the individual to apply to UKVI for Tier 2 entry clearance for the duration of their pupillage or, in the case of tenancy, for a maximum of five years. In both cases it is possible to apply for an extension, provided that the total period of sponsorship does not exceed six years.
Upon request, the Bar Council is also able to produce supporting letters for indefinite leave to remain applications.
In order to be eligible for a Tier 2 visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you:
- are a non-EEA national;
- have an offer for funded pupillage (after which you aim to practise in at the Bar of England and Wales) or tenancy within a set of chambers;
- have a valid practising certificate where one is available (i.e. from the practising period of your pupillage onwards);
- are eligible, if applicable, to switch to Tier 2 from your current visa;
- have passed the Resident Labour Market Test (or ‘RLMT’), if subject to it;
- minimum annual gross projected earnings of £20,800 as a pupil barrister and £34,800 as a tenant, as detailed under ‘2412 – Barristers and Judges’ in table 2 of the Immigration Rules Appendix J: codes of practice for skilled workers;
- 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; and
- are satisfied that you meet all other UKVI requirements for the Tier 2 application.
Before making an application, you must check that you meet UKVI’s Tier 2 application criteria and the Bar Council’s applicant criteria. You must also be able to provide the following documentation in support of your application:
- a photocopy or scan of your passport photo page;
- where applicable, a photocopy or scan of your current UK visa;
- evidence that the application fee (as detailed under ‘Fees’ below) has been paid;
- where applicable, a photocopy or scan of your practicing certificate;
- a photocopy or scan of your national insurance card or national insurance number notification letter from HMRC or the Department for Work and Pensions;
- a copy of your offer letter from chambers, signed by all involved parties;
- a letter from chambers confirming the start and end dates of your funded pupillage or tenant and your annual gross projected earnings, evidencing the value of any allowances given to you as part of your funded pupillage or tenancy, and declaring that they understand the terms of your leave to remain under Tier 2;
- where applicable, a letter from chambers confirming that the RLMT has been complied with.
The letter to confirm that chambers has complied with the RLMT should include the following confirmations:
- the RLMT was conducted in accordance with UKVI’s ‘Tier 2 and 5 – Guidance for Sponsors’ and that, in the process, it was not possible to identify a suitably settled worker to fill the post;
- of the advertising methods used, including details of where the vacancy was posted, between which dates and any mandatory advertising reference number(s);
- that chambers have in their possession, and will keep, a record of all other information and documentation as set out in Appendix D of the same Guidance; and
- that chambers will keep on file, and be willing to make available to UKVI, records of the recruitment and selection process used to recruit the pupil barrister or tenant for the duration of their sponsorship.
Please note that all letters from chambers must be on headed paper, signed and dated by either the Head of Chambers, Senior Clerk or Chief Executive.
To make an application, complete our ‘Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship Application Form’ and submit it to Immigration@BarCouncil.org.uk or send it to Immigration Support, The General Council of the Bar, 289–293 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7HZ. Please ensure that you include any documentation in support of your application with your Form.
Once submitted, your application will be considered by the Bar Council, who will aim to inform you of the outcome within two weeks of satisfactory receipt of both the relevant payment and all supporting documentation. If successful, you will be sent a Certificate of Sponsorship by email, which you can then use to apply to UKVI for your Tier 2 visa.
You will need to quote the Certificate of Sponsorship number on your UKVI application form. A Certificate of Sponsorship is valid for three months from the date is 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 licensed sponsor.
The Bar Council has produced additional guidance for chambers who are seeking to recruit a non-EEA national as a pupil barrister or tenant.
The Bar Council charges a fee for this service, which varies according to the duration of the sponsorship period and the volume of administrative work required in order to support the application. Please consult the Immigration Payment Options Information document for further information.
Terms of Service
The Bar Council’s remit is restricted to the application of the relevant regulations insofar as they apply to the Bar and the professional environment of self-employed barristers. To that end, we are unable, nor allowed, to provide any sort of advice which could be construed as immigration advice.
The fact that a Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued does not guarantee that you will be successful in obtaining entry clearance or leave to remain from UKVI. It is your responsibility to ensure that meet all the conditions required by them as the Bar Council cannot intervene on your behalf if there are problems with your application.
If granted leave to enter or remain, you must visit the Bar Council within a week of the start of your visa in order to allow the Services Team to make a copy of your visa and, where applicable, your UK biometric card.
Find out more
Non-EEA nationals seeking pupillage in the UK are encouraged to contact the Bar Council in order to gain a full understanding of the adaptions we have made, as a specialist Licensed Sponsor, to the Tier 2 terms of reference.
To find out more about the Bar Council Immigration Support Service, please email Immigration@BarCouncil.org.uk or call +44 (0)207 611 1321.