Tier 2 Sponsor Licence for UK employers
The UK has always been a popular destination for skilled Indian workers. Every year highly-skilled Indian workers migrate to the UK for better job opportunities, higher salary, standard lifestyle as well as many Indian nationals to visit the country. More than 515,000 Indian nationals received visit visas last year and about 50% of the work visa applications approved were of skilled Indian nationals. The numbers clearly suggest the string ties both the countries have.
Over the years, the UK and India have had great business relationships which just keeps on getting better as the UK welcomes both skilled Indians and visitors open-heartedly. To bring in more skilled Indian workers to the UK, UK Visa and Immigration(UKVI) introduced the Sponsor Licence in 2008.
So if you are a business based in the UK, the ‘Tier 2 Sponsor Visa;’ can be your gateway to hire and sponsor highly skilled Indian professionals and bring them to work in the UK.
And our team of SRA regulated lawyers can help you out!
But before we discuss how we can guide you and assist you with the various processes and stages of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, thereby unburdening you of the complexities of the Home Office, here’s an overview of the ‘Tier 2 Sponsor Licence’ to help you better understand the process and how it works.
What is Tier 2 Sponsor Licence
Introduced in 2008 under the UK immigration rules, the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence was designed for UK employers to employ skilled non-EEA nationals. Every UK employer employing such skilled employees needs to have a valid Tier 2 or 5 Sponsor Licence to comply with their duties against illegal working.
What is COS?
Once you have undergone the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application process and your application has been approved by the Home office, you will be added to the Home Office register of sponsors and awarded an A-rated licence, following which you can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to your prospective foreign worker. The COS is a confirmation for the employee that they have a job offer from the UK employer that complies with the following:
- The employer complies with the RLMT (Resident Labour Market Test), however, it isn’t mandatory in case the job has been exempted from the RLMT requirements. In order to meet RLMT requirements the job should have been advertised to workers from the European Economic Area before being offered to the applicant from outside the EEA.
- Your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence (General) application must be made no more than 3 months after the CoS is issued, and you will start work no more than 3 months after your visa application is made.
- The job in question meets the Tier 2 minimum skill level requirement. This means it must usually be Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 6 or above.
What Sponsorship Duties employers need to comply with
The sponsoring employer has a few duties towards their sponsored employee that they need to abide by. These are:
Record Keeping Duties:
- Copy of the identification page of the applicant’s passport.
- If the applicant had to apply for entry clearance to work for the employer, evidence of the date of entry to the UK.
- UK immigration status document if not in the passport
- Copy of Migrants Biometric Residence Card
- Migrant’s contact details
- Copy of the Migrant’s National Insurance Number
UK Visas and Immigration must be informed of the following:
- If a sponsored migrant does not turn up for his or her first day of work
- If a sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 10 working days, without the sponsor’s reasonably granted permission
- If a sponsored migrant’s period of employment has ended as a result of the migrant resigning or being dismissed
- If any registration that the sponsored migrant needs to work in the UK (such as with a governing body) is ended
- If the sponsor stops sponsoring the migrant for any other reason (eg if the migrant moves into another immigration route that does not require a sponsor)
- If there are any significant changes in the migrant’s circumstances (eg change of job or salary excluding annual pay rise)
- If the Sponsor has any information which suggests that the migrant is breaching the conditions of his or her leave
- If the Sponsor has any information which suggests that the migrant may be engaging in terrorism or other criminal activity (The Sponsor must also pass any such information to the Police).
You must have HR systems in place that let you:
- monitor your employees’ immigration status
- keep copies of relevant documents for each employee, including passport and right to work information
- track and record employees’ attendance
- keep employee contact details up to date
- report to UKVI if there is a problem, for example, if your employee stops coming to work
Other Key responsibilities of the sponsor include:
- Cross-check that your foreign employee has all the necessary skills and qualifications.
- Once you have thoroughly conducted your research successfully on the employee, then only offer the sponsorship.
- Inform immediately to the UKVI in case your sponsored workers aren’t complying with the conditions of their visa since any misconduct from your worker can result in the suspension of your Visa.
- You must inform your employee about significant changes in your own circumstances within 20 working days, for example, if your company is being taken over or you are changing the nature of your business.
- Also keep the UKVI updated of any changes in your business details like address, employee roles, etc.
In case you are sponsoring an under 18 candidate, you must take care of suitable arrangements for their:
- travel to the UK
- arrival in the UK
- living arrangements in the UK
- You must also get a letter from their parents giving consent to the care arrangements.
How can we help?
While applying for a Sponsor Licence is just the first step towards landing yourself a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, many applications get rejected due to various reasons. Apart from rejection, there are other necessary processes that need to be taken care of like:
- Sponsor Licence Application
- Sponsor Licence Renewal
- Sponsor Licence Refusal
- Sponsor Licence Suspension / Revocation
And we can help you with every step of the process. At A Y & J Solicitors, we have extensive experience of helping companies acquire and maintain their Tier 2 Sponsor Licences while complying to the rules of the Home Office.