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Sponsorship Duties Of A Tier 2 Sponsor

For many employers, the local labour market does not offer the diversity of skills that are often required for businesses with technical speciality. Because of this, the Home Office initiated the Tier 2 General Visa. The Tier 2 General Visa offers employers the opportunity to bring in talented staff from outside of the EEA to fulfill skill gaps in various sectors. In order to bring in these staff, businesses must themselves gain a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence that allows them to offer these roles.

In this article, we are going to look at the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in a little more detail and more specifically, the duties that come with the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.

The Job Offer Process

One of the main duties of a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder is to ensure that they abide by the rules that govern the creation and advertising of a role. Due to the requirements that are laid out for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders, it is necessary to ensure that jobs are only offered to suitable applicants and that there has been a fair process to ensure that local qualified workers are not being ignored in favour of non-EEA workers.

There are three main areas that are important to consider when it comes to the creation and advertising of a role that could be used as a route into the UK for a Tier 2 General Visa applicant. These three distinct areas are laid out below:

Minimum Salary

A major part of the eligibility criteria for a Tier 2 General Visa role is the minimum salary. For the vast majority of roles, a minimum salary of £30,000 is necessary in order to apply. This minimum is specified to ensure that the Tier 2 General Visa system is not being used as a way to bring in low paid labour to the UK.

Resident Labour Market Test

To ensure the job is eligible for a visa, employers must put the job through a set of tests, known as the resident labour market test. The test consists of specific steps that ensure that there is no one qualified locally who can fulfill the role you are offering. This test is achieved by ensuring that roles are first advertised on the governments Find A Job website, and at least one private sector job board. Once applications are in, you must keep records as to why the domestic applicants were not suitable and hence why you need to offer it to a non-EEA worker. Certain roles that are that do not require the usage of a resident labour market test are those on the Shortage Occupation List or if the role has a pay level of over £159,600 per year. There is also an exception for roles for those who have gained a degree on a Tier 4 Student Visa and are now switching to a Tier 2 General Visa in the UK.

Shortage Occupation List

Certain sectors of the UK industry have large shortfalls in skills. Many of these include vitally important areas of British life such as health, education and engineering. Due to the urgent need for these skills, the Home Office introduced the Shortage Occupation List. This list consists of roles and sectors which give the option for employers to not only lower the the minimum salary threshold (though alternative minimums must still be met), but also allow employers to avoid the resident labour market test. Each job is given a Shortage Occupation Code (SOC) which can be used to support the creation of the Certificate of Sponsorship required by the Tier 2 General Visa applicant to apply for a visa.

Allocating Certificates Of Sponsorship

Another important aspect of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence conditions is the allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship. These certificates are used to support the application of a would-be Tier 2 General Visa holder. Because of the ability this gives the applicant, it is vital you ensure that you gain all of the information needed to ensure your job applicant is indeed sufficiently qualified to take on the proposed role. You will also need to ensure that there is nothing preventing their ability to work in the UK.

Once you are satisfied all is well, you can allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship to your prospective employee. You will need to ensure that you state how long the certificate is valid for, and that you have met the criteria for its creation.

Keeping On Top Of Records

Once your new employee is with you in the UK, your duties will commence. From this point you will need to ensure that you keep accurate HR records that relate to the staff member. These records include the following information:

  • Checking the employee still has a right to work in the UK - every 12 months
  • Copy of the visa holder's Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • A copy of the migrant's National Insurance Number (unless they are exempt)
  • History of address records
  • A copy of the visa holder's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check - if applicable to the role
  • A record of absence

It is vital that accurate records are kept - failure to do so could result in significant penalties. It’s vital you have sufficient systems in place to ensure all information is kept.

Getting More Help With Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Queries

Our team of immigration specialists can help employers and employees to ensure they make the most of their opportunity in the UK. We can also help to ensure your compliance requirements are being met, giving you absolute peace of mind.

If you need help with your HR systems, get in touch today and our team will be happy to help you to move in the right direction.

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