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Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Explained

The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence offers employers the opportunity to bring in staff from other countries outside of the EEA zone. There are significant benefits to the scheme as we'll investigate further in the article. In this article, we look at the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in more detail and look at your rights and responsibilities under the scheme.

What are the benefits of the scheme?

The major benefit of the scheme is the ability to bring in staff from outside of the EEA area. Many companies can simply not source the staff that they need locally and the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence offers the opportunity to cast your net wider.

The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence lets you choose from a whole world of potential employees rather than those from only inside the EEA. For many businesses it offers the opportunity to bring in specialists in their field to the UK to work in their business.

How much does it cost?

The cost for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application is £536 for small business or £1,476 for medium or large businesses. You can see the definition of both of these a little further down the article.

You will need to pay the application fee upfront and you need to be careful to ensure that the application has been made correctly in order to avoid potential issues further down the line as you may not necessarily be automatically able to receive a refund.

How do I apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?

Like most visa applications you are able to apply online. You will need at least 4 supporting documents and these will need to be certified as per the instructions laid out in the application pack - please ensure this is adhered to correctly to avoid any delays to your application being processed.

If you need any help with your application then please get in touch. Our immigration specialists can help to curate your application and ensure that you documents are applicable and can be used for your application.

What defines a small or large business?

A small business is defined for the purposes of this application as a business that has an annual turnover of £10.2 million or less. it is also defined as you having 50 employees or fewer.

Outside of this, you will be classified as running a medium or large business and will be required to pay the higher rates that are set out in the other sections of the article.

Resident Labour Market Test

The Resident Labour Market Test was introduced to ensure that a job that could be done by a local worker was not given away to a non-EEA citizen. You will need to satisfy this rule for the vast majority of jobs though there are some notable exceptions.

To satisfy the requirements you will need to advertise the role via the governmental Universal Jobmatch service and on at least one private job board.

The exemptions are as follows;

If you are extending a tier 2 visa in a similar job role for the same employer.

If you are are employing someone who is switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 visa,

If the job is on the shortage occupation list. If the salary is at least £159,600 per annum.

Immigration Skills Charge

You will need to pay an Immigration Skills Charge for every employee that you sponsor. The cost is £364 or £1,000 depending on the definition of your company. The £364 is for small businesses or charities and the £1,000 is for medium or large businesses for the first year. You will then pay again for every 6 months that they will work for you.

You pay the charge when you create the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) that the Tier 2 applicant will use to support their application and it must be paid in full for the time that they will be in the country. You are eligible for a refund in the following circumstances;

Refused or withdrawn

Successful, but they don't come to work for you

You'll get a partial refund if the worker: Gets less time on their visa than you sponsored them for

Starts working for you but then changes to another sponsor

Leaves their job before the end date on their certificate of sponsorship

How can a potential employee find us?

Once you are registered as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Holder you will be added to a searchable register that is open to the public and allows would-be employees to search for a potential employer.

You can also advertise the fact on your own website and use it in your advertising as a unique selling point for your business.

What are my responsibilities under the scheme?

You must ensure that you are compliant in all areas once you have been approved for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. It is imperative that you have correct HR procedures in place to ensure that you can keep all of the information that is required (such as the necessity to report long absences) and have adequate reporting systems to cope with the new demands that will be placed on your HR department.

To keep your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence you will need to remain compliant with the full suite of rules that are attached to the scheme - any failure to do so may mean that you lose your licence and the ability to employee Tier 2 Visa staff.

How we can help

As immigration solicitors we can help to ensure that as a business you are set up correctly to operate as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder. We can help you to create effective HR practices and even help with your application.

For more information or to discuss your specific immigration requirements then please get in touch.

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