Changes are made each April and October to the Immigration rules. Changes have been made to the Tier 2 Policy Guidance and came in on 6 April 2015. All Tier 2 sponsor licence holders should ensure that they are aware of these. We do not consider the overall effect of these changes to be significant.
What happens if you don’t comply with the Guidance?
If a Tier 2 sponsor licence holder does not comply with its duties, then UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may take action against you. They may either revoke your sponsor licence or downgrade it from A-rating to B-rating, with additional measures set out.
Remember – you have a responsibility as a Tier 2 sponsor licence holder to read and keep up-to-date with the Tier 2 policy guidance!
What are the changes to the Guidance for Tier 2 licence holders?
- A new exemption from the cooling off period rules has been introduced: Anyone on Tier 2 leave for three months or less is not subject to the UK’s 12-month cooling off period. This is definitely a plus and will improve flexibilityfor business.
- Sponsor licence checks: UKVI may make random checks on sponsor licence holders. This does not however mean that they have doubts about your compliance; this is just a procedure that they may carry out. This more explicitly spells out the position that existed before.
- Update to Sponsor Guidance Appendix A – further information required for Tier 2 General sponsor licence application: When applying for a Tier 2 General sponsor licence, you will be required to provide extensive information at the outset about why you are applying, information about your organisation, details about the post to be fulfilled, advertising and any information about the person identified for the role. This has been introduced to avoid questions and delays during the mid-application process.
- Level 1 user: You must always ensure that you have a Level 1 user in place throughout the duration of your sponsor licence and that one of your Level 1 users is an employee who is able to undertake day to day sponsorship activities. Therefore it is sensible to always have more than one person nominated for this role in case someone leaves the business unexpectedly.
- Clarification on how UKVI will manage the transition from last year’s COS allocation limit: If UKVI reaches a point where there are more applications that score the same amount of points than they have certificates of sponsorship available for that month and they cannot make a fair decision as to whether any of them are more urgent or worthy than others, they will approve them all or none of them. They will approve all applications that score the same number of points if this means that they exceed their monthly allocation limit by 100 or fewer. Our fear is the limit the Government has put on the allocation is going to be reached before too long.
- Addition of Biometric Residence Permit guidance for overseas nationals: Migrants applying for Entry Clearance to the UK will have to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This will be introduced on a phased basis. The BRP will need to be collected inside the UK. Individuals will initially be provided with a short term biometric entry clearance (a vignette in their passport), valid for 30 days, in order to travel to the UK to collect their BRP. The migrant then has ten days from their arrival in the UK to collect their BRP from that nominated Post Office.
- Minimum salary thresholds have been increased
One obvious conclusion from the changes is the extra amount of scrutiny going into a review of applications.