Once a Tier 2 sponsor license application is approved, and the sponsor licence is issued, the employer is given access to the online UK Visa and Immigration system called the sponsorship management system (SMS).
As a sponsor, the employer has specific duties such as record keeping, reporting, monitoring and co-operating with the Home Office. SMS allows the employer to manage day-to-day sponsorship duties, responsibilities and activities relating to the Tier 2 General sponsorship.
The system can be used to:
Managing the sponsorship licence is an important responsibility, and the employer needs to appoint someone within the business to fulfil sponsorship management roles.
Authorising officer – Tier 2 Sponsor Licence
One of the management roles that needs to be fulfilled is the role of the authorising officer.
The authorising officer has overall responsibility for managing the sponsorship licence and ensure that the sponsor is not in breach of any sponsor duties.
The person appointed to the role must be the most senior person responsible for the recruitment of migrant workers. If you do not recruit the workers you sponsor, the authorising officer must be the most senior person responsible for your activity as a licensed sponsor. It should be a person that understands the importance of this role and that the sponsor can trust with the responsibility.
The authorising officer must be:
The authorising officer must be a suitable person and must not:
Sponsors also need a key contact and a level 1 user on the SMS. Having a level 2 user is optional. Despite being responsible for the actions of all SMS users, the authorising officer does not have automatic access to the SMS. To access the system, the authorising officer must be set up as a level 1 or level 2 user. Often this means, one person has two roles.
The authorising officer is responsible for ensuring that the key contact and other level 1 and 2 users are competent to manage the sponsored employees and use the sponsorship management system. It is therefore essential that the authorising officer reviews the activities on the SMS regularly, and approves any requests for changes on the SMS.
Authorising officers must be available to meet with immigration officers on visits and must be familiar with the HR processes and systems of the sponsor. They are usually the first point of contact for UK Visa and Immigration.
The sponsor must have an authorising officer in place for the duration of the Sponsorship licence. If the authorising officer leaves the organisation, the SMS must be updated as soon as possible and no later than within 10 working days.
The sponsor is ultimately responsible for the actions of the authorising officer.
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