Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence
Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence
Companies in the UK that wish to employ skilled workers from outside the European Union (or more precisely the EEA and Switzerland) must apply for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence.
- Unspent criminal convictions for immigration offence or certain crimes (for example, fraud or money laundering)
- Any history of failing to carry out your sponsorship duties
Moreover, UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) may conduct an announced (or usually an unannounced) visit to inspect your place of business. Furthermore, the purpose of this visit is to see if you are trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.
Types of licences
The licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:
Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence – Skilled workers with long-term job offer
Tier 5 Sponsorship Licence – Skilled temporary workers
It is possible to acquire both.
Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence is for skilled workers who you want to employ for a long-term or even permanently.
It is split into:
- General – this role will have to meet job suitability requirements
- Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) – for multinational companies which need to transfer employees to the UK
- Minister of Religion – for people coming to work for a religious organisation (for up to 3 years)
- Sportsperson – for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK
Tier 5 Sponsorship Licence is for skilled workers who you want to employ on a temporary basis.
It is split into:
- Creative and Sporting – to work as a sportsperson (up to 1 year)
- Charity worker – for unpaid workers (up to 1 year)
- Religious Worker – for those doing preaching, pastoral and non-pastoral work (2 years)
- Government Authorised Exchange – work experience (1 year), research projects or training, e.g. practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable short-term exchange of knowledge)
- International Agreement – where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, e.g. employees of overseas governments)
You will need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence.
The main tool for this is the Sponsorship Management System (SMS)
The relevant roles are:
- Authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
- Key Contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
- Level 1 User – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS
Additionally, the mentioned roles can be filled with just one person (or different people if you prefer).
It is also possible to appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 (for instance, they will not be able to withdraw a certificate of sponsorship).
In addition, you and your staffed will be checked whether anyone is suitable for these roles. However, you may not receive your licence if anyone involved with this licence has:
- An unspent criminal conviction
- Fined by the UKVI in the past 12 months
- Broken the law
- Been a “key person” at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the past 12 months
- Failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
You and your staff must be:
- Based in the UK
- Cannot be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
- Must not be subject to bankruptcy
- Not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements
To apply for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence or Tier 5 Sponsorship Licence you will need to provide at least 4 documents – unless:
- A public body recognised by the UK government
- A company listed on the London Stock Exchange Main Market
Also, documents must be originals or certified copies.
Your licence rating
Successful applications receive an A-rating
However, it is possible that your rating may be downgraded to a B-rating at a later stage, if you do not meet your sponsorship duties.
In the event it does happen, you will not be able to issue new certificates of sponsorship until you have made improvements and upgraded back to an A-rating.
You will still be able to issue certificates to workers you already employ who wish to extend, or who are switching from a Work Permit.
Home Office will present an “action plan” so you can get your A-rating back (£1476). However, if you choose to not go with an action plan, you will lose your licence.
Besides, if you obtain 2 B-ratings in 4 years, you will be at risk of losing your licence.
However, only re-applications are possible. Furthermore, depending on the circumstances you might need to wait a certain period before you can reapply.
Before employing a migrant worker, you may need to advertise the position first, unless it is on the shortage occupation list. This is known as the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT).
You will need to conduct this for the following categories:
- Tier 2 (General); and
- For Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or Tier 5 (Religious Workers) unless it is a non-essential position or involves living within a religious order (mon or a nun); and
- Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) creative and entertaining sector
Irregardless, you will need to place 2 different advertisements. Moreover, one must be in job centre and the second can be in a newspaper, internet site and etc. (as long as it is freely accessible)
Each advert must run in the UK for 28 days in most cases, either continuously or in 2 stages. Each advert has to run for a total of 28 days and neither stage can be lees than 7 days.
Furthermore, you will need to show evidence on why you did not find a suitable British or European worker.
- Check that your foreign workers have the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs and keep copies of documents showing this
- Only assign certificates of sponsorship to workers when the job is suitable for sponsorship
- Inform the UKVI if your sponsored workers are not complying with the conditions of their visa
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 regarding your workers (e.g. your employee stops coming to work)
You must report any significant changes in your own circumstances within 20 working days, for example if you:
- Stop trading or become insolvent
- Substantially change the nature of your business
- Involved in a merge or take-over
Furthermore, you must make sure that foreign workers who are under 18 have suitable care arrangements for their:
- Travel to the UK
- Arrival in the UK
- Living arrangements in the UK
Our Compliance Support will assist companies with meeting Home Office Regulatios and laws.
Our Approach to UK Visas
- Step 1
- Step 2
- Step 3
- Step 4
- Step 5
- Initial Consultation
- Document Collection
- Document review
- Finalisation of Immigration Matter
- Home Office Decision