Tier 2 Sponsorship licence: Preparation of company’s HR system for obtaining a licence

October 14, 2020

Any UK-based company that wants to employ skilled non-EU or non-EEA employees must hold an appropriate Tier 2 Sponsorship licence. When a sponsor employer is granted a Tier 2 sponsor licence, the Home Office places significant trust and responsibility on the employer to act in accordance with the immigration rules.

To ensure that sponsors fulfill their sponsorship duties, it is essential to have effective HR systems and resources in place. One of the key responsibilities, for example, is to monitor the sponsored employees.

It is critical to prepare and have HR policies and systems in place before applying for a sponsor licence to show that they can comply with sponsorship duties.

To decide which HR systems a sponsor needs, they should look at the duties they have to fulfill.

Managing your sponsorship process – key personnel

The Home Office requires sponsors to have key personnel, and they must carry out the administrative functions associated with sponsorship.  Key personnel roles are:

  • An authorising officer – a senior and competent person who will be responsible for the actions of the employees.
  • Key contact – this person is your main point of contact with visas and immigration.
  • Level 1 user – this person is responsible for the day-to-day management of your licence using the sponsorship management system (SMS).

Sponsors could also appoint a level 2 user with more restricted access to the SMS as the level 1 user.

These roles can be filled by different people or the same person. Once the licence is granted, they will use the sponsorship management system (SMS) to comply with sponsorship management.

Key personnel should be suitable for these roles. They should understand the licence and duties, plus have an understanding of legal compliance and employment law.

At least one level 1 user must be an employee, but a sponsor may have other level 1 and 2 users employed by a third-party HR service. You may also use a UK-based legal representative to fulfill some of these roles.

All key personnel, line managers and site managers must be trained and have the relevant knowledge to comply with sponsor duties. The employer should be able to provide records of such training as part of the HR system.

Monitoring employees

HR needs systems in place to:

  • Track workers immigration status and permits.
  • Track and record the employee’s attendance at work and keep a record of the employee’s absences from work.
  • Keep the employees’ contact details up to date.

Record keeping duties

UK visa and immigration requires sponsors to keep certain records for the duration of the licence. Sponsors should have an HR system for safekeeping of these records. Documents can be kept in hard copy or electronic format and must be made available on request.

Which documents must be kept?

  • All documents that formed part of the sponsor application must be kept for the duration of the licence.
  • Copies of passports, including pages with identity details and permission to work details.
  • Evidence of entry date, and that the employee entered during the validity of the visa.
  • Copy of the employee’s biometric residence permit.
  • If relevant, a copy of the employees National Insurance number.
  • A copy of the employee’s contact details – this must always be up to date.
  • A record of the recruitment process, including copies of advertisements, etc.
  • Copies of the migrant’s payslips and any allowances to show that the appropriate rate was paid.
  • Contract of Employment.
  • Detailed job descriptions.
  • Proof of employee’s qualifications or professional accreditations.

All documents and records must be easily accessible and up to date.

Reporting duties

Sponsors have a duty to report any problems to UK Visas and Immigration. Any changes in the employee’s circumstances must be reported within 10 days. This includes reporting a worker’s non-attendance, non-compliance, termination of employment or any breach of any licence holder duties.

Sponsors should be prepared for a compliance visit from UK Visa and Immigration officers to ascertain whether HR systems are in place to meet sponsor responsibilities. During this visit, officers will want to speak to key personnel, the sponsored workers, other staff and see HR records and policies. They will want to make sure that the HR systems can ensure compliance with sponsor duties.


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Mann’s Solutions is international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong and Moscow and has expertise in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration lawyers regulated by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner).

For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration lawyers in London Office, please contact us at enquiries@manns-solutions.com or call +44 207 993 63 46.