Employers in the United Kingdom who wish to employ overseas workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland must apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. Once an employer has secured a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence there are a number of Tier 2 Sponsor Duties that must be complied with to ensure that the licence continues to receive positive ratings. A failure to take the appropriate Tier 2 Sponsor Duties seriously can result in the downgrading, suspension or in extreme cases revocation of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence which is likely to have catastrophic consequences on the day to day activity of the business.
What are the Tier 2 Sponsor Duties for Tier 2 employers?
The Home Office expects employers to ensure the immigration system is not abused by the misuse of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. There are a number of Tier 2 Sponsor Duties which must be complied with and respected. The main purpose of having Tier 2 Sponsor Duties is to ensure that the Home Office can identify at an early stage abuse of procedures and also assist employers with keeping their records on overseas workers up to date. The Home Office issues a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence for a specific purpose and they would like to see that it is not being used for unlawfully. An employers’ responsibility for a migrant worker ends when their visas come to an end or when the employer informs the Home Office that the worker is no longer sponsored by their organisation. We have listed below a few examples of Tier 2 Sponsor Duties:
- Employers must check all their sponsored workers have the necessary skills, qualifications and accreditations to their jobs (evidence of the same must be stored);
- Employers must report all sponsored workers who are not complying with their Tier 2 visas;
- Employers must only issue Certificate of Sponsorships to workers when the job is suitable for sponsorship;
- Employers must also report any significant changes to the business such as if the business stops trading, nature of the business, involved in a merger or takeover; and
- Employers must ensure they monitor all their sponsored employees and keep copies of their relevant documents i.e. attendance records, employment contracts and payslips etc.
What are the consequences for employers who fail their Tier 2 Sponsor Duties?
If a Tier 2 employer is found to be failing their Tier 2 Sponsor Duties the Home Office will either downgrade, suspend or withdraw the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The action taken by the Home Office will largely depend on the seriousness of the failure of the Sponsor Duties. It is possible, however, to challenge Home Office decisions. We often assist employers to challenge Tier 2 Sponsor Licence suspensions or revocations. Please call our specialist immigration team to discuss this further. You can also pass some of your Tier 2 Sponsor Duties to us and we can help you with your Sponsor Duties to ensure your licence continues to receive an A-rating by training the employers’ Key Contact and Authorising Officer (see below) and conducting quarterly mock compliance visits. Whilst the Home Office often pre-plan compliance visits, the Home Office can turn up at any time. Therefore, it is crucial for employers to always be up to date and compliant with the Tier 2 Sponsor Duties.
What is the Tier 2 Sponsorship Management System and how does it help with the Tier 2 Sponsor Duties?
Once the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is granted an employer will be given complete access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS) which is an online management system. The online system allows employers to carry out day to day activities to assist in complying with the Tier 2 Sponsor Duties. The online system allows employers to update employee details such as change of address or circumstances. The most important feature is the allocation of Certificate of Sponsorships (CoS) tool which allows employers to issue a CoS for every new employee who wishes to come to the United Kingdom to work for the employer. It is important to state that every Tier 2 application requires a valid CoS. The CoS is an online document which stores important information about the job on offers such as job role, salary and the SOC code the RQF level of the job.
Once the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is granted employers must select a designated person to have access and responsibility for maintaining the SMS (Key Contact and Authorising Officer). There are two types of users (Level 1 and Level 2). Any non-compliance with the rules on assigning CoS will result in the Home Office taking action against the employer. Therefore it is important an employer selects the right person for the SMS roles. It is also possible to add to more tiers, categories and subcategories. Employers must also use the SMS to update the Home Office on the information in relation to the company structure i.e. if the company changes ownership, structure or moves premises etc.
Using Legal Representation to comply with Tier 2 Sponsor Duties as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with complying with Tier 2 Sponsor Duties. Our Solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to revoke sponsor licences which are not meeting the Tier 2 Sponsor Duties for example by failing to meet the expectations. In order to ensure your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence continues to receive a good rating, our immigration team will conduct regular compliance visits. Our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be retained in the files.
The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that you continue to meet the Immigration Rules.
Successfully comply with Tier 2 Sponsor Duties as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your Tier 2 Sponsor Duties even before your matter reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with meeting your Tier 2 responsibilities by conducting quarterly compliance checks and by working with your Human Resources department ensuring all the relevant files meet the Home Office requirements.
Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful compliance checks from the Home Office. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss your matter further.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.