We recently received the exciting news that our client (“the Applicant”) who was a registered business operating in the UK, has been granted a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in order to be able to sponsor migrant workers in the UK. This case was complex due to the fact that the Applicant had previously applied for a sponsor licence without legal representation and unfortunately the application was rejected. Our business immigration solicitors in London specialise in Tier 2 sponsorship applications as we have an in-depth knowledge of the rules and compliance duties that potential Tier 2 sponsors must be able to demonstrate. Furthermore, with the changes to the UK’s points based system and the soon to be inclusion of EEA nationals, it is important now more than ever for businesses to have a sponsor licence in order to employ overseas workers in the UK. Therefore, please contact our team in order to arrange a consultation to discuss whether your business meets the criteria to become a Tier 2 sponsor.
The Case for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence
The Applicant was an FX Broker in a niche field, who had previously applied for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in order to employ an overseas worker who had the specific skill set for the role. However, the Applicant was not fully aware of all of the vast duties and responsibilities of a Tier 2 sponsor and after an unannounced compliance visit from the Home Office, the application was rejected as the Home Office did not believe that the Applicant would be able to comply with all the duties. Our business immigration team was then instructed to prepare a fresh Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application, as well as undertake a mock compliance visit at the Applicant’s business premises in order to prepare the Key Contact and Authorising Officer for the next Home Office visit. Our team asked the Applicant for a specific set of documents to demonstrate that the business was genuinely seeking an overseas worker and that the Resident Labour Market Test (“RLMT”) had been completed which were thoroughly reviewed. We then completed the application via the Sponsorship Management System (“SMS”) portal and drafted supporting legal representations addressing all of the previous refusal points in order to demonstrate that the Applicant was now able to comply with all its duties as a sponsor.
Due to Covid-19 there were service delays meaning the application was not able to be decided within the 8 week service standard, however we used this time to prepare the Applicant for the next inevitable compliance visit by undertaking a mock audit which the Applicant said was a massive help and made them feel more confident in understanding their duties. The Home Office then arranged for their own visit to the business premises and the officer was then satisfied all of the requirements for a sponsor licence had been met so the licence was granted shortly thereafter. The Applicant is now an A rated sponsor on the Home Office register of licenced sponsors.
What is a Tier 2 sponsor Licence?
A Tier 2 sponsor licence under the points based system allows registered businesses in the UK to employ non-EEA migrant workers to undertake specific skilled jobs under Appendix J or the shortage occupation list under Appendix K. The main thing that potential sponsors must demonstrate is that they have a genuine vacancy and have a genuine need for a non-settled worker as well as being able to keep up with all of the compliance duties set out by the Home Office. If the sponsor licence application is successful then the business will be included on the Home Office register of licenced sponsors which is updated daily. Tier 2 sponsors are then able to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”) to a Tier 2 Applicant before they submit their visa application.
How do you become a Tier 2 sponsor?
The application to become a Tier 2 sponsor is made online through the SMS portal. Questions will be in relation to the business, advertised job vacancy, salary and potential migrant worker if one has already been identified following the RLMT (if applicable). Once the online application has been submitted then the business is given 5 days to post all of the supporting documents to the Home Office for consideration. This application is one of few Home Office applications where original documents are still required to be sent in for consideration. As per the Home Office guidance, documents must either be original or certified copies.
How much does it cost to become a Tier 2 sponsor?
The costs involved in becoming a Tier 2 sponsor vary depending on the size of the business. For small and charitable organisations, the current Home Office application fee for a sponsor licence is £536. For medium and large size businesses, the Home Office application fee for a sponsor licence is £1,476. Once the sponsor licence is granted, the business will then have to pay £199 to assign the restricted CoS and a further fee for the Immigration Skills Charge which will depend on the length of the migrant worker’s employment. All fees are payable through the SMS portal.
Sponsoring EU nationals after Brexit
As part of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, free movement will come to an end on 31 December 2020. Therefore, EU nationals who want to come to the UK from 1 January 2021 to work in a skilled job, they will have to apply under the Skilled Worker route (which will soon replace the current Tier 2 routes). This will mean businesses in the UK who will want to sponsor EU workers from 1 January 2021 will have to apply for a Sponsor Licence in the same way that they would if they currently wish to sponsor non-EEA workers. Employers are being urged to apply for a sponsorship licence now and all registered sponsors under the Tier 2 system will likely automatically hold a skilled worker sponsor licence once the skilled worker routes come into effect, without having to reapply under the new route. This has already been the case for sponsors under the previous Tier 4 route who continue to hold their sponsorship status under the new student visa routes.
What is a mock compliance visit from our business immigration solicitors in London?
The chances are that the Home Office will conduct a compliance visit at the business premises at some point. This will either be before the sponsor licence application is approved if there is doubt over the business or if there has been a previous refusal or once the licence has been granted in order to ensure that the sponsor is keeping up with its compliance duties.
Our business immigration solicitors are fully aware of a Tier 2 Sponsor’s duties and are able to highlight the common mistakes made by businesses in relation to compliance. Failure to comply with the sponsorship duties will either result in the sponsor licence application being refused or the licence being suspended or revoked if the business is already a sponsor licence holder. Our immigration team can be instructed to carry out regular mock compliance audits to ensure compliance with the following criteria:
- Record keeping duties – all employee records and documents must be correct and up to date (i.e. ID documents, BRPS, migrant addresses and contact details). The business’ HR system must also be robust enough to cope with the Home Office’s stringent checks.
- Reporting duties – (once the business has a sponsor licence) The Tier 2 Sponsor must be aware of what information or events they are required to report to the Home Office using the SMS and whether they have been doing so.
- The Immigration Rules – Their 2 Sponsors must be compliant in line with the current immigration laws. This includes ensuring that the business is employing migrants who are appropriately qualified, registered or experienced to do the job and whether there is a genuine vacancy to employ the migrant worker.
- Genuine vacancy – The advertised job role must be genuine. Whilst we carry out our mock compliance visits, our team can interview the key contract or even migrant workers to establish whether there is a genuine vacancy and establish whether they are fulfilling their role in accordance with the appropriate SOC code and whether they are being paid the appropriate salary.
Following our mock Tier 2 Sponsor Licence compliance visit to the Sponsor’s business premises, our specialist business Immigration team will provide detailed feedback to the employer. This will include recommendations to ensure compliance with all the sponsorship duties. Our vast number of years of experience and success in sponsor licence applications shows that most businesses do not have robust HR systems and procedures in place to be Home Office compliant, and all of our Tier 2 Sponsor clients have found our immigration compliance service invaluable in being prepared for actual compliance visits from the Home Office.
Using our Business Immigration Solicitors in London to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to make an application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence under the Immigration Rules.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject UK Visa applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Applications with our Business Immigration Solicitors in London
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 immigration status and the merit of your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence visa application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We 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 Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applications. 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 possible UK Visa routes and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.