Last week, the Home Office released updated figures of the allocations of restricted certificates of sponsorship licences in the last 6 months. The guidance lists the monthly allocations of restricted certificates of sponsorship under the permanent limit on migration through Tier 2 (General). Employers wishing to employ non-EEA migrants must obtain a sponsorship licence before they can sponsor a migrant. The sponsorship licence system allows businesses to recruit skilled workers from non-European Economic Areas by giving them a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).
Obtaining a UK Sponsorship LicenceAs a sponsor, employers will need to provide evidence to the Home Office that they are suitable and eligible to become a sponsor. They will need to prove that they are a genuine employer based in and working lawfully in the UK and that they are able to comply with employment and immigration law and good practice, among other requirements. The Home Office will carry out appropriate checks before deciding whether to grant the sponsorship licence. Once a sponsorship licence is approved, the sponsor will appear on the public register of sponsors which can be found on the Home Office’s website.
Allocations of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship Licences
On 11 August 2014, the monthly allocation meeting took place. Since March 2014 figures recorded by the Home Office has shown a steady rise in the number of sponsorship licences granted each month. According to the figures:
- The total number of certificates of Sponsorship licences granted in August is 1,763. This is 14 more then the previous month and 25 more than the number granted in June 2014;
- The number of successful Tier 4 dependents switching to Tier 2 General visa was 11 in August 2014. This is a decrease to the previous months, which saw June and July having 13 applications granted;
- The number of Tier 2 (General – New hires under £153,500) granted in 2014 is 1,752, which is an increase of 728 granted since March 2014; and
- The balance of certificates of sponsorship carried over to September 2014 is 431.
All valid applications received by 5 August were successful if they scored at least 32 points.
Tier 2 Skilled Workers & Tier 5 Youth Mobility & Temporary Workers
Earlier this year, government statistics published by the Home Office showed that there was a 5% rise in the number of visas granted related to work. The increase was largely accounted for by higher number of visas issued for skilled workers (Tier 2) and for Youth Mobility and Temporary Workers (Tier 5) who had been given a COS.
From September 2012 to September 2013, there were 14% more sponsored visa applications from skilled workers than the previous 12 months (from 40,397 to 46,132). The majority of the 46,132 applications were related to the following sectors:
- Information and Communication (19,410, up 12%);
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (8,267, up 12%);
- Financial and Insurance Activities (5,785, up 10%);
- Education (2,670, up 46%); and
- Manufacturing (2,490, up 6%).
In the same period, there were 10% more sponsored visa applications from youth mobility and temporary workers than the previous 12 months, which increased from 39,164 to 43,228. The majority of these applications were related to the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation field which were up by 7% (30,690) and Education, which were up by 9% (4,499) sectors.
UK Sponsorship Licence Solicitors & Work Visas for Foreign Workers
Obtaining a UK Sponsorship licence is far from a straightforward process involving referencing not only the immigration rules but also supplementary guidance notes. Together with this issue is ensuring that the bundle of supporting documents meets the Home Office’s stringent requirements and properly evidences the application. For this reason it is usual for a professional employer to instruct expert immigration sponsorship solicitors to manage this process.