Tag Archives: sponsor

Further changes to the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer and Tier 2 General routes

February 2017 –

The new Tier 2 & 5 Guidance has now been published following the changes introduced in November 2016.

Change of circumstance requests normally take up to 16 weeks to be processed. The Home Office has now launched a new fee paying service to expedite certain types of requests, which include requests for an increase of an unrestricted CoS allocation, requests to replace the Authorising Officer, requests to add a new Level 1 user etc… The service offers a 5 working day turn around at a cost of £200 per request.

The start date on the CoS can no longer be delayed by more than 4 weeks. If the sponsored worker is unpaid for more than 4 weeks from the original start date, the sponsorship must be withdrawn. It is therefore pivotal that the start date be chosen carefully bearing in mind possible delays with the entry clearance process resulting from, for example: – delays with IETLS score / police clearance; – no priority service availability; – prolonged notice periods etc..

The new guidance states that for compliance purposes all documents listed in Appendix D must now be kept for one year from the date the sponsor ends the sponsorship or until a compliance officer has approved them, whichever is the shorter period.

Keeping a detailed job description is no longer required as long as the copy of the advert includes the job title, main duties and responsibilities, skills, qualifications and experience needed together with an indication of salary package or salary range and the closing date for applications. A job description must still be held on file where no Resident Labour Market test has been undertaken.

Whilst there is still a requirement for sponsors to keep all applications shortlisted for final interview, the ‘interview notes’ are now only required for rejected settled worker applicants. It follows that if no settled workers have been interviewed, the sponsor is not required to retain reasons as to why other applicants were not offered the role. Settled workers are EEA nationals, British nationals and applicants with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom.

Tier 2 (General)

The minimum salary threshold has increased from £20,800 to £25,000 per annum.

The following professions are exempt from meeting the new salary threshold until July 2019: Nurses, medical radiographer, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and mandarin.

Roles aimed at UK graduates overseas will be granted additional points in the restricted CoS allocation assessment table.

Graduate trainees will be permitted to change their occupation within the graduate programme without having to undergo the Tier 2 process again.

Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)

The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term Staff has increased from £24,800 to £30,000 per annum.

The Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category is now closed to new applicants.

The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee category has decreased from £24,800 to £23,000 per annum. The cap has also increased from 5 to 20 graduate trainees per annum for each licenced sponsor.

Further changes to come in 2017

It is anticipated that by April 2017 further changes will be implemented. These changes will include:

– further increases to the minimum salary thresholds;
– closure the Tier 2 (ICT) short term category;
– introduction of a mandatory Immigration Skills Charge (‘ISC’) for all Tier 2 migrants, set at £1000 per annum at present.

If you need Immigration legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How easy is it to get a restricted certificate of sponsorship?

March 2016 – This is a question that we are asked on a daily basis by prospective sponsors.

The answer depends on many factors such as the nature of role, whether it is sufficiently skilled or not,  whether it is on the shortage occupation list or not, whether the salary offered is in line with the relevant code of practice, whether the resident labour market has been carried out in line with the UKVI’s requirements..etc.

We find that the less skilled and the less paid the role is, the less likely the application for a restricted certificate to be granted.

Even when the role has been advertised in line with the Home Office PBS Tier 2 requirements, the certificate can still be refused.

This will be the case when the Home Office is of the opinion that the advertising exercise is not genuine.

This will often happen when the selected candidate is already in the employment of the sponsor under another immigration category such as Tier 5. There is an inference that the employer never intended to find anyone else.

A refusal is also likely if the Home Office believes that the role has been ‘inflated’ so that to fit under a suitable code of practice.

When there are doubts, the Home Office (the sponsor compliance unit – Tier 2 limits team) will get back to the employer asking for additional documents and information prior to considering the request for the restricted certificate.  In most circumstances, employers will be required to provide a few job description for the role, a copy of the contract of employment for the role, a copy of all the advertising undertaken to recruit for the role specifying all the requirements the advertising in question needs to meet. Employers are also asked if the candidate has been identified for the role is already in their employment. If that is the case, employers are required to provide the candidate’s full name, date of birth and immigration status in the UK along with a copy of the candidate’s payslips for the last 3 months, the candidate’s last P60s and current job description.

If the employers is unable to provide the Tier 2 team with the required documentation before the 11th of the month, their application is held over to the following allocation date. If the Tier 2 team is unable to make the necessary verification checks before the allocation date the employer has applied for then the application will also be held over the following allocation.

For further information or an assessment of the chances of your application being approved, please contact us.


Employing a foreign migrant


Applying for a license:
The application is made by completing a form on line. Employers are required to send the relevant supporting documentation to the BIA within 14 days of filing their application on line.

Validity of the license:
The license is valid for 4 years.

Type of license:
Employers will be rated A or B depending on how compliant they have been found over the years.

Filing the license application:

Step 1: if the company has several branches, it should be decided whether to register as a group or individually;

Step 2: choose the member of staff who will the company Authorising Officer (AO) and Key contact (KC) in line with the BIA requirements;

Step 3: collate the relevant supporting documentation – Limited companies will have to include at least 4 items to demonstrate their trading presence in the UK – Plc will need provide their London Stock Exchange number and evidence that they are present in the UK (i.e. have premises).

Step 4: decide on the number of certificates which are likely to be needed;

Step 5: choose the member of staff who will the company Authorising Officer (AO); Key contact (KC) and users;

Step 6: prepare for an eventual pre approval compliance visit from the BIA.
The AO will be responsible the sponsor licensing application and all the duties attached to the license. The AO will have the entire responsibility for all users of the sponsor management system (anyone entitled to issue certificates of sponsorship) and ensuring that record keeping and reporting duties are observed.

The sponsor (i.e. employer) will be responsible for all the actions of its AO.

The KC will be the point of contact between the BIA and the sponsor.

We would be delighted to assist you with the preparation and the filing of your application and the issuance of certificate of sponsorship.

Maintaining the license:
To maintain your license you will need to be compliant. This can be achieved by taking the following steps:

keep record of all sponsored employees as per the BIA’s requirements;
report specific information in line with the BIA’s requirements (i.e. an employee who does not turn up for work on their first day, termination of employment, changes of circumstances for the employer or / and the employee..etc.)
check the status of overseas nationals with limited leave to remain every 12 months;
co-operate with the BIA in allowing access to your premises whether the visit is prearranged or unannounced.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

Employment Permission Tier 1, 2 and 5


Tier 2 restricted certificates of sponsorship:

Skilled non-EEA worker numbers have been capped since the 6 April 2011.

The Annual Limit is currently 20,700.

The pool of available Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) is divided into 12 monthly allocations 4,700 CoSs were made available for the first month and 1,500 have been available for each month thereafter.

The cap applies to most Tier 2 (General) migrants.

Those who are coming to the UK to undertake an occupation for which they will be paid £152 100 or more are not subject to the quota.

An employer wishing to recruit a non EEA skilled worker will need to undertake the following steps:
– register with the UKBA and obtain a sponsorship licence as an A-rated Tier 2 (General) sponsor;
– file a request for a restricted certificates of sponsorship (CoS);
– assuming that the request is granted, issue the restricted CoS and invite the foreign national to apply for entry clearance.

Restricted certificates are only granted for graduate-level jobs as per the codes of practice. When filing for a restricted certificate an employer must demonstrate that they have conducted a resident labour market test (in other words that they have advertised the role), or be able to confirm that the job is exempt from the resident labour market test. The annual salary offered must meet the minimum requirements set in the codes of practice (with a minimum of £20,300).

Requests for restricted certificates must be filed by the 5th of each month.

Although no supporting documents are required as part of the application process, the UKBA may request additional information. The Level 1 user is required to give full details of the job, including:

job title;
start date;
SOC code (from the relevant code of practice or shortage occupation list);
gross annual salary;
the organisation’s sponsor licence number and name; and
personal details – full name, contact phone number and email address.

Applications are assessed against ranking criteria. Where the monthly limit is oversubscribed, applicants with the highest number of points are issued a CoS. Priority is given to shortage occupations and to applicants with the highest prospective salaries.

Tier 2 unrestricted certificates of sponsorship

Unrestricted CoSs are not subject to the annual cap and can be issued for:

Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers);
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 2 (Minsters of Religion);
Any Tier 2 (General) CoS with a salary of £152,100 or more; and
Any in-country Tier 2 (General) application including extensions, changes of employment and those switching immigration category into Tier 2 (General) as well as for those covered by any transitional arrangements.

An employers wishing to recruit a non EEA skilled worker qualifying under any of the categories listed above will have to:
– be registered with the UKBA and hold a sponsorship licence;
– have been granted a number of unrestricted certificates of sponsorship (CoS) available for them to issue at all times.


Employers wishing to take advantage of the Tier 2 (ICT) route must be aware that although CoSs are not subject to a limit, it is subject to a number of restrictions in terms of minimum salary and length of stay in the UK.

Other routes: Tier 1

Tier 1 (General) is now closed and skilled non-EEA workers who do not fall within the remaining Tier 1 categories Investor, Entrepreneur, Prospective Entrepreneur, Exceptional Talent wishing to come to the UK to work  must apply through Tier 2.

Further changes to settlement criteria have been introduced. Applicants other than spouses, civil partners, unmarried or same sex partners of British citizens now need to be free from unspent convictions to be given indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom. The Life in the UK test has been replaced by the English language requirement for some migrants. Some Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants are now able to take advantage of an accelerated route to settlement.