Tag Archives: sponsorship

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 If the sponsored worker is unpaid for more than 4 weeks from the original start date, the sponsorship must be withdrawn.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.

 

Sponsoring a migrant under Tier 2

Sponsoring a migrant under Tier 2: assigning a restricted / unrestricted certificate or correcting an assigned certificate.

To enter or remain in the UK as a Tier 2 General or Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Visa a migrant must have been issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a Tier 2 Licensed Employer/Sponsor.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a database record in the UKVI’s Sponsor Management System.

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is the points based system’s replacement of the work permit scheme, which existed under the previous employment immigration route.

A Sponsor will have to satisfy themselves that all mandatory Tier 2 employment requirements have been met, such as, for instance, the resident labour market test was carried out in line with the UKVI’s guidance, before assigning a live CoS to a migrant worker.

A CoS takes the form of a 10 digit Certificate of Sponsorship reference number, which the migrant worker will need to apply for a visa or a leave extension. Although not strictly compulsory, Entry Clearance and Immigration Officers tend to insist on being provided with a hard copy of the long version of the certificate’s contents rather than relying on the CoS number.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

A Certificate of Sponsorship is a virtual document, which confirms that a UKVI licenced employer is sponsoring a foreign migrant to come or remain in the UK to work.
It is pivotal that the CoS is issued correctly if the migrant worker is be granted a visa or an extension of their leave.

Errors on the CoS may result in the visa or leave extension application being refused.

Mistakes may also be picked up during a UKVI compliance audit, which could have negative and very costly repercussions.
Sponsors found non-compliant may be fined and have their licence downgraded or even revoked.

There are two types of CoS:
▪ Restricted, AND
▪ Unrestricted

As a general rule restricted CoS are used for most out of country visa applications.

Unrestricted CoS’s on the other hand are used in support of in country leave extensions, which are not subject to the immigration cap.

What are Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Restricted Certificates are subject to the immigration cap.

They are granted by the UKVI on a case by case basis.

To obtain a restricted CoS a Sponsor must submit an application to the UKVI by the 5th of the month. If granted the Sponsor will be able to assign the CoS to their selected migrant worker.

The award of restricted certificates is ruled by a points based system.
▪ Priority is given to the roles listed on the Shortage Occupation List, THEN
▪ Roles which require a PhD and is in the research field, THEN
▪ Roles with higher level salary for which the Resident Labour Market has been tested (i.e. the role has been advertised in line with the relevant code of practice).

What are Un-restricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Tier 2 Sponsors are granted an allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship on a yearly basis. The allocation is based on their usage of the scheme in the previous year and their forecast for the year ahead.

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship can be assigned to:

▪ Intra Company Transfers (where an Tier 2 ICT license is held)
▪ Existing migrants who are extending their employment with the same employer within the UK under Tier 2 General or ICT;
▪ New employees (Tier 2 or Work Permit Holders) who are moving to a new employer within the UK under Tier 2 General;
▪ Those seeking admission into the UK to fill a vacancy attracting a salary of £153,500 or more as a Tier 2 General
▪ Tier 4 graduates who are switching into Tier 2 General within the UK;
▪ Tier 2 Sports People; and
▪ Tier 2 Ministers of Religion.

How to make changes to a certificate of sponsorship once assigned?

Sponsors must make sure that the migrant worker’s details are correct when they create and assign a CoS.

Sponsors can use the ‘sponsor note’ field on the SMS to amend minor errors identified after the certificate of sponsorship has been assigned.

Examples of acceptable amendments are corrections to a mistyped name or date of birth.

If the main details are incorrect, the Sponsor must cancel the certificate and assign a new one so that to ensure that the information are the same as the one in the migrant worker’s application.

According the the UKVI’s guidance, new certificate must be assigned when for example:
▪ the SOC code or tier/category is incorrect; or
▪ more than one of the migrant’s identifiable details need to be changed – such as a full change to the date of birth and nationality, or to the surname and date of birth.

The sponsor note field can only be used to notify changes on a live certificate of sponsorship. Certificates that have expired or been cancelled cannot be amended.

For further information please contact us.

November 2014 – Changes to Tier 2 and Tier 1 Investors & Entrepreneurs

Changes to the Immigration Rules affecting Tier 2, Tier 1 (Investors) and Tier 1 (entrepreneurs) applicants will take effect from 6th November 2014:

Tier 2

Going forward the UKVI  will have the power to assess whether a genuine vacancy exists.

This level of scrutiny will apply if and when there are reasonable grounds to believe either that the job offer does not exist, or that it has been re-drafted so that  to meet the Tier 2 skills threshold, or has been specifically tailored to exclude resident workers, or where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not qualified to do the job.

In addition, sponsors will no longer be able to sponsor migrants to fill a position for a third party. In other words, sponsors, such recruitment agencies, for instance, will only be able to sponsor migrants destined to work within their own organisation rather than one of their clients.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Migrants can no longer be sponsored by umbrella organisations (such as payroll/administration/recruitment/placement entities) to work for third parties on a contractual basis.

Tier 1 (Investors)

The minimum investment threshold for those applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK as Tier 1 (Investor) migrants will be increased from £1 to £2 million. The top-up requirement will be removed.

The full investment sum (£2 million) will have to be invested in prescribed forms of investments (share or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, or UK Government bonds), rather than 75% of the sum as currently required.

Applicants will no longer be able to source their funds by way of a loan.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Tier 1 (Investor) migrants currently in the UK under this category will not be subject to the changed requirements when applying for extensions or for indefinite leave to remain.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneurs)

From 6th November 2014, those applying in the UK must prove that the investment funds are held in the UK. Those applying for the accelerated route for Indefinite Leave to Remain will be required to show they have invested their funds as required by the rules.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

 


 

 

 

2014 Certificates of Sponsorship – What, which and how?

To enter or remain in the UK as a Tier 2 General or Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Visa you must have been issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a Tier 2 Licensed Employer/Sponsor.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a database record in the UKVI’s Sponsor Management System.

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is the points based system’s replacement of the work permit scheme, which existed under the previous employment immigration route.

A Sponsor will have to satisfy themselves that all mandatory Tier 2 employment requirements have been met, such as, for instance, the resident labour market test was carried out in line with the UKVI’s guidance, before assigning a live CoS to a migrant worker.

A CoS takes the form of a 10 digit Certificate of Sponsorship reference number, which the migrant worker will need to apply for a visa or a leave extension. Although not strictly compulsory, Entry Clearance and Immigration Officers tend to insist on being provided with a hard copy of the long version of the certificate’s contents rather than relying on the CoS number.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

A Certificate of Sponsorship is a virtual document, which confirms that a UKVI licenced employer is sponsoring a foreign migrant to come or remain in the UK to work.
It is pivotal that the CoS is issued correctly if the migrant worker is be granted a visa or an extension of their leave.

Errors on the CoS may result in the visa or leave extension application being refused.

Mistakes may also be picked up during a UKVI compliance audit, which could have negative and very costly repercussions.
Sponsors found non-compliant may be fined and have their licence downgraded or even revoked.

There are two types of CoS:
▪ Restricted, AND
▪ Unrestricted

As a general rule restricted CoS are used for most out of country visa applications.

Unrestricted CoS’s on the other hand are used in support of in country leave extensions, which are not subject to the immigration cap.

What are Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Restricted Certificates are subject to the immigration cap.

They are granted by the UKVI on a case by case basis.

To obtain a restricted CoS a Sponsor must submit an application to the UKVI by the 5th of the month. If granted the Sponsor will be able to assign the CoS to their selected migrant worker.

The award of restricted certificates is ruled by a points based system.
▪ Priority is given to the roles listed on the Shortage Occupation List, THEN
▪ Roles which require a PhD and is in the research field, THEN
▪ Roles with higher level salary for which the Resident Labour Market has been tested (i.e. the role has been advertised in line with the relevant code of practice).

What are Un-restricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Tier 2 Sponsors are granted an allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship on a yearly basis. The allocation is based on their usage of the scheme in the previous year and their forecast for the year ahead.

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship can be assigned to:

▪ Intra Company Transfers (where an Tier 2 ICT license is held)
▪ Existing migrants who are extending their employment with the same employer within the UK under Tier 2 General or ICT;
▪ New employees (Tier 2 or Work Permit Holders) who are moving to a new employer within the UK under Tier 2 General;
▪ Those seeking admission into the UK to fill a vacancy attracting a salary of £153,500 or more as a Tier 2 General
▪ Tier 4 graduates who are switching into Tier 2 General within the UK;
▪ Tier 2 Sports People; and
▪ Tier 2 Ministers of Religion.

How to make changes to a certificate of sponsorship once assigned?

Sponsors must make sure that the migrant worker’s details are correct when they create and assign a CoS.

Sponsors can use the ‘sponsor note’ field on the SMS to amend minor errors identified after the certificate of sponsorship has been assigned.

Examples of acceptable amendments are corrections to a mistyped name or date of birth.

If the main details are incorrect, the Sponsor must cancel the certificate and assign a new one so that to ensure that the information are the same as the one in the migrant worker’s application.

According the the UKVI’s guidance, new certificate must be assigned when for example:
▪ the SOC code or tier/category is incorrect; or
▪ more than one of the migrant’s identifiable details need to be changed – such as a full change to the date of birth and nationality, or to the surname and date of birth.

The sponsor note field can only be used to notify changes on a live certificate of sponsorship. Certificates that have expired or been cancelled cannot be amended.

For further information please contact us.

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Compliance: UKBA Audit

Complying with UKBA’s requirements can often lead to many challenges due to the frequency of changes within the rules, processes and procedures set by the UK government

Our experienced team offers a wide range of compliance services to help you run your business without the constant worry of not meeting the UKBA’s standards.

Our range of services include a one-off spot check to a thorough audit of your current systems and presenting a report of recommendations, through to conducting an implementation process making your organisation fully compliant

Our compliance services include:

  • Application for and renewal of your sponsor’s licence
  • UKBA Compliance – HR System and compliance
  • Preventing Illegal Working – staff vetting and annual immigration status document

Our UKBA Compliance service packages include:

  • UKBA Compliance Audit
  • UKBA Compliance Status Review
  • UKBA Compliance Status Review & Implementation
  • Advanced UKBA Compliance Checks
  • Emergency/Priority UKBA Compliance Audit Checks

Our specialist immigration team has extensive corporate immigration experience in compliance gained attending announced UKBA’s official audits on client sites.

Speak to one of our UKBA Compliance Specialists today

Employment Permission Tier 1, 2 and 5

Tier 2 GENERAL

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.

Tier 2 INTRA COMPANY TRANSFEREES

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.