Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Compliance Requirements

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Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Compliance Requirements
18
Jun

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Compliance Requirements

In this ‘Tier 2 Licence Compliance Requirements’ article, we throw light on the duties and responsibilities of a Tier 2 sponsor licence holder. It is imperative that Tier 2 sponsor licence holders understand their duties and responsibilities and develop best practices and processes to strictly ensure that compliance is met, as otherwise their Tier 2 sponsor licence can be suspended or even revoked. The consequences can have grave ramifications on an organization, its developmental curve and business – organizations shall have to forgo and lose its talented employees, who may also be forced to leave the UK unless they obtain a position with another licenced employer within a stipulated period of time.

The support of a legal professional, in the long run, definitely tilts the scales in favour of the company holding a Tier 2 sponsor licence. It is highly advised to have a solicitor who can act as a one-stop expert on immigration laws, keep a tab on all of its timely changes and updates, and assist the organization in performing periodical mock UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) sponsor licence audits to ensure that the HR systems or Immigration compliance systems in place are performing as required by the Home Office.

Sponsor Licence Ratings

An approval of a sponsor licence application results in the applicant receiving an A rating. Subsequently the applicant can then start issuing certificates of sponsorship ( COS) in order to recruit staff from outside the EEA. Thereafter, non-fulfilment of sponsor duties can result in downgrading of the licence to a B-rating. This results in suspension of the ability to issue further certificates until the sponsor makes further improvements to bring the rating back up to an A. The Home Office also issues an action plan, failure to act on and implement which may result in revoking of one’s Tier 2 sponsor licence.    

Maintaining an A-rating: HR Policies and Procedures

Tier 2 sponsor guidance (SG) describes the sponsor duties and responsibilities for Tier 2 sponsor licence holders.

The Tier 2 sponsor guidance (SG) assists the sponsor licence holders to understand the aims of the various duties and responsibilities when creating the policies and procedures to meet compliance. As per the SG the aims of the sponsor duties are:

  • Prevention of abuse of sponsor assessment procedures
  • Capturing any concerning patterns of migrant behaviour early
  • Addressing possible weaknesses in the sponsor's processes which cause or are unable to address those patterns
  • monitor compliance with immigration rules and regulations

Key priorities that an organisation must consider and be able to demonstrate to comply with the duties and responsibilities of a Tier 2 sponsor licence holder are listed as below:

  • Specific personnel of a company must be assigned the responsibilities and the duties of that company. These personnel must be trained adequately and must fully understand the importance of UKVI compliance for Tier 2 sponsor licence holders. They must also be aware of external contacts in the business and industry who may share similar responsibilities to maintain compliance and the scope of that responsibility.
  • The employment contracts of the key personnel responsible for compliance management along with related responsibilities must duly describe and refer to those responsibilities therein.
  • A well-developed and updated mechanism must be devised by the sponsor company to keep up with changes in the SG. These changes must be timely communicated and reported to the relevant personnel. Involving and engaging an experienced immigration lawyer is one innovative way to stay updated with any new developments.
  • A backup support team must always be ready and step up in case of any assistance required by the person who is in charge of compliance. This may prove useful in case of any unpredicted contingency like sickness or some other related instances where the personnel in charge cannot attend to their duties or are indisposed by other matters.
  • If a sponsored worker’s job or circumstances change, then those changes must be duly discussed with the person in charge for documenting compliance before being implemented. This is especially when the changes if implemented may affect the compliance of the organization.
  • Efficient record-keeping and reporting systems must be instituted in place, as per the requirements, size, and type of the business.
  • All sponsored migrants must be aware of the Sponsor Licence holder's obligations and any time limits for compliance. This should be mentioned in all job offer letters and contracts, employment policies and staff handbooks, induction procedures as well as periodic follow-up reminders.

Additionally, UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders are strongly advised to fully cooperate with the Home Office and the UKVI officials. It is advisable that the organization must institute appropriate HR systems and make it available in time in case any inspection visit is made.

Conclusion

Tier 2 sponsor licence compliance is an extremely serious issue. Organizations planning and intending to hire talent from outside the EU/EEA must make themselves fully aware about the necessary sponsor licence rules and regulations within which they must operate. They also need to fully ramp up their HR systems and make sure they are fully operational in dealing with and fully handling the sponsor licence compliance. In the long run, it’ll pay to have an Immigration Compliance Software like Complygate by one’s side, especially when making one aware about the latest changes in sponsor guidance and making sure you have the right HR systems and processes in place to ensure strict regulatory compliance and speedy audits.

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