Tier 2 of the Points Based System covers skilled workers with a job offer from a UK employer, and replaced the Work Permit arrangements in November 2008.
The purpose of this Tier is to fill skills gaps in the UK labour force. The actual visa application for Leave to Enter or Remain in the UK, as with the rest of the PBS, is made by the individual. However, in order to score the required number of points under Tier 2, the applicant requires a Certificate of Sponsorship. A Certificate of Sponsorship under this tier can only be assigned by an employer who holds a Sponsor Licence. In common with the Work Permit arrangements, approval under this tier is based upon, and is conditional upon, the individual continuing in the relevant role with the relevant employer. Permission is only granted for that particular role with the relevant employer at the specified salary.
A key idea behind the Tier 2 arrangements is that organisations that benefit most from migration should help to ensure that the system is not abused. As the purpose of Tier 2 is to help organisations fill skills gaps, there are significant duties and responsibilities imposed on employers sponsoring migrant workers. In order to obtain a Sponsor Licence, employers needs to agree to certain duties, categorised as follows:
All of these duties and responsibilities are defined in detailed and extensive guidance documentation. There are also specific duties and responsibilities relating to different tiers and certain sub-categories within the tiers. Whilst a lot of these requirements fall under what might be termed ‘common sense’ or ‘good practice’, a number are specific and unusual. In our experience, even the biggest organisations with the most stringent HR policies don’t tend to meet all of these requirements until we let them know that they exist!
Registration, ratings and penalties
As part of the Points Based System, the Home Office has imposed a system to encourage compliance and penalise non-compliance on the part of sponsors. Non-compliance can result in a broad range of penalties from a simple warning through to the removal of an organisation’s Sponsor Licence and heavy fines. Beyond the consequences non-compliance can have for the organisation, sponsored migrant workers can also have their visas revoked, and thus face removal from the UK.
Employer Licensing and Registration
In order to obtain a Sponsor Licence, an employer must submit a detailed online application, and then provide a number of business-related supporting documents. If the employer complies with all the relevant obligations and responsibilities, the licence should remain valid for four years.
Each Certificate of Sponsorship is a virtual document issued through the online Sponsorship Management System. Employers provide initial estimates and predictions regarding the numbers and types of certificates they expect to issue through the system when first applying for a licence. These estimates require justification. There will normally be a need for relevant positions to have been advertised, and in the process of assigning a CoS the employer will need to provide details of recruitment advertising and confirm that no suitable settled workers were found.
UK Work Permits Ltd provides assistance to employers covering all aspects of Tier 2, from initial applications for a Sponsor Licence, through to helping with compliance issues and assigning CoS. Please contact us for details of our services relating to Tier 2 of the Points Based System.