Tier 2 – For employers with a licence
“Under Tier 2 of the Points Based System, once employers have a licence, they are free to issue Certificates of Sponsorship to migrants without all the trouble of making work permit applications”
Opinions vary among employers about Tier 2 (the new “work permit” system); the inherent additional responsibilities for employers, and the work involved in managing the new system. There is also, of course, variation in the level of knowledge and awareness of the new system among employers. If you are aware of gaps in knowledge, please feel free to get in touch for an initial discussion. Alternatively, the text below may form a useful initial summary.
Tier 2 has been introduced by the UK Border Agency as a way of making applications to employ skilled migrant workers more user-friendly, speedy and efficient. What is not immediately clear however, is that whilst the process appears to be much easier for the employer, in reality most of the requirements of the old work permit arrangements still stand, and employers now shoulder the onerous responsibility of effectively checking their own applications (with potentially severe consequences when they get it wrong).
This of course, is where the main change has taken place: Instead of the application for a work permit being checked by the Border Agency when when it is made, the employer is now trusted to have checked and adhered themselves to the rules affecting each situation they encounter, before issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship. The Border Agency will, or may, check the application retrospectively, at some point in the future.
With the old system, the employer submitted an application, with all their evidence, and then eventually they received a decision on that application, one way or another. Either an approval or a refusal would be confirmed, and the employer would know where they stood. The new system is different.
With the new system, employers don’t need to submit an “application” for a “work permit”, so no evidence needs to be submitted when they go through the process of issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship to someone. On the surface, employers will have the freedom to issue Certificates of Sponsorships more or less as they wish, within their annual quota. No documents will normally be checked before the CoS is issued. However, at any time after the CoS is issued, Border Agency can ask (and will) to see all supporting evidence relating to any CoS that the employer issues. This is the reason why it is even more important under the new system, that that a perfect paper trail, and a perfect file of evidence exists in relation to every CoS, showing that the correct procedure has been followed in each case.
Under the new system it is certain that many employers who are not careful, or not fully informed, will issue certificates they believe to be valid, and only find out, much later, that the Border Agency don’t agree.
Under the old system, a poorly prepared work permit application would (at worst) lead to a refusal. One wrongly issued or poorly documented CoS could, however, lead to punitive action from the Border Agency, and serious, long lasting effects on the whole organisation.
Of course there is an alternative. Employers can spend less time, and have less worry, and less hassle, if they outsource management of the Sponsor Management System to UK Work Permits Ltd. Over the coming years, UK Work Permits Ltd will help many employers to avoid issuing questionable CoS, avoid failing to provide relevant evidence, and avoid punitive action by the Border Agency.
Peace of mind and general compliance
Many employers have been issued with a Sponsor’s Licence without having received an inspection by the Border Agency. Some of these now hold a licence, and the responsibility that goes with it, but they are far less than 100% confident that they understand their responsibilities relating to general sponsorship and relating to individual circumstances. Many are far less than certain that, in the event of general compliance inspection, the Border Agency would not identify any problems. We can help employers in this situation to “catch up” with the requirements, and their responsibilities, relieving them of both the administrative burden and the concerns caused by the new system.
If you hold your Sponsor’s Licence already, but have concerns, or would like to consider getting help, please get in touch for an informal, pressure-free initial discussion.