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Sponsor Management System – Services for Employers

(This page is relevant to employers who have already obtained a Sponsor’s Licence. If you do not already hold a Sponsor’s Licence, please click here.)

For our latest information on limits affecting Tier 2 of the Points Based System, see our news pages.

The difficulties

Tier 2 of the Points Based System is a relatively new, and quite different, system to the established work permit arrangements that were replaced by it.

In the new system, the employer (sponsor) is given access to a speedy and convenient system which enables them to issue Certificates of Sponsorship without having to submit application forms, or evidence, to the Border Agency.

However, in return for this convenience and speed, the employer must accept significant responsibility. Licensed Sponsors are “trusted” by the UK Border Agency:

1. To comply with all of the general Sponsor’s Duties.

2. To comply with all and any current and future guidance regarding specific situations, and specific occupations, (we can call this “case-specific guidance” )`and

3. To be able to demonstrate this compliance at any time in the future.

Employers are given the ability to basically approve their own application, based on the promise that they will always follow the current government guidance. If they get it wrong, the Border Agency can take action against them, which can have very serious consequences. It could be said that with the new system employers are given enough rope to hang themselves – and taught how to tie a knot. Many informed commentators have described the situation as “a time bomb”.

The previous work permit arrangements certainly had problems. The Border Agency themselves had often faced difficulties (and showed inconsistencies) just in interpreting their own rules. Sometimes completely valid work permit applications would be wrongly refused, and vice versa.

The dangers of now putting the initial decision and the power to act on it, into the hands of the employer are very clear and present. With the old system, a decision was reached by the Border Agency, and whether the employer agreed or disagreed, they would know there they stood. Under the new system, the employer must make a decision first, and then at some unknown point in the future will be called to account for, and defend that decision.

The situation is worsened by the level of thought and planning that has, or rather has not, been invested into the actual operation of the system. One example of this is the woefully inadequate Standard Occupational Classification codes, which leave massive areas of employment activity excluded. Employers are forced to make a choice between one completely irrelevant Code of Standards, and another. They must then follow the relevant procedures relating to that code, and be prepared to defend their decision to the Border Agency – a decision which was only ever an impossible choice between two very non-relevant job descriptions.

The current arrangements is sure to produce, before long, one or more very high and serious case of non-compliance, and poor use of the Sponsor Management System, by a large corporate employer. The Border Agency is likely to take opportunities to set high profile examples. Evidence of more widespread challenges with employers trying to use the system will then surely start to emerge. Having employers check their own applications (a key feature of the new system) might then be identified as a key cause of the problems.


Many employers remain blissfully unaware of the potential risks inherent in a system of this type. However more and more employers have been approaching UK Work Permits Ltd for help, with the message “We got our licence – we were given an A-Rating (with no Border Agency inspection). We’re not clear on how the new system works, but we know we need to keep hold of our licence, and our staff”.

UK Work Permits Ltd can help employers in the following ways:

-Comprehensive Initial assistance with the general compliance requirements attached to Sponsorship Under the Points Based System

-Professional administration of the Sponsor Management System (covering each and every CoS issued). As specialists in the field, with access to a large, shared pool of experience through our other clients, we can help ensure clients’ compliance on a case by case level.

Our Service Packages are designed to offer complete peace of mind. Our agreements run for a set period of time according to your preferences, and during that period we offer comprehensive management and support of all work-related immigration activity (acting as the sole representative). Our Service Packages allow employers to benefit fully from the new system, without falling foul of the rules, or risking the removal of their licence (or any other punitive measures).

See our page on LinkedIn, including some recommendations from a few of our clients

If you would like to discuss your requirements, or our services, in more detail, please contact us for a free, no-pressure, initial discussion.


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