A report commissioned by an immigration law firm found that a majority of British companies were not aware of the correct rules for sponsoring overseas workers. Consequently, many businesses could face fines, closure or even prison sentences for directors if they fail to comply with the visa rules.
The report found that two-thirds of the businesses surveyed were unaware what documents they needed to keep on file for sponsored overseas workers, and 95 per cent were not reporting all the required changes in circumstances for sponsored workers.
In addition, the report found just 7 per cent of companies were advertising job vacancies correctly when filling a position with a non-EEA citizen
The findings revealed that businesses are not carrying out sufficient internal compliance audits to ensure internal policies, procedures and guidelines follow the required ‘duties’ of a sponsor to ensure they meet the Home Office’s stringent compliance checks.
As a result, the report warned that up to 95 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses risk having their sponsor licence revoked and many could even face closure under strict new provisions of the Immigration Act 2016. Directors risk heavy fines or even a prison sentence.
Employers wishing to retain both EU and non-EEA workers need to get fully prepared ahead of Brexit. In order to do so, the services of an immigration solicitor advising and assisting for Sponsorship Licence applications but also for the compliance with visa rules are now primordial.
If you wish to apply for a Sponsorship Licence or are already a sponsor and want to make sure that you comply with the complex immigration rules, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team or our senior solicitor, Pam Barar.
On 6th April 2017, The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 came into force. This new piece of legislation provides that a sponsor, subject to certain exemptions must pay a charge each time it assigns a certificate of sponsorship to a skilled worker.
A sponsor must pay a charge to the Secretary of State each time it assigns a certificate of sponsorship to a skilled worker. Failure to pay the charge to the Secretary of State means that the purported assignment of certificate is invalid whilst the obligation to pay the charge is outstanding.
Additionally, as the Secretary of State can refund or waive part or all the charge, failure to pay the outstanding charges does not prevent the valid assignment of a certificate of sponsorship when the Secretary of State waives part or all the charge.
However, there are certain instances whereby a sponsor is not obligated to pay the charge when assigning a certificate of sponsorship to a skilled worker –
(a) in respect of an occupation coming within any of the following codes in version 5.1 of the Standard Occupational Classification 2010 Index:
(i) 2111 (chemical scientists);
(ii) 2112 (biological scientists and biochemists);
(iii) 2113 (physical scientists);
(iv) 2114 (social and humanities scientists);
(v) 2119 (natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified);
(vi) 2150 (research and development managers);
(vii) 2311 (higher education teaching professionals);
(b) who is intended to be the subject of an intra-company transfer as a graduate trainee, that being a temporary posting for a period of no more than 12 months, to the United Kingdom branch of a multi-national organisation as part of a structured graduate training programme, which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role;
(c) in respect of whom the sponsor has already assigned a certificate of sponsorship (“the first certificate”), but only to the extent that any subsequent certificate of sponsorship is assigned in respect of a period of prospective leave which does not exceed the period in respect of which the first certificate was assigned;
(d) who has leave to enter or leave to remain for the purpose of study;
(e) in circumstances where—
(f) that sponsor has already assigned a certificate of sponsorship to that individual (“the first certificate”); but
(g) by virtue of paragraph (d), the sponsor was not obliged to pay the charge when the first certificate was assigned; and
(h) the assignment of any subsequent certificate of sponsorship relates to the same role as the first certificate;
(i) who seeks entry clearance for a period of less than six months.
Changes made following the Migration Advisory Committee review include:
If the worker has been offered the job within 6 months of the milk round beginning, the sponsors from April 2017 will be able to rely on a milk round that finished up to 4 years before assigning a certificate of sponsorship.
The job title – nurse is still on the shortage occupations list, however, the requirements are amended to require a Resident Labour Market Test to be carried out before a nurse is allocation a Certificate of Sponsorship.
Amendments are made if the applicant wishes to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 permit, and if the applicant studied at a UK well known body or an institution in receipt of public funding as a higher education body, and to also avert an applicant from depending on a qualification acquired via further additional study.
From 7 November 2016, a new Priority Change of Circumstances Service for Tier 2 and Tier 5 Sponsors has been introduced.
Change of Circumstance Sponsorship is normally considered under the 18 weeks service standard.
However, Priority Service allows Tier 2 and Tier 5 A-rated sponsors to get a faster consideration (within 5 working days) for the following change of circumstances request:
Please contact us should you have queries regarding this.