A couple of key changes to the sponsor licence application process have been included in the latest Tier 2 & 5 sponsor guidance.
Sponsor Licence Application: Supporting documents
A welcome change has been made to the Tier 2 sponsor licence application process in that UKVI has recognised that:
- it can be difficult for new businesses to collate the documents needed to support a sponsor licence application; and
- a number of documents can now be accessed on-line.
The new sponsor guidance provides greater flexibility in relation to the documentation required from new businesses and enables sponsors to point UKVI to websites in relation to other documents. The new Appendix A guidance relating to supporting documents can be found here.
New tests to check if a sponsor is likely to comply with Tier 2
However, less welcome are new subjective tests on sponsors to assess their reasons for applying for a sponsor licence or for Certificates of Sponsorship (‘CoS’).
The new sponsor guidance includes a new test for Tier 2 sponsors. This enables UKVI to assess, as part of the sponsor licence application process, whether or not the sponsor can offer genuine employment which meets the Tier 2 (General) criteria on skill level and appropriate rates of pay.
UKVI can also now carry out this test when a sponsor applies for new COS.
UKVI has listed a couple of examples of when and how it may carry out this assessment as follows:
‘You do not currently, or have never employed anyone in a role which meets the current Tier 2 requirements. For example, you are a small retail outlet and currently only have people working for you as shop assistants or in other low-skilled roles.’
‘You tell us you require (or have already sponsored) a person in a managerial role which appears unnecessary, for example you are a small fast food outlet and you tell us you need, or have appointed a full-time HR manager or publicity manager.’
If you are intending to apply for a new sponsor licence or for new CoS it is important that careful consideration is given to these new tests. UKVI is likely to scrutinise many applications and it is likely that there will be a rise in both the sponsor licence application refusal rates and in rejections of requests for more CoS.
We are also concerned that the new test could adversely impact the ability of international students to transfer from Tier 4 to Tier 2 and we will be monitoring whether or not this happens closely.
If you require specialist assistance in relation to a sponsor licence application or any other immigration law issues, please contact us.