Key changes to the Tiers 2 and 5 Sponsor Guidance

26 November 2015

Following the publication of the latest Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, as of 19 November, a number of changes have been made to the Tiers 2 and 5 Sponsor Guidance. Many of these are confirmations of practices already in existence but there are also a number of key changes.

Key changes

  • Sponsors must undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on all migrants who are likely to come into contact with children as part of their job function. A copy of this must be kept on the migrant’s HR file and is listed as an additional document in Appendix D – Keeping documents
  • Other new requirements have also been added to Appendix D including the need to obtain and keep reference letters and/or evidence of qualifications, plus see below specific requirements for Tier 2 (General) migrants*
  • Sponsors must inform the Home Office if they assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a family member of an employee of the Sponsor’s organisation, where it is a small or medium sized organisation or where the Sponsor is aware of a family relationship within a large organisation
  • The list of family members who cannot be assigned a CoS by a Level 1 or Level 2 user of the Sponsor Management System has been extended to include further family members
  • There is a recommendation that the Authorising Officer (AO) has a system in place to ensure, as a minimum, that assigned CoS are checked by the AO on a monthly basis
  • Where a sponsored migrant applies for indefinite leave to remain and the Sponsor’s licence is suspended, the application will be refused if the licence is subsequently revoked
  • If a Sponsor forgets to renew its licence, the Home Office has removed the 20 day grace period within which Sponsors were able to make a new application. The leave of all sponsored migrants will now be curtailed from when the licence lapses

Confirmations and clarifications

  • A new Annex 8 has been added which provides further guidance on the actions a Sponsor must take following takeovers, mergers or group restructuring. This seeks to clarify a number of areas which were previously unclear, including the position following a share sale. An example of this is provided to confirm that, where a Sponsor’s immediate owner has changed, often due to a share sale only, a new Sponsor Licence will be required but migrants will not need to make a change of employment application
  • The Home Office has confirmed that if it refuses a visa to a sponsored migrant on the basis that it does not consider a genuine vacancy exists, it may suspend the sponsor licence whilst it investigates
  • During a Home Office audit or compliance visit, the Home Office has confirmed that photographs may be taken of the Sponsor’s premises

Specific Tier 2 (General) changes

  • Further restrictions have been introduced for Tier 4 migrants switching into the Tier 2 (General) category – the institution where they studied their degree must be a publicly funded institution
  • The Home Office must be notified of any third party who helped recruit a migrant if the resident labour market test is not used. The requirement to notify the Home Office within 10 days has been removed
  • Within Appendix D, additional documents must be obtained and kept where a resident labour market test has not been undertaken, specifically copies of any qualifications the migrant holds to confirm skill level, and/or reference letters from previous employers or other evidence of experience

Further information

Should you be affected or have any questions about the issues raised in this blog, please contact Nicolas Rollason or a member of our immigration team

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