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Sponsoring Workers from Overseas: Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Visas

Sponsoring Workers from Overseas: Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Visas

Sponsoring Workers from Overseas

If your organisation requires skilled employees and professionals from abroad, our immigration lawyers at IBB Solicitors can provide expert advice on sponsoring employees, obtaining work visas and much more.

Tier 2 Sponsor licence

Businesses who wish to employ workers from outside the European Union must first obtain permission from the Home Office in the form of a Sponsor licence. Similarly, overseas nationals who wish to come to the UK to work must have a sponsoring company.

The purpose of the sponsorship system is to ensure that a worker from overseas will fill a genuine vacancy that cannot be filled by a suitably qualified or skilled person settled in the UK and it involves a pledge from the sponsor, the business, that it will fulfil all of the duties expected of it when sponsoring the overseas worker.

Since the UK government places significant trust in sponsoring businesses, it is expected that the Tier 2 Sponsor will act in accordance with the UK Immigration rules and guidance. The application for a Tier 2 Sponsor licence will only be granted on the condition that the business can demonstrate the following:

  • That the business is a genuine organisation, operating lawfully in the UK;
  • That the organisation is run and managed by honest, dependable and reliable members;
  • That systems in place enabling the organisation to carry out sponsorship duties, including (but not limited to) a responsible recruitment process, sensible human resources practices, recordkeeping and monitoring of employees.
  • That the organisation can offer genuine employment that meets the appropriate skill level and rate of pay.

As a part of the application process for the Tier 2 Sponsor licence, the organisation must complete an online application form, provide supporting documents and explain what vacancy(ies) they require to be filled by workers from outside of the EU and why.

IBB Solicitors will be pleased to assist your organisation with obtaining the Tier 2 Sponsor licence. We will make sure that your organisation fits the Home Office criteria, the job positions meet the requirements and that you submit correct paperwork in support of the application. We can also prepare you for compliance visits by the Home Office, help maintain your Sponsor licence and keep you abreast of your duties as a Tier 2 Sponsor.

Categories of Tier 2 visas

A Tier 2 sponsor will decide under which Tier 2 category they would like to sponsor their overseas worker. There are a number of options to choose from depending on the type of organisation and the length of time the worker is expected to spend in the job role.

Tier 2 General

This category is appropriate for a worker who is required to do at least a graduate level job. Normally, this category would be used for permanent hires. The maximum time allowed for a worker to be sponsored under the Tier 2 General visa is 6 years. However, a holder of the Tier 2 General may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of residency under Tier 2 General sponsorship and, subsequently, apply to be naturalised as a British Citizen.

In some cases, the Tier 2 Sponsor will need to advertise the role to the UK workforce for a 28 day period, before the role can be offered to an overseas worker. This process is called the Resident Labour Market Test. At the end of the advertising period, the Tier 2 Sponsor must review all applications received in response to the advertisement and make sure that there are no settled worker who can be employed do the job. If the Tier 2 Sponsor failed to identify a settled person for the job, a request for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship must be made to the Home Office. Once the Home Office has approved the request, the sponsoring business can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to the overseas worker which will then be used as the basis for the Tier 2 General visa application.

In instances when the vacancy on offer attracts a salary of at least £155,300, the Tier 2 Sponsor may proceed to issuing the Certificate of Sponsorship without the need to advertise the role to the UK job market. It is also possible for recent Tier 4 student graduates ‘to switch’ into Tier 2 General visa category without the need for a sponsor to conduct the Resident Labour Market Test.

It must be noted that the workers will need to meet entry visa requirements, such as proving their ability to speak the English language, standard background / character/ immigration history checks, the payment of visa fees and an Immigration health surcharge and maintenance requirements.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer

The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) category caters for multinational organisations that require the transfer of their existing overseas employees to a UK office on temporary assignments. The two of the most popular sub-categories are the Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff and the Tier 2 ICT Short Term Staff.

Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff allows sponsorship of overseas employees of the same organisation to work in the UK for a period for up to 5 years (9 years if paid a salary of at least £155,300). Tier 2 ICT Short Term Staff visas can be granted for a maximum period of 12 months.

It must be noted that ICT categories do not provide an option for the sponsorship holder to settle in the UK permanently and they must leave the UK before their visa runs out, or if they stop working prior to the expected end date.

The usual visa application process must be followed to obtain entry visas for sponsored employees; however, there is no requirement for the worker to prove their English language ability.

Contact our immigration law experts today

At IBB Solicitors, we can carefully review the requirements of your organisation and provide the best advice to support your business vision and objectives. Our expertise and skills mean that we are able to deliver high-quality advice in a cost-effective and timely manner. If you like to discuss your specific requirements, please contact us today on immigrationteam@ibblaw.co.uk or 03456 381381 to see how we can help you with your immigration matter.