As the UK moves into the final few months before a general election, sponsors’ immigration compliance is likely to become even more closely monitored by the Home Office. Below are five top tips to assist you with the complexities of the Points Based System.
1. When recruiting from overseas, check that the information you have provided in support of a Tier 2 general application is consistent
For overseas recruitment where permission to work in the UK is required a sponsor must complete the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) which, in simple terms, is a period of advertising to demonstrate that no suitably skilled worker can be found to perform the role within the UK or EEA. In such cases, it is important to ensure that the information provided on the adverts and that notified to the Home Office is consistent.
For example, if you advertise a role at £75,000 – £80,000 per annum you must not fall into the trap of paying the successful candidate more than £80,000 per annum. This is likely to result in a failure to demonstrate that there is no suitably qualified person in the UK to do the role on the basis that if you had advertised at the higher salary you may have found a suitably qualified person within the UK or EEA.
2. When completing the RLMT ensure that you keep the details of those who apply for the advertised role and the outcomes of their applications
In many cases, sponsors already have a preferred candidate in mind when completing the RLMT and may therefore be tempted to take shortcuts with the recruitment process. Shortcuts should be avoided, however, as at some point during the migrant’s appointment the Home Office are likely to carry out a compliance visit and will review the steps you have taken to fill the post. The Home Office will expect to see a copy of all CV’s and/or applications received together with the company’s response. Where individuals have been short listed, the Home Office will expect to see interview notes together with reasons for rejecting candidates from the UK or EEA. Therefore a thorough recruitment process should be carried out.
3. Is your new Tier 2 migrant going to be located at a different branch to those named on the Sponsor Licence?
Sponsors usually apply for a sponsor licence for a number of branches across the UK. The sponsor licence is then valid for four years. Sometimes where a new migrant is being recruited it is easy to forget which branches have been named on the sponsor licence as this information is not available on the Home Office on-line portal ( Sponsor Management System). It is always useful to check that the work location of the migrant matches the branch details contained on the sponsor licence to avoid delay or refusal of the visa application. If the migrant is to be located at a new branch then proof will need to be provided that this branch is linked to the sponsor. A sworn declaration will suffice in this case.
4. Are your company details up to date with the Home Office?
During the lifetime of a sponsor licence, a sponsor’s organisation details may change. Sponsors may forget to advise the Home Office of address changes or an employee’s work location change. These issues may only come to light when a new migrant is being recruited or at an extension stage for an existing migrant. It is important that all details are updated with the Home Office promptly in order to avoid delay with visa applications. Where an employee’s work location has changed then a lease/rental agreement may be needed to provide proof of the new location.
5. Has an individual’s job title/job duties changed?
If a migrant has been recruited on the basis of a particular job title/job role, changes during the course of their employment will need to be considered carefully to determine whether the employee still fits within the same job role or whether a change of employment application is required as a result of the additional or different duties. Where a change of employment application is required you must undertake the RLMT again to satisfy the Home Office that no UK or EEA National is suitable to fulfil the new role. If the changes to a migrant’s role are minor then an extension application may be suitable.
To gain a further practical insight into the Points Based System, please attend our immigration workshops taking place next month, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.
This post was edited by Rizwana Ishaq.