Tier 2 Sponsor licence – tips to remain compliant

Any employer wanting to employ overseas nationals from outside the EU will be advised by their immigration lawyer that they not only need to obtain a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, they must remain compliant with the conditions of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. With a compliance visit by the Home Office an ever-present possibility, Legal 500 recommended immigration solicitors, OTS Solicitors always advise business immigration law clients how vital it is to take steps to remain complaint with the conditions of your Ter 2 Sponsor Licence.
 
Ongoing responsibilities under the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence
 
One of the key tips to ensure you remain compliant with the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, and to be able to satisfy Home Office auditors during a compliance visit, is to fully understand what your ongoing responsibilities are. Most reputable London business immigration lawyers will advise you on your ongoing responsibilities as part of the process of applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. Unsurprisingly, given that the UK Government is essentially outsourcing part of its immigration compliance monitoring to businesses that directly benefit from the Tier 2 sponsor route, the Home Office is keen to ensure that its trust has not been misplaced. As a result, there are a number of key responsibilities that employers benefiting from a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence must comply with in order to retain the ability to recruit from overseas in this way.
 
Importance of key personnel
 
To remain compliant with the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, the applicant organisation must demonstrate that ‘key personnel’ are in place, and remain in place, throughout the term of the licence. These key personnel include an Authorising Officer, a key contact and Level 1 users. With a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in place, the organisation can then nominate Level 2 users. The personnel holding these functions for the purposes of operating the licence process are vital for ensuring compliance. The Authorising Officer has to be involved in the recruitment of migrant workers (in fact, must be ‘the most senior’ person responsible for the recruitment of migrant workers and for compliance with the system). While the Authorising Office may well be a primary contact for the Home Office, the Key Contact also holds the responsibility for being a point of contact for UK immigration and Visas. Level 1 users are the people doing the day to day work and will have full access to the Sponsorship Management System – the Key Contact and Authorising Officer may not have this access.
 
Given the responsibilities these roles entail, most immigration solicitors in London would agree that it’s imperative for organisations with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence to choose the employees who will hold these key personnel roles with care. If an individual moves on, either within the organisation or elsewhere, they must be replaced so that there is continuity for the purposes of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence requirements.
 
Scrupulous record keeping
 
As you can imagine, a huge part of ensuring compliance with the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is meticulous record keeping. There is a huge amount of information to be recorded and maintained. In the event of a compliance visit, you will be asked to give the auditor access to your HR systems and staff files. If your organisation is not compliant from the start, it is unlikely to be able to satisfy the Home Office that it is compliant with the ongoing record keeping obligations during a compliance visit. Taking advice from London immigration solicitors will help you ensure that you meet these requirements from the start of your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.
 
Given the nature of the information your organisation will have to hold as part of its record keeping obligations, compliance with the GDPR is also something you should consider.
 
Correct operation of Resident Labour Market Test
 
The Resident Labour Market Test is something that business immigration lawyers are often asked to advise on. It is designed to ensure that employers looking to recruit from outside the EU have first attempted to recruit from within the settled workforce in the UK.  Essentially the role must be advertised on Find A Job, the website which has replaced Universal Jobmatch following a competitive tendering process. 
 
Not only do you need to operate the Resident Labour Market test properly, you need to understand when it is not required. A UK business does not need to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test if the job is on the shortage occupation list, or if the salary for the role is over £159,600 p.a, for example, it is also not required if the employer is extending a Tier 2 visa in a similar job role for the same employer, or where the individual is switching from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa.
 
These are just a few tips to help organisations remain compliant with their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and satisfy the Home Office in the event of a compliance visit. The details are complex and deserve careful consideration by any UK organisation recruiting from outside the EU.
 
OTS Solicitors are business immigration lawyers with extensive experience advising and supporting clients to obtain their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, and to remain compliant with the scheme so that in the event of a compliance visit, they can satisfy the auditors that they are operating the Toer 2 Sponsor Licence scheme correctly. To discuss how we can help your organisation remain compliant, get in touch on 0203 959 9123.
 

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