Housekeeping reminder for Tier 2 and 5 sponsors
20 January 2020
If you are a sponsor under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System, you should recently have received your annual email from the Home Office to remind you to submit your annual CoS allocation request. We can help you to submit your request, or if you have not received the email, we can follow this up for you.
It is also advisable to use this as a prompt for reviewing your sponsor licence details to ensure that they are all up to date, reporting any changes that may have been accidentally missed and reminding yourself of the other sponsorship duties that you are responsible for. Below is a helpful summary of some of the reporting requirements that apply to Tier 2 and 5 sponsors, but please do get in touch with a member of the immigration team or your usual Lewis Silkin contact if you need assistance with making reports, or you’d like for us to carry out a mock audit so that we can help you be in the best position ahead of a Home Office audit.
Why is this important?
The Home Office regularly reviews your sponsor licence from the back end and aims to audit all sponsors at least once every four years. Non-compliance with any of these duties can lead to your licence being revoked. Post-Brexit, it is likely that you will rely on your licence for even more employees than before as EEA nationals will likely need to use sponsored immigration routes from January 2021.
Timing is key as you must report changes on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) by set deadlines. If an event is not reported within the necessary time-frame, it should still be reported as soon as possible.
You must report the following within 20 working days:
- A change of the organisation’s name
- A change of office address, or an additional office address
- A change of Authorising Officer or Key Contact identity or contact details, including change of office address
- If the organisation or an owner, director, Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 User or person running the business day-to-day is convicted of a relevant offence as set out in the Tier 2 and 5 sponsor licence guidance
- Changes to the organisation’s registration with a governing body that is required to be registered with
- Organisational structure changes including mergers, demergers or takeovers
- Some or all of the business is sold (if a new owner has an interest of 51% or more, then a new sponsor licence application will be required and should be prepared prior to the change to ensure the timing doesn’t cause issues for sponsored workers)
- A substantial change to the nature of the business
- The business stops trading or goes into administration
If your organisation stops being a charity or small business (or vice versa) you must report this within 10 working days. How you are categorised has a significant impact on the Skills Charge levied on all your sponsored workers.
You must report the following events within 10 working days:
- If a sponsored migrant does not turn up on their first day of work
- If you need to cease sponsoring a migrant, e.g. because their contract ends or does not start, or they change visa category
- If there are changes to a migrant’s job title or core duties – a significant change in duties could lead to a change in SOC code which would require a whole new visa application to be approved before they start the new role
- Change in salary including if the migrant goes on unpaid leave (annual incremental increases in line with company policy are exempt from this)
- If the location of employment changes, including where there is an additional office location of employment or regular working from home, or if the migrant goes on secondment or is a sportsperson going on loan
- If a migrant is affected by TUPE or similar protection, e.g. if the sponsoring organisation is involved in a merger or demerger
- If a migrant is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permission (this must be reported within 10 working days of the 10th day of absence)
- If a migrant goes has unpaid leave accruing to four weeks in any calendar year – this will also normally lead to the migrant’s visa being curtailed
You should also be aware that if a Tier 2 General migrant’s visa has already been granted and their start date needs to be delayed, the new start date cannot be more than 28 days from the start date listed on their CoS or 28 days from the date their leave was granted, whichever is later. If the new start date is within the allowed 28 days, you should report the new date on the SMS as soon as this is known. A start date later than the allowed 28 days will require sponsorship to be withdrawn and a fresh application to be made.