Non-EEA migrants must be sponsored by an organisation or company that holds a Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor licence.
A sponsor licence is effectively a formal permission given by the Home Office allowing the sponsorship of migrants. Once a sponsor licence has been granted, it is valid for four years and enables the holder to act as a sponsor when hiring non-EEA migrants during this period. Although each individual applicant will need to make a separate visa application based on their unique circumstances, obtaining sponsorship is one of the main requirements and must be secured before an application can be submitted.
Sponsor licences are granted on the basis of two main principles:
- firstly, that they will be issued to those organisations that benefit most directly from migration, such as employers, education providers or other bodies who are bringing in migrants. The expectation is therefore that they should play their part in ensuring the system is not abused; and
- secondly, the need to ensure that those applying to come to the UK for work or to study are eligible and that a reputable employer or education provider genuinely wishes to take them on.
A non-EEA migrant must therefore be sponsored before they can work in the UK.
Compliance as a sponsor licence holder
As a licensed sponsor, the Home Office expect you to play your part in ensuring that the system is not abused. This means that you must fulfil certain duties. Some of these duties apply to all sponsors, whilst others are specific to those licensed under certain tiers or categories.
Sponsors have a duty to ensure that they are only hiring migrants who are appropriately qualified, registered or experienced to do the job. The sponsor should not assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) where there is no genuine vacancy.
The sponsor must also ensure that the migrants they are hiring only undertake the specific role set out in their CoS and if any migrant’s circumstances change that these are reported to the Home Office within a specified timeframe.
If there has been a change in the structure of the organisation, i.e. there has been a takeover, change of ownership or a merger, these changes should also be reported to the Home Office, usually within 20 working days.
Gherson has extensive experience with all corporate immigration matters, including sponsorship licences, HR compliance and mock audits. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.