01293 889691 / info@twolimited.co.uk 

FAQS TIER 2 SPONSORS 

Please select a heading to expand the full range of questions within that topic 

Q: Can my licence be revoked after it has been granted? 
A: Yes. Certain circumstances can lead to your licence being revoked. If this happens it will be revoked in all the tiers, categories and sub-categories which you are licensed under. For information on the circumstances in which UKVI will revoke your sponsor licence, see Annex 5. For information on the circumstances in which they may revoke your sponsor licence, see Annex 6. UKVI do not define in which exceptional circumstances they will not revoke your sponsor licence but when one of the circumstances listed in Annex 6 applies, they view this as a serious issue and will look for evidence that you were either not responsible for what happened or, if you were, you took prompt action to remedy the situation. 
For example: 
a) one of your employees was wholly responsible for the dishonesty and was dismissed when it came to light; or 
b) a migrant was paid the wrong salary because of a problem with your payroll system but this was put right as soon as possible. 
 
Q. What happens to my sponsored migrants if my licence is revoked? 
A: If UKVI revokes your licence, they will: 
Immediately end (curtail) the permission to stay in the UK, or worker authorisation of any migrants whom they believe were actively involved (complicit) in any dishonesty e.g. if the migrant agreed that you would arrange a non-existent job for them so they could come to the UK. 
Reduce the length of the worker authorisation, or permission to stay in the UK of any other migrants (those who were not actively involved) to 60 calendar days. This is to give the migrant a chance to find a new sponsor. If the migrant has less than 60 days of their leave or worker authorisation remaining, it will not be reduced. 
 
Q. If our licence is revoked, can we apply again? 
A: Once your licence has been revoked you cannot make a further application for a sponsor licence for a period of six months from the date your licence was revoked. If you do make an application before that six month period has passed, it will be refused. The only exception to this is if your licence was revoked in error. If this happens we will contact you to make arrangements for it to be reinstated. 
 
 
Q. What is the resident labour market test? 
A: The RLMT is there to protect the UK settled workforce. It means that you must advertise the job you want to recruit for to give settled workers a chance to apply. You can only recruit a migrant if you have completed a resident labour market test and can show that no suitable settled worker is available to fill the job, or if the job is exempt from the resident labour market test. For more information see our RLMT article
 
Q. When is the resident labour market test not required? 
A: There are various circumstances when you are not expected to meet the resident labour market test. If the job role is in the Shortage Occupation List it will be exempt from the RLMT. Indivdiuals on particular visas may be able to be sponsored without the worry of the RLMT - for more information see our RLMT article. 
 
Q. Are Named Researchers required to meet the resident labour market test? 
A: If an individual is named on a research grant, they are not filling established posts, nor are they displacing resident workers. They are therefore exempt from the resident labour market test. 
 
Q. What is a SOC code/ Codes of Practice? 
A: The Codes of Practice are within Appendix J of the Immigration Rules. This sets out each job category (Standard Occupational Classification - SOC code), and outlines the specific skill level, rate of pay and resident labour market test requirements for each occupation. Sponsorship is always under a specific SOC code, so it is important to know what is required of the particular SOC code for which you are sponsoring. 
 
Q. How do you decide which SOC code is applicable? 
A. This is the only guidance available from UKVI. The role of the sponsor (ie your company) is to find the soc code within that guidance which is the nearest match. UKVI expect you to look at typical job titles, job duties etc and decide upon the most appropriate. We recommend you do this by listing the duties in your job description in a table, and then work through each possible soc code (listed in a column) comparing to the job description. At the end of this you should come up with the best match and you can use the salaries accordingly, and you will have the table to file away as your justification if needed. 
 
Q. What if the post we are recruiting for does not satisfy the wage level for the relevant SOC code? 
A: In order to be able to assign a certificate of sponsorship, the salary typically must be either £30,000 per annum or the minimum rate for the job as set out in the relevant code of practice or shortage occupation list - whichever is higher. If this is not the case, a certificate of sponsorship cannot be assigned. For most jobs there are two pay thresholds. The lower pay threshold is for ‘new entrants’; the other pay threshold is for ‘experienced’ workers. If an individual qualifies as a ‘new entrant’, you must pay whichever is the higher of £20,800 per year or the appropriate ‘new entrant’ rate specified in Appendix J. 
 
Q: Is there an age limit in order to be eligible to be classed as a new entrant for a position, and therefore to be paid at the lower rate? 
A: The new entrant rate can be confusing! Ordinarily the higher level has to be paid unless someone is in the early part of their career. UKVI define this as under age 26, or if you have met the resident labour market test by carrying out a milkround, or the migrant is changing (‘switching’) into Tier 2 (General) under the post-study work provisions - unless the CoS is assigned for more than three years and one month (in which case the experienced worker salary requirements will apply). 
 
Q. Can you clarify about the length of sponorship and new entrant salary? 
A. In all cases, if the individual will be in the UK beyond 3 years and one month, the ‘experienced worker’ threshold must be paid. This means that any worker initially sponsored at the ‘new entrant’ threshold must be paid at least £30,000 or the ‘experienced worker’ rate for their jobas specified in Appendix J, whichever is the higher. 
 
Q: What if the contract is not a full year so the salary, what should we state as the rate of pay? 
A: Where the sponsored worker will be in the UK for fewer than 12 months, the rate of pay must be based on an annual salary. For example, earnings of £15,000 on a 6-month contract would add up to an annual salary of £30,000; this would be acceptable for assigning a certificate of sponsorship. 
 
Q. What is a certificate of sponsorship 
A: A CoS is not an actual certificate or a paper document; it is a virtual document similar to a database record. Each CoS has a unique reference number and contains informatioin about the job for which the certificate of sponsorship is being issued, and the applicant's personal details. 
 
Q. What is the difference between restricted and unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship? 
A: Restricted certificates are for new employees coming from abroad. Sponsors apply for these as and when they are needed, and submit and application that is reviewed at a monthly UKVI panel. If approved, the certificate of sponsorship is added as an additional certificate to the sponsor's usual allocation. 
Unrestricted certificates are typically for visa extensions - these are used for staff already in the UK and either coming under your sponsorship through in country recruitment or takeover, or for extensions of visas. Unrestricted certificates are requested on an annual basis and can be submitted in early Jan for use in the financial year from April. You can ask for more 'in year' but depending on the circumstances and timing this might be best done for the next allocation. 
 
Q. What information is required to apply for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship? 
A: The application for a RCoS is based on the specific details of the job; there is no link to an individual at the time of application. The information required is: Job Title; SOC code; Gross Annual Salary; Start Date; End Date; Confirmation of RLMT details (or exemption reason). 
 
Q. Is there a charge for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship? 
A: There is no charge to apply for a restricted COS. However, once you are granted the certificate, it is subject to the usual charge to assign to an individual (as per unrestricted certificates). 
 
Q. Once a Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned, is the individual legally able to work in the UK? 
A: The fact that a CoS has been issued does not guarantee that the individual will succeed in obtaining their visa. The applicant must meet the specific conditions of their visa category; if their application is unsuccessful they will not be able to do the job for which you have sponsored them. 
 
Q. What if an individual does not apply for their visa before the certificate of sponsorship expires? 
A: The certificate of sponsorship will expire if not used for a leave application within three months of being assigned to an indivdiual. If an applicant submits a visa application using a certificate of sponsorship which has expired, the visa application will be refused. N.B. the indivdiual will not be refunded their (significant) application fees if the applicaiton is refused. 
 
Q. Can we cancel or withdraw a certificate of sponsorship? 
A. Yes, you can withdraw at any time on the Sponsorship Management System. It will need to be a Level 1 User that does this. 
 
Q. The Certificate of Sponsorship end date is earlier than the Tier 2 visa expiry date. What date can our employee legally work until? 
A: An individual is legally able to work (provided the work is the role for which their visa was issued) up until the end date of their visa. Individuals are typically granted extra time at the end of their visa (for Tier 2 visa holders this is typically two weeks after the date of their certificate of sponsorship) to enable them to arrange their departure from the UK. 
 
Q. How can I change the details on a certificate of sponsorship? 
A: You can use the 'sponsor note' field on the Sponsorship Management System to amend minor errors identified after the CoS has been created. Examples of acceptable amendments are corrections to a mistyped name or the date of birth. If the main details are incorrect, you must cancel the CoS and assign a new one, to ensure the details match those on the migrant's visa application. You must do this, for example, if the SOC code or Tier/ Category is incorrect, or if more than one of the identifiable details need to be changed (e.g. full change of birth and nationality/ or surname and date of birth. If you assign a new CoS, the relevant fee will be charged again. 
N.B. the sponsor note field can only be used to notify changes on a live CoS. Also, a Level 2 user will only be able to search for those live CoS which they have assigned themselves. 
 
Q. What salary do we enter onto the certificate of sponsorship, if it is a short fixed term contract? 
A. Where the individual will be working on a contract for less than 12 months, the rate of pay must be based on an annual salary. For example, earnings of £15,000 on a 6-month contract would add up to an annual salary of £30,000. 
 
 
 
Q. What are the timescales for visa extensions? 
A: A visa extension application should typically be made within the last 28 days of the visa validity (see next question). We would therefore advise that if you wish to extend the Tier 2 sponsorship of an employee, you assign the extension certificate of sponsorship no earlier than the last three months of the visa expiry date. This is because the CoS is valid for three months, and will ensure the CoS is valid at the time that the indivdiual can apply to renew their visa. 
 
Q. Why should a visa extension typically be made within the last 28 days of validity? 
A: If an application for an extension is submitted before this time, it is likely to be accepted (there can be good reasons for an early extension), however if someone applies too early they run the risk of losing their time at the end of the current visa. This creates a risk of being short of time resident in the UK, should the individual wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain. To put this into context, if I have a 2.5 year spouse visa, and I apply for an extension after 2 years 3 months and am granted another 2.5 years, then my residency will reach 4 years 8 months. I am only eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain once I reach five years residency, so I will have to apply for another visa extension. 
 
Q. We have a sponsored employee in the business whose Tier 2 Visa expires at the end of July. She has just been granted indefinite leave to remain and is awaiting her BRP. How and when would you suggest we report this change on the Sponsorship Management System? 
A:On the SMS you can select “Sponsor no longer sponsoring migrant” category, and then select the drop down “Migrant moved immigration categories”. You will be required to select an effective date; this will be the date the ILR is valid from. You can find this as the date of the letter confirming ILR, or as the start date of the BRP. 
 
Q. Is evidence of a resident labour market test required when assigning a certificate of sponsorship for a visa extension? 
A: Ordinarily for an extension you would not need to complete a resident labour market test; in the relevant section on the Sponsorship Management System you can write that this is for a visa extension, and the individual is undertaking the same job. 
 
Q. In relation to the above question about a visa extension, if the employee has changed their job title (e.g. from software developer to senior software developer), and had a salary increase from when they started, would this impact upon anything? 
A: Ordinarily for an extension you would not need to complete a resident labour market test; however as the job has changed, there may be need, but it depends on how significant the change is. These are the factors to consider: 
Salary change - in percentage terms, how much did the salary increase on promotion? 
When did the promotion take place? (If some time ago then it might be that it should have been reported to UKVI - in which case this may alert them to a breach of sponsor duties by informing of the change now, so this is something to bear in mind) 
How much did the job change? In this example, what is the difference between the role / duties of a software developer and a senior software developer? 
Would the role stay within the same SOC code as used for the original certificate of sponsorship? 
 
Q. How long we should assign a certificate of sponsorship for a visa extension for? 
A: These are the considerations surrounding visa extensions: 
The maximum length of time you are able to sponsor an individual is six years. 
An individual can apply for indefinite leave to remain (should they so wish) after five years residence in the UK. 
The length of sponsorship will impact upon the length of visa granted. 
The longer you ask for, the more expensive, but you do need to ensure there is a cushion of time so the individual can meet the requirements for Indefinite Leave. You also need to consider timings. The certificate of sponsorship you assign for an extension will have a three month validity; however, you need to ensure the individual does not apply too early. The ideal time is normally 28 days before visa expiry. One of the reasons this is important is that if they were approved a 12 month extension too early, they could be a month short of the time needed for indefinite leave to remain application 
 
Q. Does a promotion impact upon sponsorship? 
A: There are various factors to consider when a sponsored employee is promoted. Firstly, does the new role fall within the same SOC code (Standard Occupation Classification)? If there is a change of SOC code, then a new certificate of sponsorship would be required, meaning a new visa application for the individual. Other factors to consider are a change in salary and job title; these are circumstances which must be reported to UKVI using the Sponsorship Management System. This is a simple process; within the Sponsorship Management System pull up the relevant certificate of sponorship for the promoted individual. Select 'Report New Activity' and 'Significant Change in Circumstances'. Select Promotion and enter details of promotion (i.e. effective date, salary, this is an expansion of duties rather than a change of duties). 
 
Q. If a sponsored worker wishes to reduce their hours, will this be a problem? 
A: If the individual's annual salary reduces to a lower rate than originally stated on their CoS, the new salary must meet the current appropriate rate requirements. If the new rate is below the appropriate rate, you cannot continue to sponsor them and you must report this to UKVI via the Sponsorship Management System. 
 
Q. We have a sponsored employee in the business whose Tier 2 Visa expires at the end of July. She has just been granted indefinite leave to remain and is awaiting her BRP. How and when would you suggest we report this change on the Sponsorship Management System? 
A: On the SMS you can select “Sponsor no longer sponsoring migrant” category, and then select the drop down “Migrant moved immigration categories”. You will be required to select an effective date; this will be the date the ILR is valid from. You can find this as the date of the letter confirming ILR, or as the start date of the BRP. 
 
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