Hiring Overseas Workers? Find Out What You Need To Know.

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Companies looking for the right talent for their organisation can sometimes find that they need to sponsor a foreign skilled worker from overseas to join their team.

This will then involve securing a sponsor licence, running a resident labour market test (RLMT), obtaining a certificate of sponsorship and finally the visa application for migrant worker. 

What is a Sponsor Licence?

A sponsor licence is a permission granted by the UK Visas and Immigration sponsor licence to UK companies so that they can sponsor foreign workers to come and work in the UK.

UK employers must be granted a sponsor licence by the Home Office before they can employ non-EEA workers under the points-based visa system.

Employers who do not have a sponsor licence will be unable to hire new workers from outside the EU or extend visas for current sponsored employees they plan to hire.

Steps to securing a sponsor licence

1. Undertake a business eligibility check-Do you have any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes such as fraud or money laundering.

2. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for-This will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor. The licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are: Tier 2-skilled workers with long-term job offer or Tier 5-skilled temporary workers

3. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business-You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence. The roles are:

i. Authorising Officer – A senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS 

ii. Key Contact – Your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

iii. Level 1 user – Responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS

4. Apply and pay the fee – Apply and post the accurate documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). 

What is Certificate Of Sponsorship?

A certificate of sponsorship holds personal details and information about the job a candidate has been offered. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document. The sponsor will give the applicant a certificate of sponsorship reference number to add to their application.

Certificate Of Sponsorship types

Unrestricted certificate: Employers will normally be asked to estimate how many Tier 2 and Tier 5 certificates you’ll need when they make a sponsor licence application.

These are called unrestricted certificates because employers can get as many as their business needs, and they will normally need to give evidence that they need the number of certificates that has been requested. They are normally requested:

  • For roles in the shortage occupation list;
  • When the worker is paid more than £159,600;
  • When the worker is allowed to switch in country (with the exception of Tier 4 dependant switchers)

Restricted certificates: These are normally requested for:-

  • Tier 2 (General) workers currently abroad who’ll be paid less than £159,600 a year and are not in an inward investment post. 
  • family members (dependants) of Tier 4 migrants who are switching to a Tier 2 visa

Employers must apply for restricted certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS), which they will get access to when they obtain a sponsor licence.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Acquisition

Applications for are considered monthly on an allocation date. Applications must be made by the 5th day of the month to be considered in that month’s allocation date.

Applications after the 5th or applications that need to be checked will be held until the next month’s allocation date.

Your restricted certificate will appear in your sponsor management system (SMS) account on the allocation date if your application has been approved. You can then assign a certificate to a worker.

In exceptional circumstances, a restricted certificate can be issued before the next allocation date. This does not include applications which have been delayed for reasons which you could have avoided.

You can apply again if your certificate application is not approved.

Resident Labour Market Test

The Resident Labour Market Test requires the employer to demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration that no ‘settled worker’ is available for the role they wish to fill with a Tier 2 visa worker. To do this employer will usually need to advertise the job in Find A Job a Government owned website and in a private sector job site.

The Employer needs to review the details for each job applicant and decide whether the applicant is suitable.  Careful records need to be kept on why applicants, if relevant, were rejected for the position.  Details for each applicant should also be available in case the Home Office decides to check employer records.

To sponsor an overseas worker or to apply for a sponsor licence contact our Corporate Immigration team for a free discussion and assessment via info@mbimmigrationsolutions.com

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