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Updates to the Tier 2 and 5 guidance for sponsors


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The guidance that Tier 2 and 5 sponsors must follow was updated last week. The new version applies to sponsor licence applications made, and certificates of sponsorship assigned, on or after 18 July 2018.

Some of the key changes are:

Fees and refunds

  • Application fees for sponsor licence applications and certificates of sponsorship will not be refunded if a sponsor withdraws an application once consideration has begun (paragraph 1.15).
  • In the previous update to the guidance in January 2018, sponsors were placed under a new reporting duty. They now have to report within ten working days if the size of the sponsor’s business changes from a small to a medium/large company or vice versa. The change was necessitated by the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) applicable to a sponsored worker assigned a certificate of sponsorship on or after 6 April 2017 in the Tier 2 General or Intra-Company Transfer categories. This updated guidance contains a further reminder to tell the Home Office if the size of the business changes, so that the respective ISC can be correctly levied (1.16).
  • Again on the Immigration Skills Charge, refunds will be issued for “all whole unused 6 month periods of leave” except where the worker leaves their post during the first year of employment. In that case, no refund is made in respect of that first year (1.23).
  • The guidance also confirms that that the Immigration Skills Charge does not apply to Tier 2 migrants seeking to extend their leave to remain with the same employer in the same role, who made their initial application to switch from Tier 4 after 6 April 2017 (1.18).

Doctors and nurses

  • As of 6 July 2018, medical practitioner and nursing occupations (SOC codes 2211 and 2231) have been excluded from the Tier 2 (General) annual quota. To align with this relaxation of the rules, doctors and nurses have been added to the list of people to whom an unrestricted certificate of sponsorship may be assigned (29.4)
  • The Occupational English Test has been added to the list of acceptable tests for nurses proceeding towards registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (15.18).

Resident Labour Market Tests

  • Referencing Appendix D paragraph 2K, employers must now provide information about settled worker applicants who do not take up the job or whose applications are rejected. For example, the employer must provide interview notes or other documentation which show the reasons why they have not been employed.
  • A paragraph has been added and surrounding paragraphs renumbered to reflect that the fact that established researchers at a Higher Education Institution or Research Council are exempt from the RLMT process (28.11).

Also of note are detailed guidance on rates of pay for new entrants (26.4 and 26.8), further clarification on making affidavits relevant to the Intra-Company Transfer category (8.2) and detailed notes on how to correctly certify a document (8.3).

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Pip Hague

Pip Hague is a Senior Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin.