In addition to providing employment law support, we can also help with your business immigration needs. Immigration is a topic that is constantly in the public eye, with ever-changing goalposts and compliance requirements. Therefore the difficulty that businesses face is that the system is not only complex and process-driven but it takes time. Planning ahead is crucial.
How we can help:
Getting started – sponsorship licence
Employing workers from overseas (migrant workers) means you first need to have a sponsorship licence from the Home Office which lasts for 4 years. To obtain a licence, you will need to show that you are a legitimate business and that you do not pose a threat to UK’s immigration control.
We can take you through this process, including advising you on which type of visa you may need (see below for the available Tiers).
Sponsorship licence renewals
We can assist you with the renewal process.
Sponsor duties – HR compliance
As a sponsor of migrant workers you will need to satisfy the Home Office that you can track and monitor your workers and that you take your duties to prevent illegal working seriously. How can you do that? We can advise you as to the procedures you need to follow and, more importantly, to demonstrate to the Home Office that you actually implement those procedures. This is all about having efficient calendars, record-keeping and processes in place.
The Points Based System is the UK’s process for assessing those applications. Points are awarded for differing factors, depending on the type of visa application being made, including whether or not an applicant has a sponsor (i.e. they have a a job offer from an employer who will effectively “sponsor” them to work here), whether they satisfy the English language test and whether they can maintain themselves financially once in the UK. We can guide you through the system.
Which tier is for you?
The UK operates a 5 tier system with the main tiers applicable to businesses being:
Tier 1 – this covers exceptionally talented workers, investors and entrepreneurs – (for this route, no sponsorship licence is required);
Tier 2 (General) – this is the most common category and covers highly skilled migrant workers. There are various requirements for this category, for example, the role must be at a specific level paid over a minimum salary level and you will usually need to demonstrate that a settled worker in the UK is not available to fill your vacancy.
Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) – employees from other companies within your group may come to work for your UK entity; and
Tier 5 – this covers certain categories of temporary workers.
What happens when a work permit/visa is coming to an end?
You might have workers on existing work permits or visas that are due to expire – what then? In most cases you must take steps to ensure that you are not employing workers illegally, as that can expose you to civil and criminal penalties (the civil penalty went up last year to £20,000 per illegal worker) and it can mean that your sponsorship licence is withdrawn. You will need to look at this in good time to explore whether your worker can extend their visa, or apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or whether they can extend their stay by “switching” into another immigration category.
Who to contact?
If you wish to discuss any of these issues, please contact:
Direct Dial: 0118 951 4571