Following the publication of the latest Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, as of 19 November, a number of changes have been made to the Tiers 2 and 5 Sponsor Guidance. Many of these are confirmations of practices already in existence but there are also a number of key changes.

Key changes

  • Sponsors must undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on all migrants who are likely to come into contact with children as part of their job function. A copy of this must be kept on the migrant’s HR file and is listed as an additional document in Appendix D – Keeping documents
  • Other new requirements have also been added to Appendix D including the need to obtain and keep reference letters and/or evidence of qualifications, plus see below specific requirements for Tier 2 (General) migrants*
  • Sponsors must inform the Home Office if they assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a family member of an employee of the Sponsor’s organisation, where it is a small or medium sized organisation or where the Sponsor is aware of a family relationship within a large organisation
  • The list of family members who cannot be assigned a CoS by a Level 1 or Level 2 user of the Sponsor Management System has been extended to include further family members
  • There is a recommendation that the Authorising Officer (AO) has a system in place to ensure, as a minimum, that assigned CoS are checked by the AO on a monthly basis
  • Where a sponsored migrant applies for indefinite leave to remain and the Sponsor’s licence is suspended, the application will be refused if the licence is subsequently revoked
  • If a Sponsor forgets to renew its licence, the Home Office has removed the 20 day grace period within which Sponsors were able to make a new application. The leave of all sponsored migrants will now be curtailed from when the licence lapses

Confirmations and clarifications

  • A new Annex 8 has been added which provides further guidance on the actions a Sponsor must take following takeovers, mergers or group restructuring. This seeks to clarify a number of areas which were previously unclear, including the position following a share sale. An example of this is provided to confirm that, where a Sponsor’s immediate owner has changed, often due to a share sale only, a new Sponsor Licence will be required but migrants will not need to make a change of employment application
  • The Home Office has confirmed that if it refuses a visa to a sponsored migrant on the basis that it does not consider a genuine vacancy exists, it may suspend the sponsor licence whilst it investigates
  • During a Home Office audit or compliance visit, the Home Office has confirmed that photographs may be taken of the Sponsor’s premises

Specific Tier 2 (General) changes

  • Further restrictions have been introduced for Tier 4 migrants switching into the Tier 2 (General) category – the institution where they studied their degree must be a publicly funded institution
  • The Home Office must be notified of any third party who helped recruit a migrant if the resident labour market test is not used. The requirement to notify the Home Office within 10 days has been removed
  • Within Appendix D, additional documents must be obtained and kept where a resident labour market test has not been undertaken, specifically copies of any qualifications the migrant holds to confirm skill level, and/or reference letters from previous employers or other evidence of experience