The Government is currently thinking of introducing a new Highly Trusted Sponsor status for tier 2 and tier 5 from the summer of 2011. It is proposed that the UKBA will invite organisations which meet the UKBA criteria to apply for HTS. The criteria are currently set to include those with a proven track record of immigration control with the UKBA and which are either:
- top 50 revenue generating companies (it is not clear how this is to be calculated);
- organisations with a UK Royal Charter; or
- independent research organisations.
The UKBA hopes that by introducing this new HTS status to tier 2 and tier 5, it will improve efficiency for the UKBA and allow it to focus on companies which are high risk. The proposed benefits to sponsors include amongst other things:
- less evidence required of prospective employees;
- priority interview booking at Public Enquiry Office; and
- designated phone/mail helpline to sponsors.
These proposals are regarded as unfair to many companies which would not be offered this status such as small businesses. However, the proposals are currently at the very early stages and should not be regarded as the UKBA's policy proposals for tier 2 and tier 5.