As immigration figures continue to dominate newspaper front pages, less headline grabbing developments threaten serious repercussions for those directly involved. For example, a recent court case involving the failed legal challenge to a Tier 2 work permit suspension has highlighted a key area for concern amongst those facing a possible Tier 2 suspension.

The case involved a care home worker who was employed under the terms of his employer’s certificate of sponsorship as a public relations manager but who, on the basis of interview evidence alone, was judged to not be fulfilling that role. Instead, he was ruled to be working as a senior carer. Employer and employee both claimed that at the time of the interview the worker was in fact shadowing a care worker in order to inform his public relations work.

On that basis of the interview - and the authorities’ interpretation of it - the company involved lost its appeal against having its tier 2 suspension revoked, with the inevitable consequences for those involved.

A key aspect of the appeal referred to here was the care home’s inability to prove that the authorities had acted in any way unlawfully in imposing a tier 2 suspension.

The legal details of the case are available here and in summary form here, but from a practical day-to-day standpoint the conclusion is all too clear. Anyone under threat of a tier 2 suspension must be aware that in the context of an appeal there is - in effect - a legal presumption that they have failed to meet their tier 2 obligations.

The stark legal warning is that once an employer has been affected by a Tier 2 suspension the onus is on them to show that the official process has not been complied with rather than to ‘prove’ the actual role carried out by their employees. There is a ‘locking down’ of immigration authorities’ interpretations which puts assessments based on contested interview material beyond the scope of any appeal.

This is not a scenario in which those affected can hope to negotiate successfully without fully informed professional legal assistance.