We have recently received a number of enquiries from Tier 2 sponsors who are considering changes to their company structure.

Sponsors are reminded that, where an individual is sponsored under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System, he or she is given permission from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) to work for a particular company, in a particular role, and for a particular salary. As sponsor licences cannot be transferred, when company restructuring occurs, including TUPE transfers, the immigration implications for sponsored migrants and the sponsor must be taken into consideration to avoid illegal working.

Given the tight deadlines to report changes to the UKVI, the immigration consequences of any company structure changes should be considered before any restructuring takes place. While certain changes may only involve simple notifications via the Sponsor Management System (SMS), other changes may result in the need for a new sponsor licence or an additional company being added as a branch onto an existing licence. These changes require UKVI approval before a sponsored migrant can be transferred, and, therefore, UKVI processing times as well as reporting deadlines need to be taken into consideration.

Given the serious immigration ramifications that can result in what may appear to be a simple corporate restructure, we recommend that companies, which are considering restructuring, take immigration advice from the onset.