From April 6th 2015 Sponsor Guidance for Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas were changed with the effect that the UK Border Agency was given the right to withdraw or suspend sponsor licences in circumstances over and above those which had previously been in place. The new regime was part of a raft of measures intended to tighten up the UK’s immigration administration, in line with Government policy to reduce the UK’s net migration figure.  

Government rhetoric on the issue of migration has become noticeably harsher in recent weeks, with Home Secretary Theresa May’s contention that migration was of no economic benefit to the UK a particular low point. May’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference on Wednesday October 8th drew widespread criticism.  

The Institute of Directors’ Director General Simon Walker was particularly strident in his reaction, declaring: “We are astonished by the irresponsible rhetoric and pandering to anti-immigration sentiment from the Home Secretary.” His was by no means an isolated critical response.  

Fuelled by that “anti-immigration sentiment” the changes to the Tier 2 sponsor licence and tier 5 licence criteria mean that employers can now lose their sponsorship status altogether over what may be only minor administrative errors. Specific points that may now provide sufficient cause for UKBA to rescind a licence include:  

  • False information on a Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant and the salary on the certificate is different to the amount paid to that migrant
  • A Certificate of Sponsorship is issued to fill a vacancy other than the one specified on the initial application
  • A Certificate of Sponsorship is issued to a migrant and it is claimed that the job was exempt from the resident labour market test when that was not the case

Clearly these conditions - in addition to those already in place - make the administration of a Tier 2 sponsor licence a difficult and highly fraught process, and, moreover, one in which it is especially difficult to deal with amidst the inevitably dynamic and unpredictable nature of running a modern business. In the real world where economic activity actually generates the nation's wealth job roles are never wholly defined and salaries are never entirely static.