In this first of two articles I'd like to share with you, as employers of sponsored migrant workers, five pearls of wisdom that may have passed you by, or that may just serve as a useful reminder to you.
Pearl 1 - Keep a rolling log/history of all sponsored migrants' contact details (UK residential address, telephone number, mobile telephone number)
You will no doubt be aware that you have to keep an up to date record of where a migrant lives and their contact numbers. You are, of course, reliant on the sponsored migrant letting you know when any of these details change. However, you may not be aware that you have to keep an historical log of each address the migrant has lived at during their employment with you and this record must be retained for at least one year after the migrant leaves your employment.
Pearl 2 - Keep a copy of a screen shot of the job advert from the actual website
If you take a screenshot of your administrator page after you have posted an advert in order to comply with the resident labour market test (RLMT), this will not be acceptable to UKVI. The requirement is to take and keep a screen shot of the actual advert as seen from a job applicant's point of view from the website and on the date the advert is first posted. This is the case even if the advert will be running for longer than the minimum 28 days required. However, if the website clearly shows the date the vacancy was first advertised, the screen shot can be taken at any point during the period the vacancy is advertised. For more detailed guidance on your record keeping obligations, please see our article.
Pearl 3 - Essential documents required to show UKVI that you are a responsible employer could be wider than you think
A contract, job description (in line with the advert placed), illegal working procedure and recruitment policy are all fairly self-explanatory required documents to have and to comply with to demonstrate that you are a reliable employer who can effectively police and monitor your sponsored migrants. However, your absence reporting policy and procedure is also one of your essential documents that you must have and you should also give this to the sponsored migrant when they start working for you, so that they are aware of their reporting obligations to you if they are absent. This will then allow you to comply with your reporting obligations to UKVI.
Pearl 4 - Check the previous month's allocations of restricted certificates of sponsorship (CoSs) to see if you need to advertise the role at a higher salary to ensure success
In recent months, the number of applications for restricted CoSs each month has exceeded the amount on offer. UKVI therefore ranks the applications it receives each month based on salary, with those higher-paying roles being ranked in priority to lower paid roles. This has resulted in a lot of employers being unable to get a restricted CoS for an individual month after month and therefore having to give up and/or start the recruitment process again. By way of example, the minimum points score for successful applicants for June 2018 was 60, in May it was 51, April 46 and March 56. This means that only those applications where the salary was over £70,000 had a chance of being successful. It is therefore worth keeping an eye on the allocations each month and the minimum points required and setting salary levels in adverts accordingly.You will of course have to pay any successful applicant/migrant worker that higher salary.
Pearl 5 - Assess the migrant first to ensure that they can make a successful application
When an applicant applies for their visa (after they have been assigned a CoS), they have to complete a declaration. This includes items such as confirming that they have never been refused a visa, they haven't been involved in terrorism, haven't been removed from the UK or had their leave curtailed, shortened or revoked, they don't have a criminal record, etc. Rather than find out that the applicant cannot give the required declaration, or worse -have their visa refused because they were untruthful in their declaration - the applicant should be given the declaration and asked to confirm that he/she can give the declarations required before you apply for a CoS for them.