The Tier 2 Visa sponsorship Licence system was introduced in 2008, to further control and restrict immigration into the UK. UK companies need a Tier 2 sponsorship licence to sponsor and employ foreign workers from outside of the European Union on Tier 2 visas.
A Tier 2 sponsorship licence is valid for four years, so those issued in 2012 are now starting to expire. Because the Tier 2 sponsorship licence system was introduced in 2008 there was a sudden rush of employers applying for Tier 2 sponsorship licences in that year. As you need to renew the Tier 2 sponsorship licence every four years the number of renewal applications this year is higher than normal being eight years after the tier 2 sponsorship licence system was first introduced.
In an attempt to further reduce levels of immigration into the UK there has been an increase in the number of unannounced audits made by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to offices of Tier 2 visa sponsors. The UKVI is also more likely to visit company offices prior to granting a renewal of a sponsorship licence.
While most Tier 2 sponsors can expect a visit every four years, those businesses where key issues were raised following a previous UKVI audit can expect more frequent visits.
As I have said in the past the Tier 2 Visa system and UK immigration controls in general are administered in an unfair and unjust way. Civil Servants under pressure to meet impossible Government targets to reduce immigration make bad decisions. Their behavior at times has been completely unacceptable. We should be able to believe what the Home Office says and what those sponsored by the Home Office say. Sadly this is not the case. We even have evidence of falsified documentation sent by an organisation sponsored by the Home Office.
These are some of the things that UK Immigration may look at during a tier 2 sponsorship licence site visit:
- Whether the employer has full details of the whereabouts of employees and has suitable systems in place for keeping track of employees.
- That employees on tier 2 visas are fully aware of their obligations under the Tier 2 visa scheme.
- That the payroll records and bank statement show that salary rates are at the same or higher than that stated in the Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)? If not, can any discrepancies be explained?
- If relevant has the Tier 2 visa sponsor fully implemented any action points specified during previous visits?
- Full details of recruitment procedures should be made available. This should be in compliance with the employers obligations as a tier 2 sponsor. UK Immigration may very well wish to see that the Tier 2 Resident Lab our Market Test (RLMT) is being fully complied with.
- Have there been changes to corporate structure since the last visit?
- Are the sponsor’s health and safety policies up to date?
It would seem that there has been an increase in the number of Tier 2 sponsorship licence revocations, licence downgrades and suspensions as a result of tougher action.