The concept of sponsorship is at the heart of the points-based system. If you want to employ a migrant or enrol a migrant as a student, you must be their sponsor during their stay in the UK (unless they are coming here for 6 months or less in certain circumstances). And before you can sponsor a migrant, you must obtain a sponsor licence.
Employers will be required to sponsor the prospective non EEA migrant employee. Before that employee can obtain a Tier 2 Visa, the employer will need to issue the candidate a Certificate of Sponsorship.
The first stage is that employers must first obtain a Sponsorship Licence to enable them to issue Certificates of Sponsorship.
Employers are awarded either an A or B level Sponsorship Licence, depending on the Home Office’s risk assessment. Employers will be awarded an A rating in most cases. B rated employers have issues, outlined by the UKBA, that need to be first addressed before they can be A rated.
Where employers do not fulfil their responsibilities they will be downgraded to a B rating, or have their Sponsorship Licence withdrawn.
Employers are responsible for ensuring that candidates are eligible and suitable to fill the positions being offered, and accountable when the system is abused. The employer may undergo immigration compliance checks.
Non-EEA nationals must have an offer of employment before making a Tier 2 Work Permit application.
Employers must show the vacancy is genuine with remuneration equal to that which a resident worker would receive in a similar position, when issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship. There are codes of practice that are outlined for each type of job vacancy for which employers need to meet.
An employer must indicate they have satisfied one of the following conditions when applying:
• the salary of the job is at least £40,000 a year, or
• the job appears on the list of Home Office Shortage Occupations, or
• the employer has completed a resident labour market test demonstrating they could not fill the job with an applicant from the European Economic Area (EEA), or
• the candidate was employed with an overseas branch of the employer for the last six months, or
• the candidate is a religious worker, or
• the candidate is a sportsperson
The skilled Tier 2 Work Permit candidate is then assessed with a points test based upon their attributes, including an English language level required.