The Coronavirus outbreak is a human tragedy. Unlike other disasters such as 9/11 and Tsunamis, whose impact was limited to geographical locations, the novel Covid-19 has impacted the entire world in one form or another.
Businesses are facing a tough situation, and most of them are trying to find ways to sustain and survive. Thanks to the current FCO guidelines, employers have been given significant leniency. For instance, you no longer need to provide original/certified copies of documents if you have to apply for a sponsor license.
Employers can now employ Tier 2 visa applicants who have not yet received their visas. However, this condition is only applicable to individuals living in the UK.
During the Coronavirus crisis, the responsibilities of Tier 2 visa sponsoring employers have been simplified. As a general rule of thumb, employers would need to report all the changes in the working conditions of their sponsored employees. For example, you had to report if any of your workers were working remotely for any reason.
However, considering the present-day situation, you are no longer required to report the immigration department of the Home Office if any of your workers choose to work from home.
In addition, employers are also authorized to allow workers to commence work even if their UK visa application is still in the process of approval.
You may, however, have to provide them with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Also, it is important that the worker filed their application before the expiry of their current visa. Last but not least, they must be employed in a similar job role as stated in their CoS.
As far as post-lockdown duties are concerned, it is expected that license duties will resume once the stringent lockdown measures are lifted. Consequently, employers are being instructed to become aware of the responsibilities that commensurate with the Tier 2 sponsor license.
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The Job Offer Process
Employing a migrant under a Tier 2 Sponsor Visa is a key responsibility of the employer. In order to ensure a fair hiring process, it is important you follow the job creation guidelines and it will help you ensure that qualified and experienced UK workers aren’t ignored.
Apart from a job offer, you must also pay attention to factors listed below to allow applicants to work freely in the UK.
Minimum Salary Requirements
In order to qualify for a Tier 2 General Visa, a migrant worker should be paid a minimum of £30,000 per annum. This minimum salary requirement is set to avoid this route being used to exploit the low-paid labour from abroad.
The job role you are advertising must comply with certain criteria. Your job must be subject to the Resident Labour Market Test also known as RLMT, which involves numerous steps that guarantee that the job you are offering cannot be occupied by an experienced and qualified British worker.
Ideally, the job you’re offering must be advertised on the official Government’s website. In addition, it must be displayed on a private job board. Before you stop receiving the job applications, make sure you maintain a proper record of why UK applicants are not suitable for your advertised position. This document also includes valid reasons why you have to offer this position to the non-EEA citizen.
There are jobs that do not need RLMT. These positions are generally listed on SoL.
SoL (Shortage Occupation List)
Unfortunately, the UK labor force has so many voids in popular professional sectors. Because of these skill gaps, the Home Office has introduced the SoL that empowers employers to reduce the minimum salary requirement. These jobs generally come with a SoC code, which a worker needs while applying for the Tier 2 UK visa.
It is the responsibility of the employer to assign a CoS to a worker. This code works as a supporting agent for the Tier 2 visa application. It is also the duty of the employer to collect all relevant information from a migrant worker to ensure they are suitable for the position.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to check the worker is eligible for the post. Also, your HR department must keep an updated record of the person which must include:
- The worker’s eligibility to work in the UK must be assessed every year
- The worker’s biometric residence permit
- The worker’s National Insurance number
- DBS check
- The worker’s current/previous home addresses
Failing to maintain updated employee records may result in large fines and penalties so make sure you have a system and staff in place to keep worker’s information up to date.
The immigration procedures have witnessed some major changes due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Make sure you keep yourself updated with the latest Covid-19 news and its impact on the immigration processes by following the official government website.
Don’t forget to keep your immigration lawyer informed to seek expert advice on the current situation.