Sponsoring tier 2 workers

  • Right to work checks
  • Sponsoring Tier 2 workers

    What is the Points-Based System?

    Non-EEA nationals need to apply for a visa from the Home Office in order to work in the UK. Some are eligible for a visa based on the immigration status of their relatives or ancestry; others apply and are considered and scored by UK Visas and Immigration using a points-based system (PBS) to determine whether a visa will be granted.

    What is Tier 2 of the PBS?

    Tier 2 of the PBS covers sponsored skilled workers to whom we have made a job offer. As a hiring manager or as a line manager, you will need to be aware of your roles and responsibilities during their recruitment and employment. You will be supported by the HR Recruitment Team.

    For anything not covered below, please contact the HR Recruitment Team (see contact details below).

  • The University is licenced to provide a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which demonstrates that the individual has a firm offer of appropriate employment, which contributes points to their score. As such it supports an individual’s Tier 2 visa application (but does not guarantee its approval, and does not give the migrant the right to work in the UK).

    The CoS is not a paper certificate or document, but a virtual document with a reference number, issued by UKVI and provided to the individual via Human Resources.

    To obtain a CoS:

    • The University must demonstrate that it has a genuine vacancy that cannot be filled with a suitably qualified or skilled settled worker. The HR Recruitment Team will support you in this right from the start of the recruitment process.
    • The University pledges to accept all of the legal duties expected when sponsoring the migrant. The HR Recruitment Team will inform you of your obligations as a line manager when the sponsored worker is appointed.

    UKVI regularly update the criteria for jobs which can be sponsored, which is based on:

    • skill level;
    • salary thresholds; and
    • the resident labour market.

    In general, the University has been able to sponsor academic workers (Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers) earning a minimum of £33,000 and Research roles at Grade 8 and above, earning a minimum of £30,000 (as at April 2017). Minimum salary rates for Tier 2 visas can be found here. The £30,000 minimum applies to ‘experienced workers’. This applies in the following circumstances:

    • when the employee is aged 26 or over on the date they apply for their Tier 2 visa; or
    • when the employee is 25 or under on the date they apply for their visa and their contract is for more than 3 years and 1 month, or is expected to be.

    We recommend that you contact the HR Recruitment Team prior to advertising a role to establish whether it would meet current eligibility criteria, and whether a Resident Labour Market Test will be required.

    For most roles, UKVI require us to conduct a test of the local labour pool, to ensure that there are no suitable workers already living permanently in the UK, before a Certificate of Sponsorship can be issued. This involves:

    • Placing an advert in a minimum number of specified media (‘Find a job’ website and ' jobs.ac.uk');
    • Specific content to be included in advertising;
    • A minimum advertising period of 28 calendar days;
    • Retaining evidence that advertisement met UKVI requirements; and
    • Keeping records of applicants, including copies of CVs/applications, interview notes which justify the appointment of the selected candidates. These notes must demonstrate that either (for PhD-level jobs) each shortlisted EEA candidate was less suitable than the selected candidate; or (for non-PhD-level jobs) no EEA candidate was suitable for appointment (i.e. did not meet all the essential selection criteria).

    The HR Recruitment Team will conduct the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), which you must discuss prior to advertising. Exceptionally there may be very specific circumstances when the RLMT might not be possible due to prescribed external funding restrictions. If this is a possibility then the position should be discussed with the HR Recruitment Team. If the post is not exempt, and your appointee needs a Certificate of Sponsorship, the HR Recruitment Team will require a copy of your shortlisting information for all candidates, and copies of interview notes.Please note: youshouldneverreject,orbe seen to reject, any candidate (or potential candidate) on the grounds that they do not hold the right to work in the UK. It is recommended that right to work, or absence thereof, is considered as late in the selectionprocessaspossible forthefollowing reasons:

    • This could amount to indirect discrimination on the grounds of national origin;
    • Those currently without right to work may be able to obtain it through another immigration route; and
    • It is not a foregone conclusion that those with the right to work will be successful in all the intermediate stages in the recruitment process.

    They can only be granted up to a total maximum of six years. After this period the University cannot obtain any further extensions and the individual would have to leave the UK. They would not be able to apply for a further Tier 2 visa for 12 months. They may wish to apply for settlement or “indefinite leave to remain”.

    One month prior to the end of a visa, an individual receives an automated email from HR reminding them about that. If an extension for a current member of staff is required, you should contact the HR employee services team (see contact details below), as soon as possible to discuss, however please note that a CoS extension cannot be processed more than 3 months before an individual’s Tier 2 visa is due to expire.

    • The cost for assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship will come directly from the recruiting Faculty or Directorate budget. A Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship cost can be found here. Payment is made in HR.
    • The individual pays for their Tier 2 Visa. International non-EU staff who are not currently resident in the UK at time of relocation may apply to the Dean of Faculty or Director for up to £3,000 for immigration visa fees for themselves or immediate family members (spouse/ partner and children only). This additional cost will be charged to the Faculty and Directorate and payment is at the discretion of the PVC/Dean or Director. For more information see the University’s Relocation Scheme.
    • The individual pays for all NHS Health surcharges required during the visa application process, and for their dependants’ health surcharges.
    • The University will certify maintenance for Tier 2 applicants and their dependants.
    • Faculties and directorates may meet the cost of Tier 2 visa renewals and applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain for existing staff and their dependants, where their skills and expertise are judged to be essential and/or not easily replaced. The Financial Assistance to staff for immigration costs policy can be found here.

    The process to hire a sponsored worker can be lengthy, given the requirement to advertise for 28 days, the time it takes to complete shortlisting and interviews, and the time it takes for an individual’s visa application to be considered by the Home Office. This is usually 2 to 3 weeks.

    Additionally, if the individual is applying from outside the UK, the University will need to apply for a ‘restricted’ COS. These are allocated by a Home Office group which meets once a month. There is a national monthly maximum number of restricted Certificates of Sponsorships. It is possible that the University’s application might be subject to that monthly maximum and need to be considered in the subsequent month. A realistic start date should be considered taking these steps into account.

    NB: The university cannot guarantee that any valid Certificate of Sponsorship application will result in the allocation of a restricted Tier 2 visa. Consideration should also be given to whether sponsorship is feasible for roles that have fixed start and end dates (for example, as a condition of funding).

    UKVI must be notified of a range of activities in relation to the sponsored worker. When the individual is appointed, you will receive an e-mail from the HR Recruitment Team detailing your obligations which are also outlined here.
    If a redeployee or internal candidate holds a Tier 2 (General) visa they can only be appointed into a job within the same occupation group. This offers some very limited latitude. For example a research associate can be appointed to another related project but they could not be appointed to a lecturer role as this would require a full resident labour market test.
    There is Home Office guidance on taking a second job. Any member of staff working under a Tier 2 visa is strongly encouraged to discuss the possibility of taking secondary employment with Human Resources first, to ascertain if this is permissible.

    Less commonly, prospective staff can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, but the individual makes this application personally without being sponsored by the University.

    Tier 4 covers international students, sponsored by the University to support their visa application to study in the UK. Their visa may allow them to work in the UK with restrictions. However their applications are processed by the University’s International Student Advice Team.

    The University can also issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange category for sponsored researchers. Contact the HR Recruitment Team for further information.