Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa Immigration Lawyers
Sponsoring migrant workers
Those UK employers who hold a sponsor licence may offer Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to those they wish to employ. Sponsored workers are classed under Skilled Worker and Intra Company Transfer (ICT) of the points based system.
The main criteria:
The sponsored position must meet a ‘genuine vacancy’ requirement. This can be evidenced by prior advertisement of the role.
If sponsoring a worker on the Skilled Worker or Intra-Company Transfer routes, the worker must be paid at least the minimum salary specified for that route, or the going rate (or in some cases, a proportion of the going rate)for the occupation, whichever is the higher.
There are stricter criminality checks. A criminal record certificate will be required for entry clearance applications for Skilled Workers hired in certain occupation codes.
Should the applicant be applying for under Skilled Worker route, they need to meet a minimum skill level of English language
The maintenance requirement has been replaced by the financial requirement. If applying for entry clearance or leave to remain and the applicant has been in the UK for less than 12 months, either:
- the applicant must have funds of at least £1270, or
- the sponsor must certify maintenance up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1270
Financial requirement is required for each dependant at differing rates.
There are two main categories for Sponsored Workers:
Intra Company Transfer
Intra Company Transfer
The Intra Company Transfer route is suited to employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by their employer overseas to a skilled post in the UK-based entity of the company.
Migrants coming to the UK on Intra Company transfers must have been working for the sponsoring company for at least the previous 12 months unless they are entering as a Graduate Trainee or as a high earner (i.e. earns £73,900 per annum or more). The 12 months work can have been accumulated over any period that the applicant was continuously working for the sponsor group, in or out of the UK, and the only breaks in continuous work were for one of the permitted reasons.
Please contact us for further information on Graduate Trainees.
The amount of time an ICT migrant may spend in the UK is limited to 5 years for a salary £120,000 or below and 9 years if the salary is above this amount. Effective from 1 December 2020 there is no longer the requirement that a migrant must be out of the UK for 12 months before they can apply again under the ICT route.
A person on an ICT visa who travelled within this category prior to 6th April 2011 can extend indefinitely depending on their employer’s requirements and could qualify for long residency (settlement) after 10 continuous years.
To qualify for long term status, new migrants entering the UK under this category from 6th April 2015 must be earning a guaranteed minimum salary package of £41,500. Under the new rules the salary thresholds for this visa route have remained the same, so that the minimum is £41,500 per annum for ICT and £23,000 per annum for an intra-company graduate trainee. The minimum skill level also remains at RQF level 6.
This route does not have an English language requirement.
The other option is to obtain permission as a Skilled Worker. This category does not require any transfer and can be a direct hire.
Applicants for the Skilled Worker route will need to be awarded 70 points in total. 50 mandatory points must be collected from: sponsorship (20 points), a job at the appropriate skill level, RQF level 3 and above (20 points) and for meeting the English language requirement at level B1 (10 points).
Tradeable points can be obtained as follows:
a salary which equals or exceeds both £25,600 per year and the going rate for the occupation (20 points
a PhD qualification which is relevant to the job (10 points) and a salary which equals or exceeds both £23,040 per year and 90% of the going rate for the occupation (10 points)
a job in a shortage occupation and a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation (20 points)
being a new entrant to the labour market and a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation (20 points)
a job in a listed health or education occupation and a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation (20 points)
Under the new rules there are two types of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS): defined and undefined.
If the person you wish to sponsor will be applying for entry clearance from outside the UK, you must first apply for a defined CoS
If the person will be applying for permission to stay from within the UK, you must assign them an undefined CoS form you annual CoS allocation.
Although the Resident Labour Market test (RMLT) has been removed, it has been replaced by a ‘genuine vacancy’ requirement. This can be evidenced by prior advertisement of the role and proof that the employee is capable of undertaking the role for which the CoS has been assigned. The requirements of the role must be reasonable and not tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited. The sponsor must also provide a credible explanation of how a qualification (if required) is relevant to the job for which the applicant is being sponsored.
For both of these categories, a migrant’s dependant family members can accompany them under the ‘Point Based System’ (PBS) Dependant category.
Points to note:
Sponsored workes and each of their dependants is liable to pay a Health Surcharge.
A skills charge may apply to all migrants on the ICT or Skilled Worker route. This must be paid by the employer and cannot be passed on to the employee.
The English language requirement is level B1 of CEFR.
There are stricter criminality checks. A criminal record certificate will be required for entry clearance applications for Skilled Workers hired in certain occupation codes. The requirement also applies to their dependant partner. Applications from persistent offenders and those convicted of a criminal offence for which they have received a custodial sentence of 12 months or more will be refused.
PAYE details will be needed if HMRC requires income tax and National Insurance for the sponsored job to be paid via PAYE
To switch into this category applicants must not have, or have last been granted permission:
- as a visitor, or
- as a short-term student, or
- as a seasonal worker, or
- as a domestic worker in a private household, or
- outside the Immigration Rules.
Applicants must also meet the requirements of the Skilled Worker route.
There is no specific cooling off period when switching.
For both of these categories, a migrant’s dependant family members can accompany them under the ‘Point Based System’ (PBS) Dependant category and can work with a few restrictions.
Skilled Worker route
|Minimum skill level||A level standard role (RQF 3 & above)||Highly skilled (RQF 6 & above)|
a) Equals/exceeds both £25,600/year & the going rate for the profession
b) A relevant PhD qualification & salary equals/exceeds both £23,040 & 90% of the going rate
c) A PhD qualification in a STEM subject & salary equals/exceeds both £20,480/year & 80% of the going rate
d) A shortage occupation, a job in a listed health or education occupation & salary equals/exceeds both £20,480/year & 80% of the going rate
e) For a new entrant to the labour market; a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation
f) The minimum pay rate must be at least £10.10 for a 39 hour week
£41,500/year or the going rate for the profession whichever the higher
Going rate shown in Immigration Rules Appendix skilled occupations
|Minimum skill level||A level standard role (RQF level 3 & above)||Highly skilled (RQF level 6 & above)|
|Maximum visa duration||There is no limit||Normally 5 years but up to 9 years for high earners|
|Financial requirement for main applicant||For entry clearance/leave to remain where the applicant has been in the UK for less than 12 months, they must have funds of at least £1,270 held for 28 days||Same|
£285 for dependant partner
£315 for 1st child
£200 for 2nd child held for 28 days
|English language||Minimum CEFR Level B1 in reading, writing, listening and speaking||Not required|
|Settlement||After 5 continuous years||N/A|
|TB test results||If required for the country of applicant||Same|
|Previous organisation experience||N/A||Applicant must have worked for the overseas company for at least 12-months, unless they are paid £73,900 or more|
|Cooling-off period||No specific cooling off period when switching into the Skilled Worker route||
Unless the employee is a high earner, the maximum period of permission is a cumulative total of 5 years in any 6-year period. Cannot re-apply for a new ICT visa unless this is met.
Can switch into the Skilled Worker route
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