The situation in relation to sponsoring migrants to work in the UK is quite tense and the government seems hell-bent on marching on with its mad cap. Although the government has expressed its disregard for the law I just wanted to take this opportunity to give people confronted with Tier 2 difficulties a Christmas present by offering some simple practical tips in relation to getting a licence in the A rated category which is now mandatory in order to have a certificate of sponsorship assigned.
It’s a good idea to look here because a robust HR system which complies with the UKBA regime is the key to obtaining an A rated sponsorship licence. And the system is easily complied with. Even one person can fulfil all four roles.
The problem is that under Tier 2 sponsorship licences are open to several types of businesses. A butchery or restaurant can apply for a Tier 2 (General) sponsorship licence and, equally, so can a legal or accounting practice. But all the ingredients one needs to get an A rated licence are not necessarily contained in the highlighted section linked to the UKBA website above.
When the UKBA comes for the interview for the “pre-licencing visit” just ensure that, in addition to the information on the UKBA website, you adhere to the following practicalities:
1. Be really polite to the UKBA representative (“visiting officer”) and offer tea and biscuits. Their officers are of a very diverse range of backgrounds. Yours might well harbour pro-immigrant proclivities. Take advantage of that and try to strike up a rapport with the officer. Remember that people in the UKBA can be nice as well.
2. The interview will last a full three hours. Let it. If the interview ends within the first hour-and-a-half chances are that the application will be rejected.
3. The UKBA will be keen to note how well you know all of your present employees who might not be subject to immigration control. Don’t overlook their papers just because they are British or have ILR.
4. Employees who have section 3C leave (Immigration Act 1971) should be fine as long as you can prove that they have an outstanding appeal or application.
5. Provide nice staff files. Even cheap £1 for 10 file covers are fine. It’s a great idea to have a contents page.
6. An expensive office will not guarantee the grant of a licence. Equally, having a small room on top of a shop is not a bar to getting an A rated licence.
7. If you are “X co” trading as “Y co” just let the UKBA know about all this in advance on paper and they are very easy-going about the trading name of your company as long as your VAT, PAYE and company information adds up.
8. The officer will want that she interviews the employees and the employer separately. Just let this happen and things will be just fine. Whatever happens don’t lie to the officer as she will be waiting for this to happen and will set you up to do it. Don’t fall for it.
9. If you trade as a company it’s a good idea to have contracts for staff members at the ready to hand to visiting officer.
10. After the interview when the officer asks for additional information provide it to her within the 5 day deadline.