Many tech experts and researchers have long agreed that the UK needs more immigrants from outside of the EU in the tech industry, namely in data science, BioTech, network security, product management, and senior development. A lot of businesses have been looking to the United States and Asia. However, a lot of tech firms are confused by the tier 2 sponsorship process, which is crucial if they are to bring overseas talent to their firm. Below, we will reveal everything you need to know about this type of visa and the sponsorship process.
The Tier 2 visa sponsorship license system has only been around for approximately 12 years, having been introduced in 2008. The purpose of this system was to restrict and control immigration into the UK. One thing to note is that the number of renewals for this license is higher this year than they usually are. This is because when the Tier 2 sponsorship license was introduced many employers rushed to get it. As you need to renew the license every four years, there are a lot of tech employers who need to renew now considering 2020 falls in the four-year renewal zone from when the system came into place.
The trouble is that a lot of businesses still don’t know what the Tier 2 visa sponsorship license system entails and how they go about getting one. Firstly, you need to recognize that this is crucial for any employer you are bringing over from outside of the EU and Switzerland, even if they are going to be working for free. The first step is then to check if your business is eligible for this type of sponsorship. To be eligible, you can’t have any history of failing to carry out your sponsorship duties, nor can you have any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offenses or a number of other specific crimes. All companies also need to have an adequate system in place so that sponsored employees can be monitored.
What do you need to monitor? You must monitor the immigration status of your employee, keep employee contact details up to date, track and record the attendance of the employee, keep relevant document copies, such as the right to work information and passport details, and if there is a problem, for example, the employee stops coming to work, you must report it to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You will also need to make sure the Tier 2 sponsorship is right for you, and not a Tier 5. Nevertheless, most tech firms need the Tier 2 sponsorship because this is for long-term or permanent general jobs whereby the worker meets job suitability requirements. It is also for multinational companies that need to transfer employees to the UK, i.e. an intra-company transfer. This is something a lot of BioTech research firms do. For example, you may need to transfer an employee for a fermentation development R&D project, and then he or she returns back to the U.S. brand afterward.
After this, you need to determine who is going to manage the sponsorship within your company. They will use the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) and the roles are as follows: a level 1 user, who is responsible for managing your license using the SMS on a day-to-day basis, a key contact, i.e. someone who is your main point of contact with UKVI, and an authorizing officer, i.e. a competent, senior professional that is responsible for your staff’s actions and the person using the SMS. One person can fill all roles, or you can choose three separate individuals.