Some Tier 2 sponsorship licences must be renewed by 26th November

The first licences for employers to sponsor migrant workers for visas under the UK's points-based visa system were granted on 26th November 2008. Licences last for four years so those licences will expire on November 26th 2012. The register of sponsors is a list of all those employers, 25,351 of them, who have licences to employ foreign nationals who have leave to remain in the UK under tier 2 and tier 5 of the UK's points-based visa system.

Tier 2.visas are granted to foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. A Tier 2 visa can only be granted to a worker with a job offer from an employer who has a licence to sponsor applicants for Tier 2 skilled worker visas. Tier 5 visas are granted to young people who wish to come and experience life in the UK. A limited number of Tier 5 visas are granted each year to young people from various countries with which the UK has reciprocal arrangements. Among these countries are Australia, Canada and Japan.

Tier 5 visas are sometimes known as 'working holiday visas' and entitle holders from certain Countries, and certain categories of British nationals and citizens who do not have the right to live and work in the UK, to work in the UK for a period of up to twenty-four months. Every year, the UK government allocates a number of places on the scheme for each country and territory. UK employers must be on the register of sponsors in order to employ people in either category.

The UK Border Agency has been writing to employers whose licences are about to run out since July. However, it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that they apply for and receive a new licence before their old one runs out. If they do not, then they will lose their right to sponsor overseas employees to remain in the UK; unless these foreign employees can find another sponsor, they will have to leave the UK within 60 days.

Employers are also required to provide the UKBA with up-to-date business records regarding their employment of tier 2 or tier 5 visa holders. If they do not do so, their licences could be either suspended or revoked. The fees for a licence vary. All licences cost small businesses (as defined by the Companies Act 2006) and charitable organisations £500. Medium and large sponsors must pay £1,500 if they wish to apply for a licence to employ tier 2 visa holders or if they wish to employ tier 2 and tier 5 visa holders but need only £500 if they are applying for a licence to employ only tier 5 visa holders. Employers must also have satisfactory HR and compliance systems in place.

If you would like assistance in completing your Tier 2 sponsorship application then workpermit.com can help. workpermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with applications relating to immigration. Please feel free to contact us for further details.