Tier 2 visas – a challenge for the tech sector

    With the know-how sector nonetheless going through substantial expertise shortages, tech employers are relying closely on the Tier 2 sponsorship regime.

    Tech Metropolis UK reported final yr that 7% of jobs within the UK’s digital tech sector have been crammed by non-EEA (European Financial Space) nationals. On this context, and with Brexit simply across the nook, it’s much more necessary that Tier 2 sponsors safeguard their sponsor licences to make sure their persevering with capacity to sponsor non-EEA nationals.

    In lots of instances, employers should promote roles in compliance with House Workplace pointers and have to be glad that there aren’t any settled employees – together with British and EEA nationals – who’re appropriate for the publish earlier than they will sponsor a non-EEA nationwide. This is called the Resident Labour Market Take a look at (RLMT).

    A latest Excessive Courtroom resolution has sounded alarm bells for sponsors by emphasising the significance of taking the RLMT severely. The case makes it clear that sponsors should think about all functions acquired in opposition to the necessities set out within the adverts, and shortlist for interview all candidates who meet the necessities within the function.

    It’s not enough to shortlist solely the perfect candidates in circumstances the place different candidates additionally meet all the necessities for the function.

    Within the Excessive Courtroom case, GP surgical procedure Exmoor Surgical procedure had employed Ms Palanisamy on a part-time foundation as a enterprise growth supervisor. It subsequently wished to make use of her and sponsor her underneath Tier 2 (Normal) in an analogous full-time function. 

    Exmoor Surgical procedure marketed for the function in accordance with the Tier 2 sponsor steerage and acquired 42 functions. 5 candidates have been invited to attend an interview. Three of the 5 shortlisted candidates didn’t attend. After interviewing the 2 remaining candidates, the surgical procedure provided the place to Ms Palanisamy and sponsored her underneath Tier 2.

    Quickly after this, Exmoor Surgical procedure notified UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of a change of sponsor circumstances, specifically a change in its partnership. This triggered an software for a brand new sponsor licence due to the change in management. The surgical procedure submitted its software for a brand new sponsor licence and, following a go to from UKVI, the applying was refused.

    UKVI gave a number of causes for refusing the sponsor licence software, together with:

    • When contemplating who to shortlist for interview, the surgical procedure had solely shortlisted the perfect 5 candidates for interview. It didn’t think about all of the candidates to evaluate whether or not every other applicant was appropriate for the place. In different phrases, it had not thought-about whether or not every other candidates met all the factors set out within the adverts.
    • UKVI felt the requirement for the profitable candidate to have an MBA (Grasp of Enterprise Administration) was exaggerated as a way to be tough for a settled employee to satisfy.
    • UKVI additionally queried the job code (SOC) chosen for the function and sought to argue that the function fell beneath the minimal ability degree for Tier 2.

    The surgical procedure sought to problem UKVI’s refusal of a sponsor licence on the grounds that it was an irrational resolution.

    Decide’s resolution

    The Excessive Courtroom choose discovered that the job code utilized by the surgical procedure was appropriate and, helpfully, additionally discovered that the requirement for an MBA was not exaggerated, holding that it was for the surgical procedure to find out whether or not it thought-about the qualification obligatory.

    Nevertheless, the choose upheld UKVI’s resolution that the surgical procedure had not demonstrated a real try to recruit from the resident labour market. Earlier than providing Ms Palanisamy the function, the surgical procedure ought to have thought-about the remaining candidates and whether or not there have been any settled employees amongst them who have been probably appropriate for the publish, with the requisite abilities and expertise.

    The judgment serves as a helpful reminder that the impact of the RLMT is settled employee who’s appropriate for an marketed publish must be recruited instead of a non-settled candidate, even when the latter is the higher candidate. 

    This meant that the applying for judicial evaluate was dismissed and the choice to not grant the licence stood.

    Safeguarding your Tier 2 licence

    This case acts as a reminder to make sure that care is taken when conducting the RLMT. There are a variety of sensible actions employers can take to make sure they minimise any threat to their sponsor licence:

    • Be sure that the adverts posted are compliant for House Workplace functions – there are specific particulars that have to be included, together with the placement of the job, wage, job title, duties, abilities, and expertise and shutting date (which have to be a minimum of 28 days after posting the adverts).
    • Retain copies of the adverts in accordance with the House Workplace steerage.
    • Be sure that solely the talents, expertise and genuinely wanted for the function are included within the advert and that every one key necessities for the function are set out.
    • Assess each applicant in opposition to the talents, and expertise set out within the advert and hold a document of why candidates weren’t shortlisted for interview, with a proof of which of the necessities set out within the advert weren’t met.
    • Shortlist all candidates who seem to satisfy the necessities within the advert and hold copies of the interview notes.
    • Bear in mind that any change within the employer’s circumstances (corresponding to a change within the instant father or mother firm) could set off the necessity to apply for a brand new sponsor licence. 


    As indicated by the choice on this case, the implications of finishing up the RLMT incorrectly might be extraordinarily severe – the worst-case state of affairs being the lack of an organization’s sponsor licence. In a sector that should recruit non-EEA nationals, this might be catastrophic or, on the very least, an extra problem to the expansion and growth of the enterprise.

    By putting in easy procedures to hold out a compliant RLMT, a enterprise might help to guard its sponsor licence and its ongoing capacity to recruit key expertise.

    Kerry Garcia is a accomplice and Jackie Penlington is a senior affiliate at legislation agency Stevens & Bolton

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