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Here’s what’s going on with Tier 2 sponsor licence applications

According to Home Office figures, there has been an increase in demand from employers with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.

Ward Hadaway immigration expert Flora Mewies looks at the statistics in more detail.

The Home Office has published its Sponsorship Transparency Data for the period between July and September 2018 which reveals some interesting information on registered sponsors and applications made.

As of September, there were 27,376 Tier 2 registered sponsors with around 1,500 sponsorship applications submitted – about 90.8% of these were for Tier 2 sponsorship.

In contrast, there were 1,222 Tier 4 registered sponsors (education providers) and 3,853 Tier 5 registered sponsors (sponsors of temporary workers).

Quicker turnaround on applications

The Home Office states that sponsor licence applications will be dealt with within eight weeks of submission. However figures show that 75.8% of the Tier 2 sponsorship applications were processed in less than half that time. Good news for everyone.

Furthermore, the average time taken to process a sponsorship application for all tiers was just under 27 days and the maximum length of time taken to process an application was 169 days (nearly 6 months).

In contrast to Tier 4 and Tier 5 sponsorship applications, there was a quicker turnaround on Tier 2 applications with 80% of Tier 4 applications and 30.1% of Tier 5 applications taking longer than a month to process.

Enforcement action against sponsor licence-holders

After submitting a sponsorship application, an applicant may be visited by an immigration officer to carry out a compliance check before their application is dealt with.

Between July and September 2018, figures show 165 applicants within the Tier 2 category, had pre-registration visits. This represents only 14.5% of applicants who received a pre-licence compliance visit.  Usually a visit will take place where the applicant has previously been flagged with the Home Office, perhaps for employing an illegal worker or having previously made unsuccessful sponsor licence applications.

If a licence-holder does not comply with its sponsor duties, the Home Office may suspend or revoke their licence. An increasing number of Tier 2 sponsor licence-holders are being subjected to these compliance measures.

Figures show more licences being revoked

According to the statistics, between April and June 2018, 84 Tier 2 sponsors had their licences suspended, while 41 licence-holders had their licence revoked. The latest statistics published by the Home Office for the period between July and September 2018 show this figure has increased.

During this time, 104 Tier 2 sponsors had their licence suspended, an increase of 23.8%, and a further 61 Tier 2 sponsors had their licence revoked, an increase of 48.8%. Additionally, 18,612 sponsor notifications regarding potential non-compliance were processed in the period between July and September 2018. In 648 of these instances, no further action was required. However, with regards to Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors, curtailment action was required in 10,683 instances.

How can we help?

At Ward Hadaway, we can provide advice and guidance on sponsorship applications to ensure you get it right first time. This includes advising on record-keeping and systems and processes to help prepare you for a compliance visit. For more information on how we can help, please get in touch.