The Home Office has introduced a new automated renewal of Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Certificate of Sponsorship annual allocations.
All Tier 2 unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship allocations are subject to a fixed allocation period that runs from 6 April to 5 April the following year.
Currently, if a business holds a Tier 2 sponsor licence to assign Certificates of Sponsorship in Tier 2 General and/or Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer categories, the business must manually request an allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship up to three months in advance of the allocation expiry date on 5 April each year.
The Home Office will introduce a new automated renewal of this annual allocation request. In 2015, when the annual allocation request is renewed, sponsors will not need to prepare and submit an allocation request. Instead, sponsors will automatically be granted the same amount of certificates that they used in the previous allocation year.
Although the new process will not remove the requirement for sponsors to forecast the number of certificates they will require, the new process does not take into account that the sponsor may require more Certificates of Sponsorship in the following allocation year. If the sponsor subsequently requires more certificates during the next allocation year, it must submit an additional request for further certificates, and there are no guaranteed processing times. Sponsors will therefore need to plan ahead to ensure they request any additional certificates in good time.
New Prevention of Illegal Working Code of Practice
The Home Office will publish a new code of practice that provides guidance for employers on the civil penalty scheme relating to the prevention of illegal working. The guidance is due to be published in full on 16 May 2014. The main changes are highlighted below.
The new code, which will replace the 2008 version, will come into force on 16 May 2014 and will be supported by separate guidance and a code of practice on avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.
It is imperative that employers ensure that all employees provide the relevant documents evidencing their right to work in the UK prior to commencing their employment and have an effective reminder system in place to monitor the end dates of any visas.
For more information, or if you have any questions regarding the issues discussed in this Immigration Alert, please contact any of the following lawyers: