The Points-Based System (“PBS”) allows employers to register with the Home Office to employ skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, many new arrivals from European countries will also require sponsorship for employment, starting in January 2021.
Please refer to the Coronavirus A-Z page for information about temporary policy changes that affect employee sponsorship.
Rules and compliance
As a sponsor, an employer undertakes to comply with immigration laws, and to report events such as prolonged unauthorised absences to the Home Office. It is the employer’s duty to make sure that they are sticking to the rules when they sponsor an overseas worker, by advertising the job correctly, setting pay at the right level, and keeping the correct documents on the employee’s file.
The rules for sponsors are complex, and the consequences for a failure to comply can be serious. A business that loses its sponsor licence will not be able to sponsor new employees, and a serious breach of the rules could result in a fine.
The main PBS sponsorship categories are:
- Tier 2 (General): Tier 2 is for skilled workers. New entrants to the scheme need to be filling a post that is skilled to degree level, and employers must pay the minimum level set out in the Codes of Practice available on the Home Office website. Ordinarily an employer must advertise a post for at least 28 days before offering it to a sponsored worker on the same terms, although there are exceptions for recent graduates, existing employees, and highly-paid individuals.
- Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer): International companies can transfer skilled employees internally to work in their UK office. Transfers may be available in long term, short term, graduate trainee or skills transfer sub-categories.
- Tier 2 (Religious Worker): Religious institutions can sponsor priests and similar workers for employment in the UK.
- Tier 5 temporary workers: There are a number of short-term categories that enable workers to come to the UK for limited periods, including Government Authorised Exchange programmes; Youth Mobility schemes, and Temporary Religious Workers.
Contact me to find out more about Sponsorship and Points-Based System.