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The new immigration system: a change to the duties of sponsors

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration

22-03-2021

Changes to the guidance for Skilled Worker sponsors on 16th March impact the way in which recruitment records should be retained. 

The  Immigration Rules introduced on 1st December 2020 ended the resident labour market test in respect of Skilled Workers.  It was previously necessary to establish that a prescriptive advertising process had been followed, proving no resident workers were available for the job, before issuing a Tier 2 General Certificate of Sponsorship.  After that date, the only requirement in this respect was that the role was a genuine one.  UK Visas and Immigration subsequently amended the guidance about record keeping, Appendix D of the Skilled Worker Sponsor Guidance, later in December.  The new version suggested that, once again, evidence of very specific advertising in respect of such a role was necessary which, since the resident labour market test had ended, caused widespread confusion. 

Appendix D has been updated again with further clarification of the requirement.  Evidence of any recruitment activity undertaken is now needed which, in respect of advertised roles, should include a copy of the advertising itself, details of the number of people who applied and were shortlisted and some evidence of why the successful candidate was appointed.   If the role was not advertised, employers must be able to explain how they recruited the worker to indicate that the role is a genuine vacancy. The full Appendix can be found here:

Sponsor guidance appendix D: keeping records for sponsorship - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A clarification of the requirements is welcome, but it remains to be seen how UK Visas and Immigration will assess whether suitable documentation has been retained in practice.  UK Visas and Immigration suspended immigration compliance visits prior to the implementation of the new immigration system and these visits are to recommence shortly. The interpretation applied by officers of what a “genuine” vacancy is will be important to those who have sponsored staff from December 2020 onwards.