Tier 2 visa sponsor employers new record keeping guidelines

Sanwar Ali comment:

Employers with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence already have great difficulty complying with all the complicated and confusing requirements required of them by UK visa and Immigration requirements.  Failure to comply with these new requirements is yet something else that the Home Office can use as an excuse to suspend or revoke a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.  Employers are left in a precarious situation as UK visa at the Home Office will find it even easier to take away their Sponsor Licence.  If Brexit does eventually happen it is surely even more important to have an easy to understand UK visa system.

The Home Office has announced new record keeping guidelines for Tier 2 visa and Tier 5 visa sponsoring employers. According to the new guidelines, Tier 5 and Tier 2 visa sponsors must keep evidence proving the UK entry date of any migrant they sponsor, in addition to the mandatory right to work checks.

The guidance states that sponsors must create a record of when a migrant enters the UK, within 30 days of a visa’s validity period. Prior to this change, employers were not required to retain UK date of entry evidence. Under the new guidelines, employers will still be required to keep a record of a person’s right to work documentation.

How will the new guidelines impact Tier 5 and Tier 2 visa sponsoring employers?

When inducting a Tier 5 or Tier 2 employee prior to their employment start date, employers have two options for obtaining proof of when an individual entered Britain. The two options depend on whether a person was seen by a UK immigration officer or whether they passed through an eGate on their arrival.

If a Tier 5 or Tier 2 employee was seen by a UK immigration officer, employers must now check and make a photo copy of the entry stamp in a person’s passport, in order to comply with the new Home Office guidelines.

Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA have been permitted to use eGates upon arriving in the UK, since 20 May, 2019.

Tier 5 or Tier 2 employees passing through an eGate will not have had their passport checked or stamped by a UK immigration officer, proving their date of entry.

If a person enters the UK for the first time through an eGate, Tier 5 and Tier 2 sponsoring employers must:

  • Request evidence from a worker in a paper or electronic format, which specifies their date of entry into the UK. For example an aeroplane boarding pass or travel tickets
  • Verify that the date of entry specified is within the validity period of the initial visa endorsed in the worker’s passport. If the date is not within the validity period, the worker should leave the Common Travel Area and re-enter Britain within their visa’s validity period. Should they re-enter using an eGate, employers will need to obtain new evidence confirming the worker’s date of entry.
  • Employers must then keep a record of the date the worker entered Britain. However, employers do not need to keep copies of the evidence, such as a boarding pass or travel tickets.

Tier 5 and Tier 2 visa validity

Should a worker arrive in the UK prior to the ‘valid from’ date on their Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa, employers will need to ask the worker to leave the Common Travel Area (Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Republic of Ireland and the UK) and re-enter the UK, making sure that their passport is stamped with the date of entry, within the validity of the visa, by an immigration officer.

If a worker re-enters via an eGate, they will need to provide a copy of a boarding pass or travel tickets. Employers are urged not to allow a Tier 5 or Tier 2 visa employee to start work until the process is completed correctly, because a visa will not be activated on a worker’s arrival in the UK. Therefore, they will not have the right to work.

Workpermit.com can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and Tier 2 visa or would like help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations workpermit.com can help. Call 0344 991 9222 for further details.

Workpermit.com has been in the visa business for more than 30 years, helping thousands of people to study, work, invest and live in the UK. We represent clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act, and we can advise and assist with your UK visa application.