United Kingdom employers and educational institutions can now apply for a license to act as a sponsor for migrant workers and foreign students ahead of implementation of Tiers 2, 4 and 5. Sponsorship plays an integral part in these three tiers.
Joining the register of sponsors is mandatory for employers and educational institutions who wish to bring non-European Union/European Economic Area workers and students to Britain under tiers 2, 4, and 5 when these immigration schemes are eventually implemented.
Once employers or educational institutions obtain a sponsorship license, they are added to the register of sponsors, a listing of organization allowed to bring skilled and temporary workers and foreign students to the country.
Tier 2 for skilled workers and Tier 5 for youth mobility workers are expected to go into effect in November of 2008, followed by Tier 4 for students in spring of 2009. It is recommended that employers and universtities register now for a sponsorship license in preparation for the new tiers when they go live.
Employers can hire four categories of workers under Tier 2 starting in November of 2008, which include:
- skilled workers (general): non-European Union nationals employed by UK businesses to fill specific gaps in the labor market where no UK or EU citizen could be found.
- intra-company transfers: for multi-national companies who wish to transfer their employees to the UK.
- sports people: elite professional athletes who are expected to make a significant contribution to their sport in the UK.
- ministers of religion: clergy who will practice their faith on a long-term basis in Britain.
Employers will be able to hire two categories of workers under Tier 5, which include:
- temporary workers: this includes short-term workers and people who come to the UK under international agreements, among other situations.
- youth mobility workers: people who come to Britain under Working Holiday agreements with other countries and others who meet certain criteria set by the Government.
Sponsors must be legitimate organizations working within British law; before allowing sponsorship, the authorities will need to be satisfied that the organization is not a threat to UK immigration controls,and that the organization will comply with its obligations as a sponsor.