Sanwar Ali Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Brexit UK Visa Update

By Sanwar Ali

There is still the possibility of a “No Deal” Brexit which, if it happens, will mean that new EU citizen arrivals will need a Tier 2 visa or some other visa under the UK visa system.  The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, required by employers under the visa scheme, and Tier 2 visa system remains a difficult, expensive and bureaucratic system to navigate.  It will probably be a long time before major changes are made to the UK visa system.

It has been suggested that both sides misled the electorate during the EU referendum about future UK visa policy.  For example, the Leave Campaign suggested that there would be benefits for restaurant owners wishing to bring in chefs into the UK.  So far this has not happened.  In reality it seems that the restrictive UK visa system will continue.

It remains the case that UK Visa and Immigration can suspend or revoke any Tier 2 Sponsor Licence they wish to.  The Home Office can always find something wrong or can claim that something is wrong.

Employers without a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence may suffer if there is a “No Deal” Brexit

If there is a “No Deal” Brexit it is likely that many employers will need to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor licence.  Not enough employers currently have a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence to be able to deal with the consequences of Brexit.   If Brexit does eventually happen without a transitional period, there may be a rush of applications for Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, as employers will no longer be able to freely employ EU citizens who are not already in the Country.

Lengthy Tier 2 Sponsor Guidance and Tier 2 Visa Guidance causes confusion

The Tier 2 Sponsor Guidance is more than two hundred pages long.  The Tier 2 visa guidance is seventy-five pages long. There are also other documents that you need to look at as well to employ migrants on a Tier 2 visa.  The lengthy, detailed and confusing Home Office guidance seems to be designed to confuse applicants and make it more likely that applications for a sponsor licence and Tier 2 visa will be refused.  There is also no proper right of appeal if a Tier 2 Sponsor licence is refused.

Home office under investigation by Equality and Human Rights Commission over allegations of Institutional Racism

MPs have requested an investigation into whether the “deeply discriminatory” hostile environment immigration policies represent institutional racism at UK Visas and Immigration at the Home Office.  In addition, there have been serious allegations that a UK visa regulator sponsored by the Home Office has been guilty of institutional racism, abuse, harassment and victimisation.  We believe that this hostile environment has affected UK employers and Tier 2 visa migrants.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa Fees expensive

The UK Government seems to have come up with more and more imaginative ways of making money out of employers and Tier 2 visa migrants.   Many years ago UK Government visa fees were quite negligible.  Now visa fees are the highest or amongst the highest in the World. To bring a whole family into the UK can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

1. Government Fees for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence: £536 or £1476.  This depends on the size of the company, with larger companies paying more:

Under the previous UK work permit system about ten years ago you did not need to have a “Sponsor Licence” at all.  The costs and time taken to apply under the current system are quite considerable.

2. Government Certificate of Sponsorship Fee: £199 for main applicant:

You also need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship for each employee.  This is another part of the system and another opportunity for an employer to make what can be a very expensive mistake.

3. Tier 2 Visa Application:

The fee is from £610 for up to three years for the applicant and each family member.  It is double the cost for a UK visa for between three and five years.  If you pay for certain premium services it is yet more expensive still.

4. Immigration Skills Charge

This costs £364 per year or £1,000 per year depending on the size of the company and is for the main applicant.  Introduced on 6 April 2017, it is paid in advance for the duration of the visa.

5. Immigration Health Surcharge
This was introduced on 6 April 2015 and previously cost £200 a year.  It doubled earlier this year to £400 a year.   It is paid in advance for the duration of the visa for any non EU/EEA citizens applying for an UK visa for longer than six months. The same charge is made for the spouse or partner, and for each dependent of the main Tier 2 visa migrant. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences

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