In a bid to increase transparency between the UKVI and the public, the second round of statistics have been published detailing the life cycle of Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsorships in the UK. This round of statistics revealed a few critical points that sponsors, or those that are looking to be, should bear in mind.
Although applications for sponsorship are often time pressured by mergers, acquisitions, projects or the need to mobilise a workforce expediently, the newly published statistics indicate that around 15% of Tier 2 sponsorship applications take in excess of 4 weeks to process. Although this could be due to the nature and complexity of the applications, it is worth bearing this statistic in mind when scheduling your application.
In better news this is a near 10% decrease on the last quarter, so it would appear that efficiency has increased over the summer period despite a rise in Tier 2 sponsor applications.
Although the primary purpose of this release was to aid in governmental transparency, the publication of figures relating to non-compliance issues and outcomes serves as a reminder that UKVI is tightening measures across the board. In the second quarter alone the Home Office received 7457 sponsor notifications in “potential non-compliance categories” in the Tier 2 and 5 routes. Many of these may have been the result of Sponsors failing to report to the Home Office in time with updates on migrant activity.
The Home Office regularly perform both notified and unannounced visits to check on a range of compliance issues.
In the second quarter of this year alone 377 potential sponsors had visits from representatives of the Home Office in the pre-registration stage to verify parts of their applications, which is 18% of all applicants in that period.
Furthermore, a huge number of “follow up visits” were initiated by officials. Concentrating upon the Tier 2 category alone, 791 visits occurred during three months. Perhaps more significantly 57.9% of those were unannounced. The result of these visits show that 159 Tier 2 Sponsor Licences were suspended and 149 were revoked, meaning that nearly 40% of visits resulted in action by the Home Office.
It would appear more important than ever to ensure that sponsors maintain a thorough and up to date knowledge on compliance issues, and ensure they perform obligations such as the “Right to Work Check” as soon as is feasible.
If you require any assistance with immigration audits and ensuring compliance, do not hesitate to get in touch.