When hiring skilled migrant workers from around the world employers must ensure they meet the stringent legislative requirements set out by the UKBA.

Under the Tier 2 visa category employers are responsible for making sure that migrant workers are eligible to fill the positions their organisation has to offer. In line with this employers may be subjected to immigration compliance checks, with or without receiving prior notice.

In order to employ a foreign national, employers must first hold a sponsorship licence. ‘A level’ or ‘B level’ sponsorship licenses are issued according to the UK Border Agency's risk assessment of each employer or organisation. In the majority of instances employers will be awarded an ‘A’ rating, however in cases where employers do not sufficiently fulfil their responsibilities they may be downgraded to a ‘B’ rating, or have their licence revoked meaning they will no longer be allowed to recruit from the foreign labour force.

Employers with a sponsorship licence who are seeking to employ foreign nationals are required to issue potential employees with a certificate of sponsorship.

To issue a certificate of sponsorship the employer must be able to show that:

  • The position is a genuine vacancy with remuneration equal to that which a UK national would receive were they to be employed in the same position.
  • The role must also be at or above the National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) level 4.
  • They have attempted to fill the role within the UK, provided that the role is not considered a shortage occupation that appears on the shortage occupations list. In such cases the position does not have to be advertised in the UK before a sponsoring employer can employ a non-EEA national.

Jobs on the Shortage Occupation List

If you are seeking to hire a foreign national worker to fill a position listed on the shortage occupation list, you will not be required to satisfy the resident labour market test for that position.

Job that require the Resident Labour Market Test

If the position you are seeking to fill with a migrant worker is not on the shortage occupation list you will be required to satisfy the requirements of the resident labour market test. This means that you will need to advertise the job in the UK to determine that a suitable settled worker cannot be found before granting a certificate of sponsorship to the foreign national.