Cynthia Barker of Immigration Advisers’ Bison UK writes:
UK employers are risking fines and the loss of their Tier 2 sponsorship by issuing a COS or ‘Certificates of Sponsorship’ (formerly known as work permits) to unqualified migrant workers.
During consultations with candidates and employers, we have noticed a lot of misunderstanding of the rules, which means that employment certificates are being given to Filipino workers without the proper checks being made on their experience and or qualifications.
Immigration Adviser Evelie Padadac of Bison UK said:
“Employers issue the certificates directly to the candidates who then consult us for further leave to remain. However, when looking through the paperwork, I frequently find that the candidate does not qualify under the Tier 2 rules.”
The UK Border Agency will not pick errors up because the two part process is separate:
- TIER 2 SPONSORSHIP CERTIFICATE (WORK PERMIT) – The employer’s checks to ensure the migrant worker is qualified under the immigration rules
- FURTHER LEAVE TO REMAIN – It is the Home Office/UKBA’s responsibility to check that the migrant qualifies for further leave to remain.
Should it later be discovered (e.g. during a routine UKBA inspection of employer files) that the certificate should not have been issued to the worker, for instance because they did not have the required experience, the employer will have been employing the worker illegally and they could lose their sponsors licence. Your employment certificate and visa may be cancelled by the UKBA if it is found that a certificate was issued in error.
What happens to migrants if the UKBA withdraws your employer’s licence?
The UKBA could ‘immediately end the permission to stay’, which means you will have to leave the UK, or reduce the length of permission to stay to 60 days, which means you will also have to leave or face enforced removal if you cannot find a new sponsor.
Employers and their prospective workers are urged to take advice from a qualified immigration adviser before issuing employment certificate and applying for further leave. We also recommend an annual health check or file audit to ensure that work permit holders and workers on student visas are still legal and avoid fines of up to £10,000.
Evelie Padadac is an OISC registered immigration adviser with Bison Management UK specializing in work and study related visas as well as a file checking audit service for employers.
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Cynthia Barker is an OISC registered immigration adviser with Bison Management UK.
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