Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Crackdown Continues
The government has responded to criticism of the way it administers the Tier 2 sponsored worker visa scheme by announcing changes to the rules governing Tier 2 visa eligibility. In particular, the claims of medical and technology protesters have been answered with nurses and certain digital technology jobs added to the Tier 2 Shortage occupation list. However, at the same time the government has made no indication that it is to ease up in its energetic application of Tier 2 Sponsor Licence suspensions.
In recent months a number of institutions, most notably in the education sector, have fallen foul of UK Border Agency inspections and had their Tier 2 Sponsor Licences suspended. In several cases this has been a matter of simply failing to keep their administration in line with the very high standards set by the terms of the licence.
Whilst the detailed information and record keeping demanded by UKBA represents a bureaucratic requirement, it frequently becomes an ideal which fast moving, pressurised organisations cannot easily live up to. If this is the case, the harsh regime operated by UKBA can cause serious difficulties for everyone involved – sponsors as well as those whom they sponsor.
Increasingly, the restrictions on Tier 2 Sponsor holders are being used as part of government attempts to ‘crack down’ on immigration to the UK. The inevitable result is that some organisations are suffering a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence suspension having merely continued to operate as they have done previously, and as has in the past been deemed acceptable. Needless to say, this makes the practicalities of managing a Tier 2 sponsorship licence particularly onerous.
The government’s readiness to compromise over issues of nursing and high grade IT staff shows a political sensitivity to skills needed in the broader UK economy. At the same time, their continued bearing down on Tier 2 sponsor licences in other areas is reflective of an agenda that is equally sharply focused.
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