We received an email from the UKBA and this is what they had to say on the policy guidence for Tier 2 and 5 sponsors:
On 15 March 2012, we published updated policy guidance for Tier 2 and 5 sponsors. This guidance will be valid from 6 April and contains a number of changes including:
Tiers 2 and 5
- New information on how to renew your sponsor licence.
- New policy on level 1 SMS users.
- Revised policies on B-ratings and action plans.
- A change to the financial limit you can place on certifying maintenance for a migrant you will be sponsoring.
- New information for any sponsor that is an endorsing body under the new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route
- A change to the restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) categories to include dependants of Tier 4/Student migrants who want to switch into Tier 2.
- New policy on the limited changes you can make to a restrictedCoSafter it has been allocated to you.
- Removal of the resident labour market test for migrants switching from Tier 4 into Tier 2(General).
- New policy preventing certain migrants sponsored under Tier 2 (General, Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 2 (minister of Religion), whose leave expires whilst they are not in the UK, from applying for permission to return to the UK under any Tier 2 category for 12 months after their leave expires.
- New policy limiting leave under all Tier 2 categories to a maximum of six continuous years
- Changes to the maximum time migrants can spend in new and existing Tier 5 (GAE) schemes.
- New policy on private servants sponsored under Tier 5 (International Agreement).
- Changes to the evidence required in support of an application for a licence to bring migrants to theUKunder the Government’s commitments under the General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS)
We have produced revised Codes of Practice so that we now have just one set of codes which show all jobs at NQF level 3 and NQF level 4 and above. We have also deleted the Code of Practice for ministers of religion and religious workers and replaced it with new sections in the policy guidance.
Please note that the Government is currently considering the Migration Advisory Committee’s detailed report on the limit on Tier 2 (General) for 2012/13 and will announce its decision in due course.
The policy guidance for Tier 2 and 5 sponsors is available on our website at the following link: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/pbsguidance/
As well as the changes to policy and guidance, we will also make a number of changes to the sponsorship management system (SMS) on 6 April. Firstly, we will introduce a function that will allow you to apply to renew your sponsor licence via the SMS. You will also be able to decline to renew your licence. Although the function will display as a menu item on your SMS from 6 April, you will not be able to use the function until some time before your sponsor licence is due to expire. We will write to you at this time to advise you how to make an application.
If you are licensed in Tier 2 (General), you will be able to apply for a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) for the new restricted category for dependants of Tier 4/Student migrants to switch into Tier 2 (General) in the ‘Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship’ section of SMS. Similarly, you will be able to assign aCoSfor the new unrestricted category for Tier 4 graduates to switch into Tier 2 (General) in the ‘Create and assign’ section.
We will also introduce a new function to the SMS that will allow you to monitor the progress of requests for changes to your sponsor details submitted from that date and, if required, withdraw such requests.
Furthermore, action plans issued to B-rated sponsors from 6 April must be paid for electronically through the SMS. Payment by cheque will no longer be accepted from this date.
Finally, from April the SMS will include a function to printCoSand CAS in an easily readable format from the ‘View certificates of sponsorship’ and ‘View CAS’ screens.
Detailed SMS user guides on all of the above new functions will be published on our website in April. We will also publish an updated version of theCoSsponsor help document to guide you through these changes.”