Today we share top tips for employers – HR and recruitment functions in particular – on how to ensure that the Job Description for a potential Tier 2 General application matches with the Home Office Codes of Practice, also known and referred to as SOC Codes.
Contributing to the Migrant Advisory Committee Consultations
For starters, as a key practice you must ensure that you do not rely on a copy of the Codes of Practices on your desktop! They are continuously reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), they change frequently, and what was viable a month or two ago, may not be the case now. Always check, or get in touch with us to assist you.
One of the best ways of keeping updated with what the MAC is up to, is by making yourself part of its consultations. We always highly recommend that employers do so. Look out for emails from MAC – or, if we are your legal advisers, look out for an email from us alerting you to the latest consultation – and make sure that you contribute to those consultations on which roles should be on the Shortage Occupation list by providing evidence that you have roles that are hard to fill.
Sometimes, a code that you have been using for a long time can be identified and moved on to the Shortage Occupation List. This, in turn, can make a huge difference to your being able to employ foreign migrants for those roles more easily and without the need of carrying out the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and passing the newly introduced Genuineness Test.
Using the Tier 2 SOC Codes
Identify skill level for each occupation. If you are asking yourself ‘How do I look for a mechanical engineer on the Tier 2 SOC Codes?’ you can do so by doing a key word search on its own, or by Job Title.
The Codes of Practice will give you details on job titles and job skills. It is good to be strategic. Look beyond simply the posts you want to fill now but also consider your future needs. The Codes of Practice will give you a good understanding on how you create job titles in the future to match your skills needs, and also how to map out the career paths and progression of foreign employees in the future as well as an indication of the salaries these attract under the SOC Codes.
Codes are colour coded. Each colour corresponds to a particular NQF / skills level for that job.
- Blue – PhD jobs; chemical scientists, R&D managers etc.
- Green – NQF Level 3 or above; these codes / roles do not qualify for Sponsorship
- Pink –NQF Level 6; you can sponsor a migrant worker new to the UK only at NQF Level 6.
- Turquoise – not eligible; these positions are deemed well abled to be filled by the British-based workforce
Please note these points:
- PhD level jobs – these occupations are given additional points. For example, if applying for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), you will be given additional points if the job is at PhD level. This means that it is more likely that your RCOS will be allocated.
- If a current employee was previously sponsored at Level 4, provided you continue to employ them at that role and that they were previously in the UK, you can continue to employ them at NQF Level 4. If, however, they move to a different category, and pay grade, the might need to be NQF Level 6 for you to be allowed to sponsor them
- NQF Level 6 – If you employed / sponsored them before June 2012 or under an old immigration category, you can continue to employ them even if at NQF level 3 and 4.
- Also be cautious that what was previously an NQF Level 6 job, may have moved to a Level 4, so you need to check the codes on a regular basis.
FAQ: Do you have any recommendations for matching jobs to a COS where they don’t seem to fit in the guidance but we know the job should qualify? Is there any tool or similar you can recommend?
Look at your organisational structure and the way you have your roles mapped out. Look at job titles in the codes of practice and in your organisation where you may have someone, for example working in the policy and project manager capability. Looking at both, identify what are the tasks they perform on a regular bases and map against what the SOC code is saying. Then, see if you can come up with an equivalent. Be clear on what the person is doing in their job. Sometimes the job title is the place to start.
Also, don’t think or feel that you as HR are in this or should figure it all out on your own. Have a conversation and definitely engage with technical managers and see what they say about the role. This will help you better identify a SOC code that you have previously overlooked. Also look at where you see that role progressing and start setting out the picture.
Finally do feel free to contact us. We will always be happy to help.