UK: Employers to retain documents covering sponsored workers’ skills, qualifications and experience

Sponsors of Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 migrants are now required to retain on file documents showing these workers’ skills, qualifications and experience for their roles, under recent Home Office amendments to the Immigration Rules. The new document retention requirements apply to any covered foreign worker who commenced work on or after November 19.

The documents should be available for examination and approval upon request by the Home Office for the standard retention period in the Immigration Rules – at least one year. Failure to comply with the requirements can result in penalties and may ultimately result in the revocation of an employer’s sponsor license, which would prevent the employer from employing foreign workers.

Requirements for Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 Migrants

Sponsors must keep documentation, in paper or electronic form, containing a detailed and specific job description that outlines the duties and responsibilities of the positions filled by covered foreign workers, including the skills, qualifications and experience the positions require.  If a sponsor already has this documentation on file as a part of the resident labour market test process, there is no requirement to duplicate it.

Requirements for Tier 2 (General) Migrants

Employers that did not undertake resident labour market testing for a Tier 2 (General) migrant must retain evidence, in paper or electronic form, showing the worker is sufficiently skilled for his or her job.  The new policy guidance does not include an exhaustive list of acceptable documentation, but it may include copies of qualifications or references from a previous employer.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Sponsors should ensure that all relevant internal teams are aware of the new document retention requirements and that they are in compliance with the requirements for any foreign worker who started work since November 19.