Immigration and international recruitment - update


27 / 7 / 2015 11.30am

NHS Employers has produced a summary of the latest news relating to international recruitment and how we are representing your views.

International recruitment remains an important part of workforce supply in the NHS and recent pressures in the immigration system have led to new challenges for employers who use this route. 

Allocations of restricted certificates of sponsorship (CoS)

At the July allocation meeting for Tier 2 (general) certificates of sponsorship (CoS), a minimum score of 45 points was required for a successful application. This resulted in significant numbers of CoS applications from the NHS being unsuccessful for a second month. We understand that this situation brings increasing pressures and uncertainty for employers, we are continuing to represent employer experiences and concerns at every opportunity in our conversations with the Home Office. Until any changes to the immigration mechanisms are confirmed, we advise employers to continue following the existing rules and good practice for CoS applications. Employers may also consider applying in smaller batches for priority recruits in an effort to manage demand for CoS.

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) review of the Tier 2 route – call for evidence

Part one of the MAC review which looked at salary thresholds, has closed for submissions. The second part has now commenced, and gives broader scope for employers to influence MAC recommendations. The proposed changes to Tier 2 are significant and we need your evidence to inform our collective position and response to the MAC.  Please see our latest news page which outlines further details and the call for evidence.

Indefinite leave to remain

There has been recent media attention on new salary threshold rules which will affect individuals under a Tier 2 visa who seek to get indefinite leave to remain. These new thresholds will take effect from April 2016, find out more information.  

We would like to particularly highlight that if the role occupied by a migrant worker has been on the shortage occupation list at any time during their sponsorship in that role, they may be exempt from the new salary thresholds. This information may help employers as they consider which of their existing employees are likely to be impacted by the changes.

Sponsor responsibilities

In one of the first cases to reach court, an employer within the health and social care sector has had their Tier 2 sponsor licence revoked. This serves as a timely reminder that sponsors must adhere to the rules as specified by UKVI or they risk losing their status as an approved sponsor.  In this particular case, failings included:

  • not retaining resident labour market test evidence
  • not retaining copies of qualifications and interview records 
  • not providing evidence of right to work for one employee
  • a failure to record visa expiry date for one employee
  • some migrant workers having the incorrect place of work recorded on their CoS.  

Employers are encouraged to ensure compliance with UKVI sponsor policy and guidance.

If any of this information raises further questions for your organisation, please contact

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