Man at Departures Board, photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Sponsor Licence: Does the migrant need to leave and re-enter the UK during their period of approval?

Article published (or last modified) on 10 October 2019

When Sponsor Licence holders assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which is required for all Tier 2 visas, the application form includes the above question asking whether or not the migrant needs to leave and re-enter the UK during their period of approval.

This question has often proven unclear to those assigning certificates, and the Home Office themselves provide limited information on the importance of this question in their Sponsor Licence guidelines.

It can be confusing for sponsors to know whether their new employee is able to leave the UK whilst waiting for a decision to be made on their new visa, or what rights they hold once the visa has been granted.

It can be equally worrying for the sponsored workers themselves if they are unsure whether they are able to leave the UK before a decision on their sponsorship has been given.

We contacted the Home Office directly for full clarification on this question, and have written this blog detailing what it means for those assigning Certificates of Sponsorship, and how this question should be answered.

London crowd, photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

Failing to select the box will have no bearing on the rights of leaving and re-entry for the sponsored worker

Therefore it really doesn’t matter how this question is answered, although we would advise to always tick Yes.

It is important to note that the question does not relate to the period between the Tier 2 Visa application being submitted and the Tier 2 Visa application being approved.

The “period of approval” means the visa duration, e.g. March 2020 – March 2023.

The Home Office simply request an answer to this question to provide them with information relating to the intentions and travel plans of sponsored workers. It seems unnecessary to us, as surely most workers with friends and family abroad will plan to leave the UK at some point during their lengthy stay here!

Whilst the sponsored worker is waiting for a decision on their Tier 2 visa, they must not leave the UK.

In common with all other immigration applications, whilst waiting for a decision on a Tier 2 visa application, migrants must not leave the UK.

If they do so during this time, then their application will be treated as withdrawn. Please see our full blog post explaining this.

So what changes if I tick the box?

Nothing. The Home Office have confirmed to us that selecting this box ‘does not confer any extra benefits or restrictions’. Conversely, failing to select the box will have no bearing on the rights of leaving and re-entry for the sponsored worker.

If the box isn’t selected it will not cause any problems in regards to the sponsored worker’s right of entry into the UK.

All Tier 2 visas permit the holder to travel abroad and return to the UK. This is always the case, and the answer provided to the leave and re-entry question when assigning a CoS application does not affect this right in any way.

It is worth noting however that Tier 2 visa holders cannot spend excessive time outside of the UK.

All UK absences must be taken in line with their sponsored employment, and too many absences can result in become ineligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

If you are unsure about any other questions regarding assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship, or the overall Sponsor Licence process, please contact us here at White Rose Visas.

We have experience in handling Sponsor Licencing for companies in numerous sectors and have several support packages to suit any company formation and situation.

If you are a worker looking to make a Tier 2 application, we are also experienced in advising on all UK working visas and are ready to take on your case.

Kim Day, photo by White Rose Visas

Kim Day, Senior Immigration Adviser at White Rose Visas, comments:

“It’s normal to panic a little when filling in Home Office application forms, and often some of the questions like the above can be unclear in their meaning and their importance. This is why we fill in all online forms on behalf of our clients, based on the information they give to us, to ensure that every question is answered and submitted correctly, making the application process as stress-free as possible.”

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