Home Office: New Behaviour Tests for Sponsors & Skilled Workers

As you may already know, the Home Office continually update their published guidances on many visa applications, particularly their approved visa sponsors, and those thinking of becoming one, under Tiers 2, 4 and 5 of the UK’s Points Based System. In particular Tier 2 and Tier 5 relate to those who are coming to the UK to work and Tier 4 are for international students coming to study in the UK. This week, another revised version was yet again published by the Home Office, which reflects the new behaviour test. The latest addendums are as follows :

Tier 2 and 5: Guidance for Sponsors – Addendum:

  1. When a sponsor is granted a Tier 2 or Tier 5 licence, significant trust is placed in them. With this trust comes a direct responsibility to act in accordance with the Immigration Rules, all parts of Tiers 2 and 5 sponsor guidance, and with wider UK law.
  2. There is also a wider responsibility for sponsors to behave in a manner that is consistent with our fundamental values and that is not detrimental to the wider public good. Sponsorship is a privilege, not a right. The Home Office will not license organisations whose actions and behaviour are non-conducive to the public good. These include but are not limited to:
  • fostering hatred or inter-community division;
  • fomenting, justifying or glorifying terrorism; and/or;
  • rejecting the rights of, or discriminating against, other groups or individuals on the basis of their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, race, religious belief (including lack of belief), or any other protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
  1. The Home Office will refuse a sponsor licence application or take the appropriate compliance actions, if it becomes known to us that a prospective or existing sponsor has engaged in such behaviour or actions. The compliance action taken will depend on the gravity of the behaviour and actions but could include compliance actions up to and including revocation.”

It comes as no surprise that the Home Office have included an addendum regarding terrorist-related activities as a ground for compliance action, with regards to the new behaviour test. However, the statement stating to refusing to licence a sponsor, or taking action against an existing sponsor, that has discriminated against people due to their “gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, race …etc”, leaves us confused as to the scope and meaning of this. It is no doubt this definitely will need to be tackled, but begs the question, how will the Home Office go about this?