Following our news item on the reduction of the HTS refusal rate to 10%, the UKVI has now published the HTS assessment criteria in the new Tier 4 sponsor guidance. Below is a summary of the key points which will apply to Tier 4 sponsors making an HTS application from 1 November 2014.
The mandatory criteria has been amended as follows:
Please note that the core measurable scoring criteria have been removed. This means that sponsors applying on or after 1 November 2014 will only need to meet the mandatory requirements set out above. Consequently, the 'near miss' provisions have also been removed as there is no scoring system. Sponsors that fail to meet any of the mandatory requirements will be suspended and subsequently revoked unless discretion can be applied as set out below.
The UKVI has now added a paragraph on when they may apply their discretion when assessing an HTS application. Prior to this the UKVI applied a 'holistic approach' which was not defined or specified in the guidance to sponsors who were deemed to be 'small users'. The new criteria applies to those who have not issued any CAS or those who have issued less than 50 CAS in the last 12 months. The discretionary assessments will be conducted on a case by case basis, taking into account the Sponsor’s circumstances. The factors the UKVI stated they will consider may include but are not limited to:
Given the tightening of the HTS criteria, it is more important than ever that sponsors ensure that their recruitment practices and systems are robust and assist them to maintain their HTS status. The immigration team at Penningtons Manches will be holding a series of workshops in Oxford, on Thursday 4 September, and in London, on Thursday 11 September, focused on helping sponsors to maintain their licence and HTS status. Further details will be published shortly. To indicate your interest in Oxford or London, please click on the relevant link.