UKBA Occupational Codes of Practice

The HR departments of Indian IT companies have a new task in hand from 6April 2011.  Not only have they got to differentiate between “short-term” and “long-term” routes for the Tier2 “Intra-Company Transfer – Established Worker” category in terms of ensuring the minimum salaries under each of these two routes is met, but in addition they must ensure the minimum salary requirement in the COP is met.

For example, the minimum stipulated salary for a “long-term”  T2 ICT Established worker  is currently £40,000 pa.  However, if the person is a “Project Leader” then referring to the Code of Practice  SOC 2132, the minimum salary requirement is £41,600 pa.  Therefore, if the person is paid less than £41,600 this will represent a breach of the salary guidelines and could affect the organisation’s Sponsor Licence on audit by UKBA.

Conversely, under the COP code 2132 a “Senior Test Analyst” can be paid £33,200 but under the ICT rules at that level of salary it is only possible to bring that person to the UK for 12 months.  What happens if the project continues beyond 12 months?  The person can return to the UK under the “long-term” route but must be paid at least £40,000 pa – a big jump in salary and resulting cost to the company.

Its not only the salary levels that Indian HR departments need to watch out for.  Its the job titles and job descriptions also.  These must accurately reflect the job the person will be doing in the UK.  The company should not artificially change job titles and descriptions so that the migrant can creep in under the lowest salary levels as per COP / ICT guidance.  If UKBA discover this has been done then problems could arise for the Sponsor.  Remember consultants can be asked to appear before UKBA officers at the audit and will be interrogated regarding the nature of their jobs.  This grilling will be much more severe than the interview in India at the entry clearance stage.  Therefore, Indian HR departments need to “map” internal job titles, job descriptions and HR practices to UKBA guidance to properly reflect the actual roles and responsibilities of the person once they arrive in the UK.

There are numerous other pitfalls and traps that Sponsors must avoid if they wish to preserve a “clean” licence.  Therefore expert guidance from experienced professionals is required.