The following provides a very brief overview of the Government’s points-based immigration system. It explains how the system works and what it means for cycling teams and cycling organisations seeking to employ migrant workers as riders, coaches or team/performance managers.
Who does the system apply to?
The points-based system applies to migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. If a UCI-registered cycling team or British Cycling partner organisation wishes to employ an EEA or Swiss national, it should be able to do this without needing to join the scheme, although there are some restrictions on nationals of countries that have recently joined the EEA.
How the system works
Under the system, migrants need to pass a points-based assessment before they are given permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. The system consists of five tiers. Each tier has different points requirements. The number of points the migrant needs and the way the points are awarded depend on the tier they are applying under. Points are awarded to reflect the migrant’s ability, experience, age and, when appropriate, the level of need within the sector in which the migrant will be working. For more information on the points-based system, please see the UK Visas and Immigration website.
What are the tiers?
The points-based system consists of five tiers. The applicable tiers for UCI-registered cycling teams and British Cycling partner organisations are Tier 2 and Tier 5.
- The sportspersons category of Tier 2 of the points-based system is for elite sports people and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level, whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK and who intend to base themselves in the UK.
- The sportspersons category of Tier 5 of the points-based system is for internationally established sports people at the highest level in their sport and/or whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development and operation of that particular sport in the UK. It is also for coaches who must be suitably qualified to fulfill the role in question. This category is for sports people coming to the UK to work or perform for up to 12 months.
Guidance for cycling teams & cycling organisations
If a UCI-registered team or British Cycling partner organisation wishes to recruit a migrant under Tier 2 or Tier 5, they will have to apply for a sponsor licence.
For UCI-registered cycling teams and British Cycling partner organisations to become sponsors, they need to obtain approval from the British Cycling Sponsorship Panel in the form of a governing body endorsement of their application for a licence. The purpose of an endorsement for a prospective sponsor is to confirm to Home Office officials processing sponsor applications that the application is from a bona fide sports club or equivalent that has a legitimate requirement to bring migrants to the UK as sports people.
Sponsorship plays two main roles in the points-based system application process:
- It provides evidence that the migrant has a genuine job or course to go to in the UK;
- It acts as a pledge from the sponsor that it will accept the responsibilities of sponsorship in respect of the migrant.
Once licensed, the sponsor will be able to apply for Certificates of Sponsorship from the Home Office, which it will allocate to migrants coming here to work for it. The issue of a certificate of sponsorship authorises the migrant to apply for entry clearance, but does not mean that his or her application will succeed. The Home Office will make the final decision about who is allowed to come here. The migrant will need to obtain sufficient points and their personal or immigration history will be considered as part of the entry clearance.
Each migrant that a UCI-registered team or British Cycling partner organisation wishes to employ needs to be offered a Certificate of Sponsorship by that team or organisation; however, before they can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to a sportsperson, they will also have to obtain an endorsement from British Cycling for all applications made for individual sports people and coaches.
Most migrants wanting to come to the UK under the points-based system will need prior entry clearance, which they will not be allowed to apply for without a Certificate of Sponsorship. However, a Certificate of Sponsorship in no way guarantees that a visa will be issued. Endorsements for migrants and sponsors will be required for each Certificate of Sponsorship to be issued, that is for initial, change of employment and extension applications. A separate endorsement will be required for each Tier that a sponsor wishes to sponsor under. For example, if a sponsor is already licensed under Tier 2, they would still need a governing body endorsement to also register as a sponsor under Tier 5.
The next section provides the details of the criteria required by both the sponsors and the migrants that must be fulfilled for British Cycling to provide a Governing Body Endorsement under the points-based system for migrants seeking work as riders, coaches or team/performance managers.
Any queries relating to the Governing Body Endorsement Process should be directed to British Cycling, either in writing to:
British Cycling Governing Body Endorsements
Human Resources Department
or by telephone on 0161 274 2033 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.