UK Sponsor License Application Guide 2021
The rules and processes relating to acquiring and maintaining a valid UK sponsor licence can be complex. As dependable UK immigration lawyers, we can take some of the stress out of the equation.
Why Sponsor License
As a UK employer, you must obtain a sponsor licence from the Home Office if you wish to employ workers who are not residents in the UK. The visa system around which the new licensing works is points-based. Routes include the Skilled Worker visa. Any employer who doesn’t have a valid, current sponsor licence is not permitted to employ migrant workers in the UK as of 1st January 2021. Any existing sponsored employees must have an extended visa to remain in your employment.
It is important for sponsors to have a comprehensive knowledge of their duties. You must apply systems and processes to meet the initial requirements and keep records to demonstrate compliance. Without expert support and advice, it can be hard to get everything right.
What we do
GSN Immigration are business immigration experts and we can support your application with every aspect of the UK sponsor licence.
We can help with your application if you:
- Are applying for your first sponsor licence
- Wish to renew an existing licence
- Have had an application for a licence declined
- Need ongoing support with managing your compliance obligations
- As an experienced team of immigration lawyers, we can support your HR team or even handle the application for, and management of, your sponsor licence on your behalf. We can do this for all types of sponsor licence.
Our key sponsor licence services
- Helping assess your circumstances to identify the most appropriate type of sponsor licence and assign the key personnel
- Drafting the online sponsor licence application
- Assisting with gathering the necessary supporting documents
- Full audits of your HR and recruitment procedures to prepare for the UKVI visit
- Offering briefing for staff to ensure they understand their compliance duties
- Advising on the assessments the UKVI will perform, and on whether a prospective employee will meet the points criteria
- Guidance on costs relating to the sponsorship throughout its lifecycle
- Information regarding assigning Certificates of Sponsorship to visa workers
- Suggesting alternatives to sponsor licences if you decide it is not the way to go
- Applying for licence renewals
- Help to deal with suspensions or revocations of sponsor licences
If you want to learn more about our professional service and find out how we could help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thinking about submitting your first sponsor licence?
If you are preparing to apply for a sponsor licence for the first time, you must demonstrate in your application that you will be able to meet the requirements from the very beginning. Any concerns the Home Office has that you might not be able to comply with are likely to result in your application being declined and your application fee is lost.
Holders of sponsor licences may be investigated by the Home Office at any time. If there is an allegation of a breach of compliance, the Home Office has the discretion to suspend, downgrade or even revoke a sponsor licence. This will have consequences for your ability to employ migrant workers and even threaten the status of any sponsored workers you currently employ.
Sound intimidating? This is why having specialist help from experienced immigration lawyers is a good idea.
Sponsor licence application process
When submitting an application for a sponsor licence, companies are required to demonstrate they are a legitimate organisation with lawful operations in the United Kingdom. You must show awareness of the responsibilities as a sponsor, as well as your capability to carry them out. This includes having the right recruitment and HR systems and processes.
You must also consider the following:
- You submit the application online, along with all supporting documents in line with the stated evidentiary requirements. These documents must be supplied no later than 5 days after the application is submitted. Failure to do this in time can result in an application being delayed or rejected, and it may incur further costs.
- If you wish to apply for a skilled sponsor licence, you must demonstrate that you are offering genuine employment that meets the requisite skill level and rate of pay.
- The key personnel you name on your sponsor application must be honest and reliable. The Home Office will determine this by running background checks on those named individuals.
- Companies are also required to adhere to the legal working requirements. This means all employees must provide valid documentation that proves their right to work before they can be employed by any UK company. The employer must retain copies of these documents.
- Once the documents have all been supplied, the organisation may be required to accept a compliance visit from UKVI. This visit will form part of the assessment that decides whether or not the sponsor licence will be granted.
There is a lot to think about…
Generally, a sponsor licence application takes around 8 weeks to assess. If a pre-licence compliance visit is needed, it can take more like 12 weeks for a decision to be reached. Expedited sponsor licence assessments can now be accessed for a fee of £500. This gives you access to the new Sponsor Licence Application Priority Service, whereby licence applications are processed in 10 working days.
GSN Immigration can help get everything prepared to ensure your application is as strong as possible.
Sponsor licence management and compliance
If your application is successful, the focus moves on to the management of the sponsor licence. You are making an ongoing commitment to ensure full compliance with your duties as described in your licence. Any breach of the rules may incur penalties from the Home Office.
We can help with this too.
One of the core duties is record-keeping, relating to the organisation and the sponsored workers therein.
For all types of visa, the licence holder must retain an electronic copy (or photocopy) of the relevant sections of the sponsored worker’s passport. This includes sections that display identity details, immigration status, leave stamps and the period of leave to remain. There should also be a record of that employee’s absences, their contract of employment, their biometric residence permit, current and previous contact details, National Insurance number and any other documentation required by their visa type.
Sponsors also have a duty to notify the Home Office of changes in certain circumstances.
This is usually done by updating the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) within a predetermined time frame. The Home Office uses SMS to gather and retain information that relates to your licence, so it is expected that you keep it up-to-date with the most recent information for your licence and sponsored workers.
What we can do for you for a successful Sponsor Licence application
We can help you apply for a Sponsor Licence for your business. As part of the process, we will make sure we pay a lot of attention to the hard copy documents and give you detailed advice about the application process.
If the Home Office decides to give your premises an audit we can advise you about this, and about your HR systems and record-keeping systems. If you so instruct us we can pretend to be the Home Office and give you a mock audit, and we can also be at your premises when the real audit takes place.
We will ensure we are with you from the very start and up until you receive a decision on your application. Sometimes applications are delayed and we can liaise with the Home Office or UKVI on your behalf.
Why not give us a call and discover that we are the best Immigration lawyers in London to handle your Sponsor Licence Application. We work with clients all over the UK so, wherever you are we are here to help.
Please call us on +44 208 150 6709 for an initial chat to discover we are the right firm for you, and speak to an experienced Immigration Lawyer / Adviser to bring your matter to a successful conclusion. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org