Sponsor License Application

Sponsor License Application

We help your business to hire qualified  international talent and while remaining compliant with UK law.

Awards and Accreditations

If you want to employ a member of staff from outside EEA (European Economic Area), you will first need to apply for a Sponsor License.

As part of the application process, an organization must prove that they have effective human resources, recruitment, record-keeping, reporting and regulatory systems in place and can comply with their duties as a sponsor. Failure to abide by the conditions of the Sponsor License can lead to revocation of the license as well as monetary fines and inclusion on a black-list of employers found to be in non-compliance.

After filing an application for a Sponsor License, an organization may then be subject to an audit or compliance visit from the Home Office, who will assess whether or not to grant the licence.

With almost 25% of sponsor license applications being refused, it is important to ensure that your application is prepared to the highest standard so that your business can meet its staffing needs and continue to grow and flourish.

Eligibility requirements for a Sponsor Licence

In order to obtain a sponsor licence, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you are a genuine organization operating lawfully in the UK. These documents may include your incorporation certificate, business bank statements and VAT number among others. Your company must also have a history of good workplace practices and must be capable of providing genuine employment at the appropriate level of pay. 

UKVI will assess your company history and background and examine your current HR practices in order to make sure that you are able to fulfil your sponsor duties.

The objective of the Sponsorship system is that the Sponsor safeguards the UK immigration system and that they will maintain robust record-keeping and reporting systems to discharge this obligation. They also undertake to only hire foreign workers when there is agenuine need and they have first made a good-faith effort to hire or train British workers first.

There is a detailed procedure for applying for a Sponsor licence. There are various specific criteria depending on the type of worker you are sponsoring and your industry sector.

Key elements of a Sponsor Licence application

Sponsor license applications are usually processed within 8 weeks. 

As part of the sponsor licence application process, UK Visas and Immigration may conduct a telephone interview or site visit to confirm that your company satisfies the sponsorship criteria.

A sponsor licence is valid for 4 years, after which you will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence Renewal. A refusal may be challenged via the Error Correction Request Form process, which looks at whether relevant evidence was overlooked.

If you fail to meet the duties and responsibilities associated with the grant of a sponsor license, you may have your license downgraded, suspended or revoked.

Sponsor Duties

The duties of a Sponsor License holder begin from the time a licence is granted and end upon its surrender or revocation. 

Record keeping duties

There is a general obligation to keep records of the sponsored migrants’ details including:

  • A copy of their passport including endorsed pages recording leave,
  • UK immigration status document showing entitlement to work for the sponsor,
  • Their contact information (full residential address and telephone number),
  • Records of the recruitment activities undertaken through which they were hired,
  • Evidence showing the adequancy of the Resident Labour Market Test,
  • Copies of their qualifications and employment references,
  • One formal document recording their national insurance number, e.g. from DWP, HMRC or a wage slip
  • Disclosure and Barring Service check where required,
  • Records of absences, electronically or manually,
  • Any other document set out in the relevant code of practice, and
  • Evidence of their earnings and allowances.

UKVI is entitled to request any of these documents and take action against the Sponsor if they are not supplied. 

Reporting duties

There is a duty to report events using the Sponsor Management System such as when a sponsored worker:

  • Does not turn up for their first day of work
  • Has their contract of employment terminated before the date provided in the CoS,
  • No longer requires Tier 2 sponsorship, because they have switched to a different visa category,
  • Is absent for work without pay for four weeks or longer,
  • Is a person to whom information comes to light suggesting they may be breaching visa conditions,
  • Is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive days without permission, and
  • Undergoes a significant change of circumstances as to job title, core duties, salary, or location of employment

The Sponsor must report significant changes to their own circumstances, such as selling all or part of the business, stopping trading, entering administration, substantially changing their business’s nature, or being involved in a merger/takeover, within 20 days of the event in question.

Resident Labour Market Test

Once an organization has secured a Sponsor License, they must demonstrate that they have advertised the vacancy in accordance with the guidance provided by the Home Office and tried to hire British citizens first. This is known as the Resident Labour Market Test.

There are certain exemptions to the Resident Labour Market test such as when the vacancy is for a job on the shortage occupation list, is an Intra-Company Transfer, or the salary is in excess of £159,600. Failure to advertise the position using the methods required by the Home Office may lead to an employer’s Sponsor License being revoked.

Certificate of Sponsorship

If an employer cannot find a suitable skilled worker after having conducted an advertising campaign, they then need to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

Once a CoS has been issued, we would assist the individual who has been offered the job, to file the appropriate visa application.

How our immigration lawyers can help

Our legal team will assist your business to obtain the correct sponsor license, maintain your license and ensure compliance with your sponsorship duties.

We will advise you regarding the correct company-related documentation to provide in support of a sponsor licence application. We will also prepare persuasive legal submissions and will communicate your recruitment and HR needs effectively to UKVI.

Call us on 0208 099 7560 or complete the online contact form to learn more about how we can help your business remain in compliance with UK immigration law.

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