SPONSOR LICENCE APPLICATIONS
In order to employ skilled workers from outside the EU, UK employers must first apply to UK Visas and Immigration for a Tier 2 and/or Tier 5 sponsor licence. Non-EEA nationals must have a sponsor before they can apply to come to, or remain in, the UK for work.
What are the main eligibility requirements?
In order to obtain a sponsor licence, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- Your company is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK;
- You are honest, dependable and reliable;
- You are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties and evidencing your compliance in an appropriate timeframe and manner;
- If you are applying under Tier 2 (General), you can offer genuine employment that meets the Tier 2 (General) skill level and appropriate rates of pay.
In order to establish that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, you will need to submit a number of company-related documents. The exact documents will depend upon the type of organisation that you are and the tiers that you wish to sponsor migrants under.
UKVI will assess whether you are honest, dependable and reliable by looking at your history and background, as well as that of the key personnel named on your application and any people involved in the day to day running of your business.
UKVI will examine your current human resources and recruitment practices in order to make sure that you are able to fulfil your sponsor duties.
Under the genuineness test, UKVI will look at the role that you are seeking to recruit foreign nationals for, and the extent to which this role fits within your organisation as a whole.
Your submission to the Home Office must also include evidence of compliance with the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), if the role requires one.
What else do I need to know?
You can apply for a sponsor licence online. At the end of the application, you will need to print out the submission sheet and post it to UK Visas and Immigration, along with the correct supporting documents.
Most sponsor licence applications are processed within 8 weeks.
As part of the sponsor licence application process, UK Visas and Immigration may visit your business premises in order to check if it satisfies the sponsorship criteria.
It is important that your sponsor licence application is prepared carefully, as there is no right of appeal if your licence application is refused. If you are refused a licence, you may not be able to apply again for up to five years, depending on the circumstances.
Once your application has been approved, you will be granted an A-rated sponsor licence, following which you can start assigning Certificates of Sponsorship to migrants who wish to work for you, and you will be listed under the register of sponsors.
You will be given access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS). This is an online portal where you can manage your licence. You must also use the system to report certain events, such as if a migrant fails to report to work.
A sponsor licence is valid for 4 years, after which you will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence Renewal.
If you fail to meet your sponsorship responsibilities, you could lose your licence.
How we can help
Our business immigration barristers assist UK employers to obtain the right sponsor licence, maintain their licence at the highest rating and comply with their sponsor duties.
Whether you require advice on the correct company-related documentation to provide in support of a sponsor licence application, assistance with drafting a compelling business case that will satisfy UKVI that you need a sponsor licence in order to fill a genuine role or guidance on running a compliant RLMT, our immigration barristers can manage the sponsor licence application process on your behalf.
We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our business clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice directly to UK employers as part of a professional and friendly service.
WE CAN ALSO ASSIST WITH
Advice on company-related documentation required by UKVI
In order to establish that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, you will need to submit a number of company-related documents to UKVI. You will also need to present information concerning your business activities in the UK, HR and recruitment practices and details of how your organisation intends to comply with the requirements of the sponsor licence. The documents will need to be received by UKVI within 5 working days of the date on which the online application form is submitted.
Our immigration barristers can advise on the full range of company-related documents that UKVI will expect to see and also check your documents in order to ensure that they comply with Home Office requirements.
Drafting representations in support of sponsor licence applications
As part of your application for a sponsor licence, you will need to advance a compelling business case explaining why you need a sponsor licence and why the role that you are seeking to fill is a genuine one that fits into your organisation.
Our immigration barristers can draft compelling representations which will make the case to UKVI as to why your company should be granted a sponsor licence.
Mock Immigration Audits
As part of its assessment of whether you are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties, UKVI may visit your business premises. They will inspect your recruitment and human resources procedures and will interview relevant staff.
As part of our sponsor licence application preparation service, a barrister with specialist expertise can undertake a mock Immigration Audit of your recruitment and HR processes in order to ensure that you have the necessary systems and procedures in place to meet your sponsorship obligations.
Resident Labour Market Test
The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) is integral to the Tier 2 (General) recruitment process. It is designed to give settled workers priority in the job market. Unless the vacancy that you are seeking to fill is exempt from the RLMT, a foreign national worker can only be recruited once you have completed an appropriate RLMT and it has been found that there is no suitable settled worker to fill the vacancy.
Whether you require assistance with ensuring that your job advert satisfies the RLMT, advice on the records that you should keep during the recruitment process or advice on the documents that you should retain in order to demonstrate compliance with your sponsorship duties, our immigration barristers can assist.
Sponsor Licence Renewals
Your sponsor licence will expire 4 years after it was granted. If you wish to continue to sponsor migrants, you will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence Renewal before it expires. It is good practice to apply at least one month before your licence expires.
You may be asked to send additional documents to UKVI. If you fail to send UKVI these documents, they may downgrade, suspend or revoke your licence. UKVI may also visit your business premises. If they have any concerns about your actions as a sponsor they may downgrade or revoke your licence. Our immigration barristers can work with you to ensure that you are able to successfully renew your sponsor licence.
Sponsor Licence Suspensions and Revocations
If UKVI believe that you are breaching your duties and pose a threat to immigration control, your sponsor licence may be suspended. If you are subject to a Sponsor Licence Suspension, you will not be able to sponsor new migrants, but your current sponsored migrants will be unaffected. UKVI may then reinstate your licence, downgrade it or revoke it.
If you are failing to meet your sponsor duties in a serious way or stop operating in the UK, your licence will be revoked. If you are subject to a Sponsor Licence Revocation, any migrants that you sponsor will have their leave curtailed. They will be given 60 calendar days to find alternative sponsorship or leave the UK.
Our immigration barristers work with sponsors to secure reinstatement of their sponsor licences, ensuring that a robust case is presented to UKVI addressing any issues raised in suspension letters. If a decision has been taken to revoke a sponsor licence, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of applying for Judicial Review of the revocation decision and, where appropriate, provide representation in Judicial Review proceedings.
Sponsor Licence Refusals
There is no right of appeal against the refusal of an application for a sponsor licence.
If the Sponsor Licence Refusal decision was the result of either a caseworker error or the result of supporting evidence sent as part of your application not being considered by UKVI then our immigration barristers can assist you to request that the error be corrected and, if appropriate, submit a new online sponsor licence application.
If the decision to refuse your sponsor licence application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can apply for Judicial Review and provide representation at Judicial Review hearings.
We also assist employers to prepare fresh applications for sponsor licences following previous refusal decisions.