How to apply for a Sponsor Licence to Sponsor Skilled Workers?
As of January 1st, 2020, the process for companies and organisations to employ EU/EEA and non-EEA citizens is the same under the introduction of the new points-based system (PBS) and skilled worker visa which has essentially replaced the Tier 2 work visa. This visa is the main work route under the new PBS and was introduced on December 1st 2020. In order to employ individuals from abroad from now on, UK employers must, first of all, apply for a specific sponsor license that will allow them to hire skilled worker visa holders.
There are various types of sponsor licences, but in this article, we deal with the skilled worker’s license very similar to the former Tier 2 (general) work permit now abolished, and the Tier 2 (intra- company transfer visa), whereby an employee of a foreign company is transferred to work from the parent company to its UK subsidiary.
⇒ The Skilled Worker Visa for both EU and non-EU nationals – Replacement of Tier 2 (General) Work Visa
How do I apply for a Skilled Worker Sponsor License UK?
With the end of free movement as a result of the UK officially leaving the EU on December 31st, many UK businesses now are trying to figure out if they should or should not apply for a sponsor license that will allow them to employ foreign workers from both inside the EU and outside. This new system puts both EU and non-EU nationals on an equal footing with regards to UK immigration rules and ensures that they must be sponsored to enter this country by an employer who holds the new Home Office sponsor license. Without this new sponsor license for skilled workers, businesses within the UK will not be able to hire externally, and will instead have to hire people who are already in the UK with pre-settled or settled status or permanent resident under the UK immigration rules or who are British nationals.
If your company would like to start employing workers from overseas on the new skilled worker visa route or those coming to the UK on a Tier 2 Intra – company transfer visa, you will need to file an application for a skilled worker sponsor license from the UK Home Office. It is important to understand the duties and requirements behind such a license and also the implications for their business if their sponsor license is cancelled or revoked by the Home Office in the future.
It is important to understand what kind of sponsor license your company will need as an effect of these new changes to the immigration rules.
Sponsoring workers from a branch abroad
If your company would like to sponsor workers from a branch abroad, then you will need to apply for the Tier 2 Intra- company transfer sponsor license.
Sponsoring new workers from outside of the UK
If you would like to sponsor new people from overseas, you will need a skilled worker visa sponsor licence which will enable you to do this under the new immigration rules.
What does your company need to prove to get a skilled worker sponsor license?
The requirements to receive such a license from the Home Office are that:
-You should prove that the company is a genuine going concern, and is trading legally in the UK.
-The company in question is based in the UK.
-The company has genuine job vacancies that meet the skilled worker visa eligibility criteria.
-The company can comply with sponsor license management and reporting requirements.
-The company has had no problems in the past with UK immigration control and can comply with the UK immigration rules.
The business immigration department at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors are expert UK sponsor license and skilled worker visa solicitors and can advise and carry out applications on your behalf for either the skilled worker visa itself or getting a sponsor license for your company.
For more information, please call our team of skilled worker visa solicitors on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to Contact Us.
Sponsor license duties – What are they?
If your company is successful in getting a sponsor license, it is important to understand the reporting and management duties that come along with it so you can get the correct systems of procedures in place before making an application.
It will be absolutely necessary for your business to keep detailed records of all individuals who are sponsored. This is of great importance because you could be asked to submit this information to the UK Home Office at some point.
Such duties include:
-Keeping a full record of all those who have sponsored with regards to their right to work in the UK.
-Monitoring absences and sick leaves.
-Informing the Home Office about any changes that occur to a sponsored workers circumstances.
-Reporting all information and relevant matters on the Home Office sponsor license management system.
What does monitoring and reporting under a sponsor licence involve?
In order to keep your sponsor, license your company must be very organised with putting in place procedures to record and monitor your sponsored employees and reporting important information about your workers to the UK Home Office within the required deadlines. For example, if a sponsored worker leaves your company or does not start on the date that was initially agreed, has not played by the rules and breached their skilled worker visa or Intra company transfer visa conditions, then you must report this information to the Home Office to make sure that your sponsor license is not revoked.
Assigning staff to manage sponsor license duties
The sponsor license application process from the UK Home Office will require you to name specific personnel in your company; you will be in charge of the requirements surrounding hiring foreign nationals to work at your company after Brexit. These staff will be responsible for sponsor license management duties.
Key personnel are identified by the Home Office as:
-The authorising officer – This individual can be a senior manager or Head of HR department employee in a UK based company.
-The key point of contact – This individual will represent the company with the Home Office on an ongoing basis and can be a sponsor license solicitor
-A level 1 user – An individual who has access to and uses the Home Office sponsor license management system on a daily basis. (there can be more than 1 level 1 users)
-A level 2 user – This is an individual who uses the Home Office management system for administrative purposes and has fewer permissions that the level 1 user(s).
For these key personnel roles, an individual can fill more than one role, but all individuals of the roles explained above must be named on the sponsor license application form. These individuals must also be suitable, have no past criminal convictions or immigration offences and must be residing and within the borders of the UK when being made key personnel to such an application. For more information, please contact our sponsor license solicitors directly.
There are eligibility and suitability criteria involved when applying for a sponsor licence. These are dealt with below.
Genuine jobs for skilled workers
When applying for a skilled worker sponsor license, your company will have to show that you have genuine job vacancies and it needs overseas workers to enter the UK on skilled worker visas to fill them. The company, as the employer, must be carrying out business in the UK in a lawful manner.
With respect to suitability, this is a more detailed assessment, and the Home Office will look to see whether the company is dependable, reliable and honest and capable of meeting the responsibilities expected from a sponsor. Further details are set out below.
How to submit the sponsor license application?
The sponsor license application must be submitted online directly to the Home Office and supported by all the relevant paperwork. Required documents depend on what kind of company you have but will include general documents such as:
-The latest company audit
-Evidence that tax is paid
-Evidence that you have employer insurance
-Evidence of rent
-Proof of ownership or lease of premises
-Evidence of registration as an employee with HM Revenue and Customs
-Evidence that the sponsor is covered for employer’s liability insurance up to the minimum £5 million.
Additionally, it is of great importance to state your case to why your company needs a sponsor license alongside other information about the company in general, what kind of business it conducts and the names and job roles of company employees. For more help with these requirements, please do not hesitate to contact our team of sponsor license solicitors in London.
What happens after you submit your sponsor license application?
After your application has been submitted, the Home Office can decide if it is necessary to visit your company. It is always best to assume that such a visit will take place after you submit your application, so it is very advisable to have the right systems in place to make sure that if a visit takes place, your company passes with no problems. As well as helping you with your application and submitting it on your behalf, our team of sponsor license solicitors can help you with preparing for such a visit.
If the Home Office is not happy with the information that is supplied for the employer to be granted a grade A licence, it may grant a grade B licence and inform the employer that there are matters of concern within the company’s internal organisation that need to be fixed by a specific period of time. Otherwise, the licence will be revoked.
If your company fulfils all the above criteria and there are further queries by the Home Office after the application has been made and visit undertaken on behalf of the Home Office of your business, it is possible that you will receive your sponsor license within 3-8 weeks. However, if there is an expectation our team of sponsor license solicitors confirm that the time limit to receive your license will depend on the result of the checks that the Home Office officials carry out and what they require you to supply and how long it takes for you to supply these.
After you receive your sponsor license, you can start to proceed with hiring foreign nationals from outside of the UK to come and work for you. In that eventuality, you will need to assign a certificate of sponsorship for your employee to be able to apply for the visa either from within the UK or from abroad. However, you must make sure that the management of your sponsor license is carried out diligently to avoid your license being suspended, revoked or cancelled. Poor management of your sponsor license could cause renewal issues for your company when the time comes to renew it.
What are the documents required to be sent in with the application for a sponsor licence?
The Home Office leave it to the sponsoring company to send in its credentials and to show that it meets the eligibility and suitability criteria, and expects employers of all different structures to provide documents to demonstrate eligibility. Appendix A to the Home Office sponsor guidance sets out the type of documents required from which sponsors have to accumulate at least four pieces of evidence. We already alluded to some of these matters above in this article.
The employer must set out in its submissions to the Home Office when dealing with for example intra- company transfers, evidence of the skills shortages that have to be filled for which the employee is being transferred to the UK from the parent company abroad, however, if the job in question is not on the shortage occupation list within the immigration rules or does not involve a salary above £159,600, the easiest way to demonstrate that the skill shortage exists is to advertise the role in a national newspaper or trade journal. For more information please talk with our sponsor license solicitors in London.