UK Sponsor Licence Lawyers for Businesses

Securing a sponsor licence is vital for UK businesses hiring international talent. At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we provide expert legal assistance to simplify this process for your business. 

Our team ensures your business meets all requirements for a successful application, helping you enhance your workforce with skilled professionals from around the globe.

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Access High Level Global Talent With a UK Sponsor Licence

Accessing talent from all over the world is crucial for UK businesses to flourish in today’s economy.

At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we recognise this importance and are dedicated to helping you legally onboard international specialists by acquiring the sponsor licence.

Who Can Apply For A UK Sponsor Licence?

At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we guide businesses through the sponsor licence application process, ensuring they meet the Home Office criteria. 

Here are the types of organisations that can apply:

  • Registered UK Businesses and Companies: Any business registered and operating in the UK, from startups to established corporations.
  • Charitable Organisations: UK-registered charities engaging in activities that require specialist skills from abroad.
  • Educational Institutions: Universities, colleges, and schools looking to hire international academic and support staff.
  • Other Entities: Religious institutions, sports clubs, and other organisations that need to sponsor employees outside the UK for specific roles.

A Brief Overview of the UK Sponsor Licence

A UK sponsor licence is an official legal certificate allowing businesses to hire from abroad through various visa categories, enhancing their access to diverse skills and perspectives. 

The two primary types of licences are the Worker Licence and the Temporary Worker Licence

The Worker Licence covers roles such as Skilled Workers, Senior or Specialist Workers (for multinational transfers), Ministers of Religion, and International Sportspersons.

The Temporary Worker Licence is designed for short-term positions in areas like the arts, charity work, and seasonal industries. Each licence type addresses different employment needs, facilitating a structured approach to international hiring.

The Importance of a Sponsor Licence for UK Businesses

Obtaining a sponsor licence is crucial for UK businesses aiming to hire from abroad. It facilitates legal and strategic access to international talent and ensures compliance with immigration regulations.

Accessing a Global Talent Pool

Securing a sponsor licence enables businesses to tap into a worldwide pool of skilled professionals, significantly enhancing innovation and competitive edge. With the licence, you can source the best talent for specific skills and expertise lacking locally. 

Ensuring Compliance With Immigration Laws

Obtaining a sponsor licence ensures legal compliance while hiring international employees, minimising the risk of penalties and operational disruptions. Additionally, it reflects your company’s commitment to lawful practices, enhancing your reputation among stakeholders and regulators.

Enhancing Workplace Diversity and Innovation

With a sponsor licence, you can legally employ individuals from varied cultural, geographical, and professional backgrounds, boosting creativity and problem-solving within your team. Diversity brings different perspectives that are often the catalyst for breakthrough ideas and solutions, driving forward business processes and product development.

Meeting Business Demands

A sponsor licence allows you to promptly address skill shortages in your workforce, ensuring that your business can meet its operational needs efficiently. This capability is particularly important in industries where cutting-edge skills are continuously in demand, and the local talent pool may not suffice.

Building a Resilient and Skilled Workforce

Access to a globally skilled workforce allows you to strategically plan human resources to support long-term goals and respond effectively to industry trends. A well-rounded workforce, supported by international expertise, can better withstand market fluctuations and contribute to sustained business success.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Sponsor Licence?

Demonstrating Genuine Business Need

A business must show a real necessity for hiring non-UK residents. This requirement often arises from the unavailability of specific skills within the UK workforce or strategic decisions to incorporate diverse international skills to enhance business operations. Employers must justify the need for each role they wish to fill with a non-UK resident, ensuring it aligns with their operational goals.

Salary Threshold

Starting in April 2024, businesses will need to meet a higher salary threshold to sponsor overseas workers on a Skilled Worker visa. The new minimum annual salary will be set at £38,700, a substantial increase to ensure that only highly skilled and valuable professionals are brought into the UK workforce.

Upholding Operational Integrity

A fundamental requirement for obtaining a sponsor licence is the lawful operation of the business within the UK. This involves fulfilling all tax responsibilities, health and safety standards, and hiring regulations that are applicable on a national level. In order to keep the UK’s immigration system running smoothly, businesses must prove their dependability and stability by demonstrating compliance.

Robust HR Systems

Strong Human Resources systems are crucial for businesses intending to sponsor overseas employees. These systems must efficiently manage and record essential data on sponsored employees, including workers’ attendance, job competence, and major employment status changes. 

Compliance with Immigration Controls

Businesses applying for a sponsor licence must not threaten the UK’s immigration control. This includes a clean history free from immigration offences, fraud, or other criminal activities. A strong compliance record is essential to prove the business’s commitment to upholding lawful practices within the UK immigration framework.

Contacting a Civil Litigation Solicitor: When and Why?

It’s essential to get in touch with a civil litigation solicitor at the onset of a potential dispute. Doing so can help clients resolve such problems amicably without resorting to court action, which can make things very expensive. By having a solicitor on your side early, you gain an advantage in negotiations and ensure your rights are protected from the beginning.

Our lawyers have been involved in many of the leading cases, and many have so far recognised Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors as leading experts in their practice areas.

The firm’s policy is to endeavour to avoid protracted litigation and reach agreements in the best possible terms for the client. Litigation can be expensive and often not an option for many businesses.

We advise both claimants and defendants, including debt disputes, breach of contract, partnership disputes, and building and boundary disputes, with a view to negotiating out-of-court settlements.  Also, we advise on defence to claims in court for a successful result. We work closely with our network of experienced barristers to ensure the best possible client outcomes.

Mediation is often a consideration in the course of these matters to try to avoid escalating costs for clients.

Get immediate assistance and guidance from our Sponsor Licence Lawyers in London by calling 0207 269 9590 or click here to contact us.

Required Documents for the Sponsor Licence

You must submit an exhaustive set of documents to ensure your sponsor licence application is successful. Here’s a brief overview of the required documents:

  • Proof of Business Operation: Evidence such as bank statements, utility bills, or a lease agreement to demonstrate that your business is actively trading and legitimately established in the UK.
  • HR Compliance Documents: Details of your HR systems showing how your business monitors employee attendance, performance, and compliance with employment regulations, ensuring you can manage sponsorship duties effectively.
  • Evidence of Genuine Vacancy: Include job advertisements, job descriptions, and details of the recruitment process to prove the necessity to hire from outside the UK, demonstrating efforts to recruit locally first.
  • Financial Documents: Financial documents like recent bank statements or profit and loss accounts are required to illustrate your business’s financial stability and capability to maintain sponsored workers.

Proof of Registration: Depending on your business type and industry, evidence of registration with a relevant UK regulatory body is necessary.

Sponsor Licence Application Fees

The application fee for a UK sponsor licence differs based on the licence type and the extent of your organisation. Small or charitable sponsors pay £536 for a Worker Licence, while the bigger sponsors are charged £1,476.

A small sponsor normally fulfils two of the following criteria: they have 50 workers or fewer, yearly earnings of £10.2 million or less, and total assets of £5.1 million or less.

A charitable sponsor is an entity registered as a charity in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland that may demonstrate charitable status for tax reasons.

The fee for a Temporary Worker Licence is £536, regardless of the organisation’s size. It’s vital to note that these costs are often changed with UK immigration policy updates. Consulting with a business immigration solicitor is recommended for the most current fee information and to determine your business category correctly.

What's Next After Obtaining Your Sponsor Licence

After getting your sponsor licence, you can begin sponsoring skilled immigrant workers. You’ll need to understand your responsibilities and those of the employee. If the employee is outside the UK, they must apply for a Skilled Worker visa or another appropriate visa category. 

If they are already in the UK under a separate employer, they need to change their employment visa application. Before proceeding, you, as an employer, need to generate a Certificate of Sponsorship for them, detailing the job offer, duties, salary, and other terms for the work.

Sponsor Licence Duties and Responsibilities

Acquiring a sponsor licence is an important milestone for any UK business; however, the true problem is keeping it. The Home Office requires all sponsor licence holders to fulfil specific responsibilities to maintain the licence.

Responsibilities to Stay Complaint

 

When you hold a valid sponsor licence, expect your business to undergo routine checks by the Home Office to confirm your compliance with the responsibilities and obligations of a sponsor.

Unscheduled audits can occur, emphasising the importance of always being well-prepared. It is vital to keep your records up to date, particularly those related to your sponsored employees. Make sure these records are nicely organised and easily searchable during any inspections.

You must also notify the Home Office of any substantial changes to the organisation, such as mergers, acquisitions, or modifications in business scope. Similarly, any changes related to your sponsored employees, such as changes in their job roles or their exit from your company, should be communicated promptly.

Renewing Your Sponsor Licence

The Home Office has declared that starting 6 April 2024, the requirement to renew the sponsor licence will be eliminated. This adjustment means that if your sponsor licence expires on or after this date, you are not required to apply for a renewal or pay any associated fees.

The Home Office has automatically extended the expiry dates of all licences scheduled to expire on or after 6 April 2024 by an additional 10 years, and no action is required on your part.

If you have already received a reminder to extend your licence, you can disregard it. For those who have already advanced a renewal application, the Home Office will get in touch to arrange a refund of the renewal fee.

Can My Application for Sponsor Licence be Rejected or Refused?

Obtaining a sponsorship licence is crucial for businesses aiming to recruit international talent, but there are instances where applications get rejected or refused. Understanding the reasons behind these decisions is vital for successful application.

Sponsor Licence Rejection

A sponsor licence application may be rejected if it is deemed invalid by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). In this scenario, applicants can reapply immediately, and the application fee is usually refunded. Some common causes for rejection include:

  • Incomplete application forms missing essential details.
  • Incorrect fee payment that does not align with the required amount for the size and type of the organisation.
  • Failure to include the printed necessary documents as outlined in Appendix A.
  • Designating an authorising officer who is not qualified.

To avoid such errors, it is advisable to seek advice from professional immigration lawyers experienced in UK business immigration law to ensure your application is meticulously prepared and error-free.

Sponsor Licence Refusal

A sponsor licence refusal is more severe than a rejection, carrying heavier consequences such as the non-refund of the application fee and a mandatory cooling-off period before reapplication. Depending on the reasons for refusal, this cooling-off period can last 6 to 12 months and, in extreme cases, up to 5 years.

Common reasons for licence refusal include:

  • Delay or failure to send required documents to UKVI within five business days after filing the online application.
  • Providing incorrect supporting documents as required by Appendix A or submitting false documents not only leads to a refusal but also incurs a significant cooling-off period.
  • Inability to convincingly justify the necessity for a sponsor licence for a particular role.
  • Discovering issues such as immigration policy breaches or criminal convictions among key personnel.
  • Finding inadequate HR systems or non-compliant recruitment practices during a Home Office inspection.
  • Previous licence revocation without meeting the stipulated requirements after a B-rating downgrade.
  • Recent immigration offences by the organisation, like employing illegal workers.
  • Oversight errors by UKVI during application processing, although these can potentially be corrected upon request.

What to Do If Your Licence is Refused?

If your application for a sponsor licence is refused by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), you have limited recourse to challenge the decision, as direct appeals for an administrative review are not available. However, there are two primary avenues you can pursue to contest a refusal: 

Submit a Caseworker Error Correction Request

This method is suitable if the refusal arises from an error made by the caseworker, such as missing a critical document or mistakenly identifying a document as false. If you detect such an oversight, you can file a “Caseworker Error Correction Request” with the Home Office. 

This request must be submitted within 14 days of obtaining the refusal notice and signed by your organisation’s authorising officer.

This submission is often the most straightforward and effective way to challenge a refusal, especially if it’s clear that an error affected the decision. You can reapply for the licence online if your correction request is successful.

Judicial Review

If you firmly believe that the refusal of your sponsor licence was based on unlawful grounds, you can opt for a judicial review. This must be initiated within three months of the refusal date. A judicial review involves a detailed examination of the whole application procedure and the decision-making by UKVI by a judge.

Pursuing a judicial review is more complicated and generally demands legal assistance. You must prove that the decision was unreasonable and lacked sufficient supporting evidence. Achieving success through judicial reviews can be challenging and is relatively rare. So, having a legal expert by your side is always recommended while applying for judicial review. 

Re-Applying After a Sponsor Licence Refusal

You can reapply after a sponsor licence refusal, but this timing depends on the reasons behind the initial refusal. If the refusal derived from a delay in submitting supporting documents and you had valid reasons for this delay, you may be eligible to reapply immediately.

Before re-applying, thoroughly review the reasons for the initial refusal. Understanding these reasons is crucial to address the specific issues that caused the refusal. If the refusal was due to incorrect or incomplete information, ensure that all data in the new application is accurate and complete. Double-check all entries and supporting documents. 

Enhance your application by ensuring that all required supporting documents are present and support the claims made in your application. 

If your application was refused with a mandatory cooling-off period (typically 6 to 12 months or up to 5 years in severe cases), you must wait until this period expires before re-applying. During this time, focus on rectifying the grounds that led to the refusal and improving your organisation’s internal compliance and HR systems.

Given the complexities associated with the re-application process, it’s advisable to seek guidance from professionals specialising in UK immigration law. They can offer valuable insights into the application procedure, help identify areas of improvement, and increase the likelihood of a successful re-application.

Need Assistance with Your Sponsor Licence Application?

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Considering applying for a sponsor licence but feeling daunted by the complex process? Let Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors make it easier for you.

Whether you need to sponsor skilled international workers or need assistance managing a sponsor licence, our expert team is here to support you. We provide tailored advice to employers, ensuring you secure your UK sponsor licence and maintain it effectively for the long term.

Our lawyers can help you with:

  • Sponsor Licence Applications
  • Sponsor Licence Management
  • Sponsorship Licence Refusals and Rejections
  • Sponsor Licence Compliance
  • Audit Preparation and Support
  • Guidance on Changes in Sponsorship Duties
  • Advice on Complex Immigration Issues

Don’t let the complexities of the application process restrict your business objectives. Reach out to our team of dedicated UK immigration professionals today, and let us help you turn your business aspirations into reality.

FAQs about Sponsor Licence

For a UK employer to hold a sponsor licence means they have been granted permission by the Home Office to employ foreign nationals eligible to work in the UK under various visa categories. This enables businesses based in the UK to address skill gaps by sponsoring workers from outside the UK.

The processing period for a Sponsor Licence application varies; however, the Home Office normally tries to handle applications within 8 weeks after submission. Expedited processing or priority service may be available for an additional fee, allowing businesses to receive a decision within 10 working days.

If a sponsor licence application is rejected, the employer can review the reasons for refusal provided by the Home Office. Depending on the grounds for rejection, employers might address the issues and reapply or consider using the Sponsor Management System to submit a Caseworker Error Correction Request if applicable.

Sponsorship licence lawyers specialise in UK immigration law and can provide valuable assistance throughout the sponsor licence application process. They help ensure that all parts of the application comply with UK immigration rules, advise on the documents needed to demonstrate the business is trading lawfully in the UK, and offer guidance on maintaining compliance with the sponsor licence once granted.

Our Civil Litigation Solicitors in London are here to assist you.