Sponsor licences are required for organisations looking to employ most types of workers from outside the UK, such as Skilled Visa Workers. In order to secure a UK visa sponsorship licence, an application has to be made and the required fees must be paid to the Home Office.
Furthermore, sponsor licences are only granted by the Home Office to organisations that can show that the roles they are recruiting for and the workers they intend to sponsor meet the necessary requirements. The organisation must also have HR systems in place that follow the necessary sponsorship compliance duties.
Once granted, a sponsor licence is valid for a period of four years. As the licences do not automatically renew themselves, the organisation must make a renewal application prior to their old licence expiring to avoid any issues with their sponsored workers’ visa validity.
Under the UK’s points-based immigration system, the main routes for non-UK residents working in the UK involve Skilled worker visas, Global Business Mobility visas and Temporary worker visas. These all require sponsorship by a licensed employer who must apply to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) for a sponsorship licence. This license then grants the employer permission to sponsor workers in their business. However, only organisations, not individuals, can be licensed ‘sponsors’.
The Home Office also relies on the “sponsorship regime” to prevent any illegal working and misuse of the immigration system. This means by agreeing to become a sponsor licence holder, the employer is taking on particular compliance responsibilities and thus subjecting their organisation to Home Office surveillance.
The above mentioned regime also ensures that the sponsor is meeting all the compliance duties expected when sponsoring migrant workers, that sponsored workers meet the points requirements and have the required language skills and that the roles being sponsored meet the requirements for skill level and salary.
Failure to meet the duties can result in enforcement action, which would include fines and the licence being revoked. This would then result in visa workers losing their job and their visa being shortened, resulting in them having to leave the country prematurely.
The Home Office uses the application process to assess the employer’s ability to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements and have a specific sponsor applications team who consider applications for sponsorship.
There are also no restrictions regarding the size or type of organisation that can hold a sponsorship licence, provided that they meet the eligibility and suitability criteria for the specific category or tier that they are applying for. Failure to meet the criteria will result in an application being refused.
Sponsorship Licence applications usually take around six weeks to process. This is excluding the time needed in preparing and compiling the submission, which can take several weeks. However, with premium processing, employers can receive a decision on their application within ten working days for an additional £500.
If you are a sponsor or potential sponsor looking to employ workers from outside the UK and require more information regarding sponsorship licenses, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced staff in our Immigration Law team at Bond Adams Solicitors. You can contact us at email@example.com or on 0116 285 8080.