August 9

IMMIGRATION NEWS: 5 Key Tips for a Successful UK Sponsor Licence Application

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5 key tips for a successful UK Sponsor Licence application

Due to recent changes in the Immigration Rules, there are likely to be a huge backlog of applications for UK Sponsor Licence so employers are encouraged to apply early to avoid disappointment of waiting longer periods before being granted the UK Sponsor Licence. This article sets out the 5 key tips for a successful UK Sponsor Licence application.  

What is the UK Sponsor Licence?

The UK Sponsor Licence entitles an employer in the UK to be registered on the Home Office’s register of Licenced Sponsors in order to be given permission to employ overseas workers in the UK. As of 17 February 2021, there are 33,148 licenced sponsors on the Home Office’s register of Licenced Sponsors under the Worker routes. You will need a UK Sponsor Licence to employ an overseas worker, which now also includes citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020.  

5 Key Tips for a Successful UK Sponsor Licence Application

The 5 key tips for a successful UK Sponsor Licence Application are:

1. Show that you are a genuine organisation operating legally in the UK

It is important for you to demonstrate that you operate a genuine business in the UK. The Home Office have set out some essential documents in Appendix A: supporting documents for sponsor licence application, which you must submit with your sponsor licence application. These particularly include the following:

  • Evidence of current, corporate bank account;
  • Employer liability insurance for at least £5 million;
  • Proof of registration with HMRC as self-employed;
  • Company Tax Returns;
  • Audited or unaudited accounts;
  • Certificate of VAT registration; and
  • Letter from corporate banking provider setting out dealings with you including natureand duration of those dealings.

Additional documents would need to be provided if you operate a regulated business and require certain licences to operate it. The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for legal advice.

2. Show that you are honest, dependable, reliable and are not engaged and have not engaged in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good

In order to demonstrate this, you will have to show that you no criminal convictions, no civil judgments and no significant debts and a stable credit rating. The documents you could submit in order to demonstrate this include: a business credit report  and a personal credit report from reputable credit reference agencies and a DBS check from the Disclosure and Barring Service.  

3. Show that you are capable of carrying out the Sponsor Licence duties

The two main duties that a UK Sponsor Licence holder needs to maintain are: (a) Record Keeping Duties; and (b) Reporting Duties.

Record Keeping Duties:

  • You must keep a copy of the sponsored Skilled Worker’s passport including all pages with relevant entry clearance or permission to enter stamps;
  • You must keep evidence of the sponsored Skilled Worker’s date of entry to the UK;
  • You must keep evidence of a formal Resident Labour Market Test or otherwise steps you had taken to protect the settled workforce;
  • Where formal Resident Labour Market Test is not required, you must keep evidence of any recruitment activity you have undertaken;
  • You must keep copies of the sponsored Skilled Worker’s payslips, clearly showing the name, NI number, tax code, any allowances paid, and deductions made; and
  • You must keep a copy of any contract of employment or for service, or a written statement of employment particulars between the Sponsor and sponsored Skilled Worker.

Additional documents would need to be provided for particular Skilled Workers and specific accreditations they hold. The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for legal advice.

Reporting Duties:

  • Within 10 working days, you must report if a sponsored Skilled Worker does not start the role for which they are being sponsored;
  • Within 10 working days, you must report if a sponsored Skilled Worker has been absent from work without permission for more than 10 consecutive working days;
  • Within 10 working days, you must report if a sponsored Skilled Worker’s employment end earlier than the date on the Certificate of Sponsorship e.g. if they resign or are dismissed;
  • Within 10 working days, you must report if you stop sponsoring a Skilled Worker for any reason, if there are any significant changes in the sponsored Skilled Worker’s employment or if a sponsored Skilled Worker’s employment is affected by TUPE or similar protection;
  • Within 20 working days, you must report if there are any significant changes to your own organisation such as change of your company’s name or names of any of your branches, you have sold all or part of your business, you are involved in a merger or take-over, you stopped trading or go into an insolvency procedure, there has been a substantial change in the nature of your business or you are convicted of a relevance offence; and
  • You must give the police any information that suggests any Skilled Worker you are sponsoring may be engaged in terrorism or criminal activity.

Additional reporting duties may apply to specific businesses and it is important to ensure that you remain compliance with the Reporting Duties to avoid your UK Sponsor Licence being revoked. It may be necessary to demonstrate that you have a suitable HR department in your organisation or outsourced to our firm that manages these duties and ensures that your organisation remains compliant. The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for legal advice.

4. Show that you can offer genuine employment that meets the skill level and salary requirements

It is important that you are able to explain why employing overseas workers is necessary for your organisation and that you could not fill the role with a suitably qualified settled worker. You can only sponsor jobs on the Skilled Worker Visa that are listed in the UK Home Office’s eligible occupations and codes for Skilled Worker Visa and that you can meet the minimum salary requirement of at least £25,600 per annum or the salary requirement specific to the job you are sponsoring.

PLEASE NOTE that the UK Home Office may carry out a Pre-Compliance Site Visit before granting the UK Sponsor Licence to determine whether the eligibility requirements are met. You may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for preparation for the Pre-Compliance Site Visit.

5. Show that you have the right personnel and key users in your organisation

It is important that you decide and think about the key users to the Sponsor Management System (SMS), where you will need to appoint Authorised Users and Level 1 and Level 2 Users. It is important that you select the right key personnel for your organisation as any errors or wrongdoing by any person authorised to access the SMS system can risk your organisation losing its UK Sponsor Licence. A Level 1 user can access all applicable functions of your SMS system and a Level 2 user has restricted access and are unable to view or access certain sections of the SMS system which is available to a Level 1 user.

Consequences of not applying for a UK Sponsor Licence

If you fail to apply for a UK Sponsor Licence and you knowingly or unknowingly without due care and attention employ a person that does not have the right to work in the UK, you could be subject to an immigration offence of hiring an illegal worker and you could face a jail sentence of up to 5 years and pay a large fine, depending on the seriousness of the offence and the number of illegal workers involved. You could also damage your prospects of obtaining a UK Sponsor Licence if you are convicted of an immigration offence.

How to apply for the UK Sponsor Licence

It is important for you to take legal advice from our experienced Immigration Solicitors and Barristers to ensure that you are applying under the correct immigration route, with the correct supporting documents and that you meet all the eligibility requirements for a UK Sponsor Licence. The reason why this is so important is that if you are unsuccessful in applying for the UK Sponsor Licence, you may have to apply for it again causing significant delay and costs for you.

How much does the UK Sponsor Licence cost?

The UK Sponsor Licence fee is dependent on the size of your organisation. You are considered a small sponsor if two of the following apply:

  • Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less;
  • Your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less; and
  • You have 50 employees or fewer.

The UK Sponsor Licence application fee for a small sponsor or charity is £536 and for a medium or large sponsor is £1476.

In addition to the UK Sponsor Licence application fee, you should also be aware of the following additional charges after you have been granted a UK Sponsor Licence:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship Assignment Fee of £199.00 per certificate assigned; and
  • Immigration Skills Charge of £364 for small sponsor or charity and £1000 for a medium or large sponsor for the first 12 months and thereafter every 6 months the sum of £182 for a small sponsor or charity and £500 for a medium or large sponsor.

You will have to pay the above fees in one go after you assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to a worker using the Sponsorship Management System.  

In addition to the above fees, you may be required to pay for legal advice and representation if you choose to instruct experienced Immigration Solicitors and Barrister like our team to prepare the UK Sponsor Licence application for you.

Make a UK Sponsor Licence application with OneLaw Chambers

At OneLaw Chambers, our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers regularly assist with Immigration and Visa applications in order for applicants to relocate to and settle in the UK. We have assisted many foreign nationals to prepare and submit successful Immigration and Visa applications and we have represented clients from all over the world. We are well equipped to prepare and submit your UK Sponsor application.

Whether you require expert immigration advice on the requirements of the Immigration Rules, an independent immigration assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a UK Sponsor Licence or professional immigration representation with preparing your UK Sponsor Licence application, our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers can help you.

We are committed to ensuring that our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers prepare every immigration visa application with utmost quality and skill so that a successful outcome is achieved every time. Our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers operate in a friendly and cooperative manner to provide our clients with the best client care and service during the entire immigration application process.


Tags

Skilled Workers Visa, sponsor licence, sponsor licence compliance


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