Since 1 January 2021, the UK Government has introduced significant changes to the Immigration Rules. One of the key changes is the requirement for all employers to have a UK Sponsor Licence in order to employ or continue to employ overseas workers, including EU nationals, who have not been present in the UK before 31 December 2020 and are no longer eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Due to these changes, there is 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.
What is the UK Sponsor Licence?
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.
Do you need to apply for a UK Sponsor Licence?
You will need to apply for a UK Sponsor Licence if you want to employ an EEA national who entered the UK after 11pm on 31 December 2020 or all non-EEA nationals who are looking to enter and work in the UK. As of 1 December 2020, you will need a UK Sponsor Licence to employ persons under the following Worker and Temporary Worker routes:Worker Routes:
- Skilled Worker
- Intra-Company Routes – Intra-Company Transfer and Intra-Company Graduate Trainee
- T2 Minister of Religion
- T2 Sportsperson
Temporary Worker Routes:
- Charity Worker
- Creative or Sporting Worker
- Government Authorised Exchange Worker
- International Agreement Worker
- Religious Worker
- Seasonal Worker
PLEASE NOTE that you not need to apply for a UK Sponsor Licence if employ someone who is considers a Settled Worker or persons with pre-existing permission to work in the UK which generally includes:
- An Irish citizen;
- A person present in the UK with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
- A person present in the UK with indefinite leave to remain;
- A person present in the UK under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules as the partner of a British citizen or a settled person in the UK;
- A person present in the UK under a Student Visa with permission to work 10 or 20 hours per week during term time; or
- Any person who is exempt from needing permission to work such as a diplomat or government official.
UK Sponsor Licence eligibility requirements
The eligibility requirements for a UK Sponsor Licence are:
- Genuine organisation operating legally in the UK
- No criminal convictions or civil judgments
- Capable or have HR system in place to carry out sponsorship duties
- Can offer genuine employment that meets the skill level and salary requirements for the job
- Have not previously had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months
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 above eligibility requirements are met.
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.