How to Apply for a Sponsorship Licence UK

How to Apply for a Sponsorship Licence UK

Read this to learn how to apply for a sponsorship licence UK, and find out everything you need to know about the process and documents.

In order to apply for a sponsor licence, you need to plan ahead and have all the right information. To find out how to apply for a sponsorship licence UK, we will go through what you need to know and what happens after you apply.

The application process can be challenging, but it is crucial that you do it right. Failure to do so can result in a rejected application or delays, which can impact your organisation and potential employees.

About Sponsorship Licences

How to Get Sponsorship Licence in UK

After Brexit, the way UK visas and immigration worked changed for good. With the points-based system now in place, there are different routes to now work in the UK, with the skilled worker visa being the most popular option.

For an organisation to employ people with this route, employers need to apply to UK Visas & Immigration, which is the Home Office division that is responsible for UK immigration, and get a sponsorship licence. This licence will give an organisation permission to sponsor people in the business. Individuals cannot be sponsors.

The sponsorship route is key for preventing the misuse of the immigration system and to stop illegal immigration, and the Home Office relies on it heavily to ensure these issues are kept in check.

A business that agrees to become a sponsor licence holder becomes responsible for a number of things. The Home Office will scrutinise an organisation and make sure that the following are complied with:

  • All roles that are being sponsored meet the salary and skill requirements, and are genuine roles
  • The organisation sponsor meets all duties with compliance when sponsoring migrant workers
  • All sponsored workers have the points necessary and are adequately qualified, including having the correct language skills necessary

In the case where a sponsor fails to fulfil their duties, they can be given a hefty fine and their licence can be revoked. As such, when a sponsor doesn’t do their job, this means that the visa workers will be made to leave the country, and they will lose their jobs.

Which Groups do not Need a Sponsor Licence to Work in the UK?

A handful of people are exempt from needing a sponsor licence to work in the UK:

  • Irish citizens
  • People with indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • People who have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

How to Apply for a Sponsorship Licence UK

How to Apply for a Sponsorship Licence UK

There are five steps to applying for a sponsorship licence in the UK, which we will go through below. Each step is as important as the next, and you need to take your time when filling everything in, giving yourself the best chance at the application being accepted.

If you fail to give the UKVI all the necessary information in the format they want it, your application can be denied or delayed.

Make Sure Your Business is Eligible

In order for an employer to get a sponsorship licence, you cannot have had a sponsor licence revoked in the past 12 months, and you cannot have any unspent criminal convictions for fraud, money laundering, immigration offences, or other certain crimes.

Your business must have the appropriate systems in place in order to monitor your sponsored workers, and you must have the necessary people to manage all sponsorships within your business. Failure to have either of these things will result in your application being denied.

In the case where the UKVI is uncertain about your eligibility, they may carry out a compliance visit and do an inspection of your business premises. During the inspection, the organisation’s immigration compliance will be checked to see if you are suitable for getting your sponsorship licence.

You will be given a two-week notice before they arrive, allowing you time to amend any issues and fix anything that may result in the inspection failing.

Make Sure your Job is Suitable for a Sponsorship

You can only sponsor a worker if the job they are being sponsored for meets the criteria required for their visa and if their contract complies with the minimum UK wage and working time regulations. If either of these criteria are not met, your licence will not be approved, or it will be revoked.

There are also particular suitability issues to learn about depending on what type of worker you are sponsoring. For a full list, check the government website for more information.

Decide on the Type of Licence You Need

Next, you need to determine which licence you will need. This is between ‘workers’ and ‘temporary workers’, where the first is for those seeking long-term employment or are skilled workers, and the second is for a particular type of temporary employment.

For in-depth information on the type of licence you need, check the government website.

Here are the worker licence options:

  • Skilled Worker
  • Specialist or Senior worker
  • Minister of Religion
  • International Sportsperson

Here are a few temporary worker licence options:

  • Creative Worker
  • Scale-up Worker
  • Charity Worker
  • Religious Worker
  • Seasonal Worker
  • Graduate Trainee

Determine Who is Going to Manage the Sponsorship

When you apply for a licence, you must appoint people within the business to manage the whole sponsorship process and use the sponsorship management system (SMS). These people must be UK-based most of the time and should be paid members of staff. 

There are three key roles that need to be filled:

  • Authorising officer – someone who is competent and senior, they will be responsible for everyone who uses the SMS and be responsible for their actions
  • Key contact – this will be your primary contact with UKVI
  • Level 1 user – this will be someone who will do all the daily management regarding SMS and the licence

There Will be Suitability Checks

Both your staff and you will be checked to ensure that you are appropriate people for the role. In the case where anyone who is a part of the sponsorship has any of the following, you may not get your licence:

  • Any unspent criminal convictions for particular crimes
  • Broken the law
  • Received a fine from UKVI in the last year
  • Been reported to UKVI
  • Not paid VAT or another excise duty
  • Been a ‘key person’ at another sponsor business that that its licence revoked in the last year

Apply for the Licence Online and Pay

Finally, you fill out and submit your online application for your licence. When the online application is done, you will have to send the submission sheet that is at the end of the application as well as any supporting documents if required.

If you send in affidavits or statutory declarations, they must be witnessed by a Commissioner for Oaths, Notary Public, or another independent and qualified person.

Documents can be scanned in or photos can be taken in PNG, JPEG, or PDF formats and sent through email. Titles must be descriptive, and all attachments must be clear to read.

You will need to pay when you apply, with the price depending on the type of licence you are applying for and the type of organisation you are. Charitable and small sponsors will pay £536 for workers and temporary workers, while medium and large sponsors will pay £1,476 for workers and £536 for temporary workers. Medium and large sponsors will need to pay £940 to add a worker licence to an existing temporary worker licence.

Final Thoughts

Who is Eligible for a Sponsorship Licence UK

If you want to learn more about us, we would love to get in touch to discuss questions and concerns. Whether you want to find out more about personal immigration or different business mobility routes, we can guide you through it.

MAK15 London Limited also offers help with business management, and we have consulting services to give you practical answers to your business problems. We take pride in our expertise, and want to help you make the most of your business through marketing, analysis, and audits.

Now that you know how to apply for a sponsorship licence UK, you can start the process with confidence.

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