How to Get Sponsorship Licence in UK

How to Get Sponsorship Licence in UK

In this article, we will cover how to get a sponsorship licence in the UK, who can get one, and what criteria you need to fill to be eligible and apply.

Here, we will go through everything you need to know about how to get sponsorship licence in UK, including if you can still get a licence in 2024, how to apply, and how long it takes. Luckily, the process is relatively straightforward, and provided you can get everything you need, it should not be too daunting or take long.

What You Need to Know About Sponsorship Licences

What is a Sponsorship Licence?

A sponsorship licence is a type of a permission that grants overseas workers to be employed and work in the UK for a specific role in an organisation. Post-Brexit, the visas and immigration system in the UK have changed for good, and a points-based system was put in place for the country.

The skilled worker visa is the most popular route for migrants to move to the UK, though other types of visas also exist. In order for an organisation to be able to employ someone from another country, they must successfully apply for a sponsorship licence through UK Visas & Immigration – the Home Office division responsible for UK immigration.

Some different types of licences you can apply for include:

  • Skilled Worker
  • Specialist or Senior worker
  • Minister of Religion
  • International Sportsperson
  • Creative Worker
  • Scale-up Worker
  • Charity Worker
  • Religious Worker
  • Seasonal Worker
  • Graduate Trainee

These sponsorship licences and the sponsorship route plays a key role in 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. However, these licences make the organisation responsible for three things, which all must be taken seriously:

  • 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

If a sponsor fails to fulfil the above duties, they can be fined and their sponsorship licence can be revoked. Because of this, organisations need to take their duties seriously and ensure that they are up to the task before applying for a licence.

Only a Few People Don’t Need a Sponsor to Live and Work in the UK

Due to previous agreements, a few groups of people do not need a sponsorship licence in order to work in the UK, including:

  • 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 Get Sponsorship Licence in UK

How to Get Sponsorship Licence in UK

In order to get a sponsorship licence in UK, you need to fit the requirements, including the suitability criteria, the eligibility criteria, have the correct documentation, and be able to pay for the licence. The process is broken down into five steps: organisation eligibility → job suitability → licence type needed → sponsorship management & key roles → apply online.

Below, we will go through what you need to know about each of these stages so that you know exactly what to expect when applying for your licence.  

Fit the Suitability Criteria

Only organisations are allowed to apply for a sponsorship licence, rather than individual people. There are a number of key criteria that must be met in order for the company to have their application for a sponsorship licence to be approved.

An organisation must:

  • Be “honest, dependable, and reliable”
  • Not pose a threat to immigration control
  • Be offering a real vacancy that meets the criteria for a skilled worker
  • Have the necessary planning permission/local planning authority if needed
  • Have the recruitment and HR systems necessary

Failing any of these, their application will be rejected.

Fit the Eligibility Criteria

Next, you need to ensure that your organisation fits the eligibility criteria. 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.

If UKVI is not sure about your eligibility, compliance visits may be carried out, where there will be 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, which will give you time to make necessary amendments.

Know Who is Going to Manage the Sponsorships in the Organisation

Know Who is Going to Manage the Sponsorships in the Organisation

When applying for a sponsorship licence, you need to have the appropriate people appointed within your organisation who will manage everything to do with the sponsorship licence. They will be responsible for the sponsorship management system (SMS), and must be UK-based at least most of the time and 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

Apply for the Licence Online

Lastly, you will need to formally apply online for the licence and pay. 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.

Documentation Needed to Apply for a Sponsorship Licence UK?

Documentation Needed to Apply for a Sponsorship Licence UK?

The documents you need will vary depending on how long you have been operating within the UK and the type of organisation you are. Some documents you may need to supply include the following:

  • VAT registration certificate
  • Most recent audited annual accounts
  • Evidence of an HMRC registration (e.g. a PAYE number)
  • Most recent corporate bank account statement
  • Certificate of employer’s liability insurance
  • Evidence that you own or lease your business premises

Please note: This is not an exhaustive list.

You may also need to provide any of these additional documents, such as a covering letter, that included the following information:

  • Say which industry they operate in
  • State who has access to the email address they used for the application
  • Say why they are making a sponsor licence application
  • If the organisation has fewer than 50 employees, all names and job titles must be submitted
  • Say their operating hours and weekly opening times
  • Provide a landline number
  • Add a chart of hierarchy that includes all board members, directors, and owners

Supporting documents must be emailed to the Home Office in PDF format within five days of the application being submitted. Because this is not a lot of time, it is imperative to understand what supporting documents you might need ahead of time and prepare them so that they can be sent in time.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

We would love to hear from you if you would like to learn more about us, or if you want to discuss questions and concerns. Whether you want to find out more about personal immigration, business management consulting, business mobility routes, we can guide you through it here at MAK25.

If you are planning on applying for a sponsorship licence, we encourage you to do so. Now that you know how to get sponsorship licence in UK, you should run into limited issues during the process.

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