Who is Eligible for a Sponsorship Licence UK

Who is Eligible for a Sponsorship Licence UK

Who is eligible for a sponsorship licence UK, and what requirements do my business need to meet before applying? Read this to find out.

A sponsorship licence can be an incredible thing for an organisation, but they do not come without their challenges and restrictions. A business needs to be eligible to get one – but who is eligible for a sponsorship licence UK, and what criteria need to be met?

Here, we will cover what you need to know, so that you can apply for a sponsorship licence easily. If you are looking for more information on these licences, we also have articles on whether you can still get a sponsorship licence in 2024 and how long it might take to get one.

Sponsorship Licence Explained

Sponsorship Licence Explained

Since Brexit, the way visas and immigration in the UK works has changed drastically. Now, a points-based system is used to get qualified people to live and work in the country. One of the most popular routes for getting to the UK now is the skilled worker visa.

For an organisation to employ people with this route, employers need to apply to UK Visas & Immigration – 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.

Groups That Don’t Need a Sponsor

Not everyone needs a sponsorship licence to live and work in the UK. Due to prior arrangements, there are groups of people who are exempt, and can continue living in the UK under the same arrangements.

Those who do not need a sponsor to work in the UK include the following:

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

Who is Eligible for a Sponsorship Licence UK

How to Get Sponsorship Licence in UK

Only organisations are eligible for sponsorship licences, rather than individuals. The organisation can be small, medium, or large, or it can be a charity. Any 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 sponsored workers have the points necessary and are adequately qualified, including having the correct language skills necessary
  • 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

What Are the Requirements?

There are several requirements that need to be met when determining who is eligible for a sponsorship licence. Every organisation applying for a sponsorship licence must have these three key roles as a requirement:

  • Authorising officer – someone who is competent and senior in the business, 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

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

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

You need to decide who gets these roles carefully, as it could impact whether you get your licence or not. Every role is important and not to be taken lightly, and you need to ensure that both you, your employees, and UKVI that you take it seriously.

Necessary Documentation for Getting a Sponsorship Licence

You are only eligible for a sponsorship licence if you can provide the necessary documents in your application. There are different requirements for various industries, so you may be asked for additional documents to support your application, but we have outlined the common documents needed below.

Documents that you will need in order to apply for a sponsorship licence include:

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

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list

In your cover letter, you will likely need to provide the following information, plus any additional documents that will help your case:

  • 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
  • State who has access to the email address they used for the application
  • Say which industry they operate in
  • Add a chart of hierarchy that includes all board members, directors, and owners
  • Say why they are making a sponsor licence application

Suitability Criteria for Getting a Sponsorship Licence

To know who is eligible for a sponsorship licence UK, an organisation needs to be suitable for said licence by:

  • Having the necessary planning permission/local planning authority if needed
  • Not posing a threat to immigration control
  • Offering a real vacancy that meets the criteria for a skilled worker
  • Being “honest, dependable, and reliable”
  • Having the recruitment and HR systems necessary to handle a sponsorship licence

What Happens if UKVI isn’t Sure About Your Eligibility?

What Happens if UKVI isn’t Sure About Your Eligibility?

The Home Office does not like to take risks regarding sponsorship licences and visas. Because of this, UKVI might choose to conduct an inspection of your organisation premises to check on systems, employees, and job openings. During the inspection, the organisation’s immigration compliance will be checked to see if you are suitable for getting your sponsorship licence.

You might be given a notice before they arrive, allowing you time to amend any issues and fix anything that may result in the inspection failing. Pass the inspection, and you could be well on your way to getting your sponsorship licence.

How Much Does a Sponsorship Licence Cost?

The cost of a sponsorship licence will vary depending on the type of licence you are applying for and the type of organisation you are. When applying for a licence, you will be required to pay at the end.

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

Final Thoughts

Sponsorship licences are key for continuously improving businesses and giving people new opportunities. However, not just anyone can apply for them, and strict criteria need to be met in order for an organisation to be eligible.

Here at MAK25 London Limited, we also help with defined and undefined CoS, and we have consulting services to give you practical answers to your business problems. We take pride in our expertise, and can help you make the most of your business through Mock audits and Compliance training. So, if you think you could do with some extra help with your business, we would love to hear from you.

If you want to learn more about us, why not get in touch to discuss questions and concerns? Whether you want to find out more about personal immigration, why your sponsorship licence can be downgraded, suspended, or revoked, or different business mobility routes, we can guide you through it.

Now that you know who is eligible for a sponsorship licence UK, you can determine if you can apply for one of these licences yourself and get your application underway.

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