If you want to hire foreign workers to work for you in the UK, you need to secure a sponsor licence. In order to secure a sponsor licence, you can instruct a law firm to act on your behalf or apply by yourself. Normally, there are 5 steps you need to do when applying for a sponsor licence.
1. Step 1 – Check the eligibility of your business
In order to satisfy the eligibility requirements, you will have to check:
Whether you (as an employer) have any criminal convictions for certain crimes, especially, some typical crimes such as money laundering, fraud, or some certain immigration offences.
If you had secured a sponsor licence before, you have to check whether previous sponsor licences were revoked.
You also need to have an appropriate system to monitor your future sponsored workers and demonstrate that you will have personnel monitoring the sponsorship in your company.
While the first and second requirements are easy to check, having an appropriate system as the third requirement is relatively tricky because for a normal person, it would be difficult to sufficiently demonstrate to the Home Office that your system to monitor the sponsored workers is appropriate. We will help you understand this system more in step number 4.
2. Step 2 – Check the suitability of the job you are going to sponsor
There are many criteria to assess the suitability of the job you will sponsor under the sponsor licence.
It is imperative to know which kind of job you want to sponsor, e.g. skilled worker, health or care worker, seasonal worker, creative worker, charity worker, etc.
The most popular kind of sponsored job is skilled worker where the employee will be hired to do a job in the list of eligible occupations.
Alongside the list of eligible occupations, you also have to check other requirements to make sure the job you sponsored satisfied the suitability requirement. Most importantly, you have to ensure that the salary of the job will reach £25,600/year, or £10.10/hour, or the ‘going rate’ for the type of the job, whichever is higher.
3. Step 3 – Check the types of licence you want to apply for
There are 2 types of licences which you can apply for: workers and temporary workers.
The ‘workers’ licence is used when you intend to hire skilled or long-term workers. In contrast, ‘temporary workers’ licence applies for some specific types of temporary employment only.
With regards to the ‘worker’ licence, this type of licence allows you to sponsor different types of skilled workers such as short time, long time, or permanent.
The ‘temporary worker’ will allow you to sponsor your prospective employee on a temporary basis. This sponsor licence also helps you sponsor those who will come to your business for volunteering and job-shadowing.
4. Step 4 – Allocate the person who will manage the sponsorship
In order to secure a sponsor licence, your business will need to have people managing the sponsorship process.
Once you have applied for a sponsor licence, you can access the sponsor management system (SMS) which allows you to manage or renew your business licence. With this system, you can also create and assign certificates of sponsorship to your foreign employees, no matter it is a ‘worker’ licence or ‘temporary worker’ licence.
In order to manage the SMS, your business will need to allocate several management roles including authorising officer, key contact, and level 1 user.
An authorising officer must be a senior officer who is competent and responsible for SMS management. The key contact is the main person whom UKVI will contact. You also have to assign a level 1 user (and level 2 user if you wish to do so) of the SMS system who is responsible for daily SMS management. Different roles can be assigned to the same or different people.
An important point is that those assigned staff will undergo suitability checks in which certain records will be scanned such as criminal convictions, licence revocation, failure to pay VAT or other duties.
5. Step 5 – Apply online
At this step, you will need to apply for your licence online through a portal here.
When doing applications online, it is important to double-check every detail and information you provide and have your supporting documents in place.
You should also prepare funds to make payment when you apply. Depending on the type of licence you are applying for, the fee varies as follows:
6. Documents you need to prepare for a sponsor licence application
Applying for a sponsor licence is considered highly technical and requires a lot of experience in preparing supporting documents.
The number of documents could be countless and varies depending on different types of jobs needed to be sponsored and organisations, but based on our experience, you may be expected to provide the documents classified in the following categories:
Constitutional and corporate governance documents of your company;
Documents showing that your company is trading in the UK;
Other documents show that your company satisfies the requirements for a sponsor licence.
8. FAQ and Answers on a sponsor licence application
For FAQs on the sponsor licence, please read our blog here.
If you need help with your sponsor licence application, please contact our expert solicitors for a free consultation at +44 (0) 333 300 3497 or send us an email at email@example.com.
At NIDO, we can provide our clients with a complete and comprehensive guide on the sponsor licence application and best practices to secure the best outcome.