If you are a business operating and trading in the UK and seeking to hire someone from outside the UK, including EU and non-EEA citizens, then you may need to have a sponsor licence. Sponsor Licence allows an employer in the UK to sponsor skilled workers who are non-UK nationals to work for them temporarily or permanently.
1. Advice and Preparation of Sponsor Licence Application
To obtain a sponsor licence, a UK employer must submit an online application to the Home Office with supporting documents for approval. Our lawyers at NIDO have extensive experience in assisting many employers in the UK to get sponsor licences, especially after Brexit. Our legal process is simple and proved effective as follows:
Step 1: First Consultation 1
Step 2: Assessment of your business and Formality
Step 3: Second Consultation
Step 4: Send list of documents required
Step 5: Preparation of Application
Step 6: Submission of Application and Result
It normally takes 8-10 weeks for a sponsor licence application to be decided. Home Office may visit your business during the process of consideration before reaching a decision on your application. UK employers could get a decision within 10 working days by paying £500 for a priority service.
There is a fee when you apply for a sponsor licence depends on the size and type of your business and the licence type. If your business is small or charitable, the licence fee is usually £536, otherwise £1,476.
We all know the Home Office’s requirements are complex and intensive. That is why our experienced lawyers are here to help you. We believe that our expertise and professionalism in sponsor licence will benefit to your business and help you go through each step with ease.
2. Managing Sponsor Management System Level 1
Once your sponsor licence application is approved, you have to register Sponsor Management System (SMS) to manage the licence and sponsored workers in compliance with the Home Office rules from time to time.
You must appoint key personnel to be in charge of SMS in your licence application. Apart from Authorising Officer needs to be a senior position in your business, you can appoint a legal representative to be key contact, Level 1 user and Level 2 user.
It worth noting that in the licence application, Authorising Officer and Level 1 user are usually one senior person in the business, and once the licence is approved, you can add additional Level 1 user who carries out the day-to-day activities relating to sponsored workers via SMS and manage the sponsor licence to ensure your organisation complies with the Home Office guidance. It is possible to add Level 2 user to conduct administration, however it has far less functions than Level 1 user.
NIDO can help you to act as Level 1 user to manage the SMS while you just concentrate at your business.
3. Advice and Preparation of Skilled worker applications and dependants
Once you have a sponsor licence, you have to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to your potential skilled workers via SMS. The Home Office currently has 2 types of CoS in place which are defined CoS for a worker from outside the UK and undefined CoS for one inside the country.
CoS being issued has not met the Home Office requirements for your potential worker to be granted a working visa yet. In addition to the CoS, a skilled worker and their family dependants have to provide other supporting documents and submit an online application to meet such complex Home Office requirements.
NIDO understands that due to different backgrounds, no skilled worker application is as same as the others. Our expert lawyers can advise and guide each individual of your potential migrant workers and their family members through the whole process and act on their behalf to on the application.
4. In-house training for sponsored workers
Not only you have to fulfil your duties as a sponsor licence holder, sponsored workers also have certain responsibilities to meet the Home Office guidance. We can provide a training to your migrant workers upon their successful working visa applications.
5. Challenge Sponsor Licence refusal, suspension or revocation
As a sponsor licence holder, you have to ensure the sponsorship are in compliance with the Home Office rules at all times as there are sanctions for non-compliance. Upon any identified breaches, the Home Office can downgrade licence from A-rate to B-rate, suspend or revoke the licence.
If the licence is downgraded, you will not be able to issue a new CoS until it is upgraded back to an A-rating. You will need to follow an ‘action plan’ provided by UKVI to improve and upgrade your licence and pay £1,476 within 10 working days since the downgrade; otherwise the licence will be lost. Once you follow the ‘action plan’, it is possible that you still lose your licence if all steps have not been completed or that you are still given another B-rating for another improvement and have to pay the fee again.
If the licence is suspended, you also cannot assign a new CoS under any categories. The Home Office will give remove you from the registered sponsor list during this time and usually give you 20 working days to against that decision. The Home Office will then decide whether to reinstate, downgrade or revoke the licence depends on how serious the breaches are and on your representations.
If the licence is revoked, there will be a significant disruption in your business operations as all visas of sponsored workers within your organisation will be curtailed that means they cannot continue working for you. You could be fine up to £20,000 for hiring an illegal worker. You will have to wait at least 12 months to apply for a new licence. Although a decision of revoked licence cannot be appealed, it is possible to challenge it through the judicial review.
At NIDO, our experienced lawyers can confidently assist you in dealing with the Home Office’s refusal decision, suspension and revocation of your licence.
At NIDO, we offer a Professional Service with Resonable Costs. All of our Fees are excluding VAT where VAT is application. For application to sponsor a skilled worker in the UK, our fees start from £3,000.