An Easy Guide to Tier 2 SPONSOR LICENCE Application
If you are in urgent need of skilled, non-EEA workers, your organisation will need to obtain a UK Sponsor Licence. A Sponsor Licence entails numerous duties and responsibilities which must be complied with. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your HR systems are capable of managing the numerous commitments which will be required of it. In addition, you will need to keep up with the latest developments in immigration law to guarantee you remain compliant at all times.
Getting a Sponsor Licence can be a positive and beneficial process for your company. It provides an opportunity to set up processes that will support your company’s growth and streamline its systems while preparing to hire valuable and highly skilled non-EEA nationals.
A case study of a UK Sponsor Licence application
Company ‘B’ operates care homes throughout the region. In the past six months they’ve lost some key staff position to retirement and promotions, and now they are having difficulty finding qualified and skilled workers. They’ve realised that they must bring in non-EU staff to maintain their care levels.
Feeling overwhelmed by the Sponsor Licence system, Company ‘B’ contacted an immigration lawyer for help to apply for a Sponsor Licence. The immigration solicitor undertook a mock audit of their HR policies and procedures and recommend some adjustments to ensure they would be ready to comply with all their Sponsor Licence duties. Once they had submitted their application, they received a letter from Home Office stating that they would be receiving a visit from a Home Office compliance officer.
Due to their careful preparation, the compliance visit went very well. Two months after applying, Company ‘B’ has their Sponsor Licence and has begun to advertise for the positions they need to be filled. The owner is relieved to have a solution to her staffing needs and is preparing to accept more clients.
Below is a quick guide to the essential elements of applying for a UK Sponsor Licence.
1. Understand the basics:
- The Sponsor Licence programme is part of the Points Based System – a UK programme that requires visa applicants to achieve a set number of points to be permitted to work in the UK. Points are awarded for various qualifications
- The government considers holding a Sponsor Licence to be a serious responsibility. This means that licence holders must meet all the requirements listed (called compliance), and may face serious consequences if they don’t (noncompliance)
2. Who can qualify for a Sponsor Licence?
- Genuine companies who are legally operating UK businesses
- Companies with good character – both the company and the personnel listed on the application must be honest and reliable with no criminal convictions
- Companies that can demonstrate they have the necessary HR policies and procedures in place to comply with Sponsor Licence duties and responsibilities
- Organisations with genuine vacancies that cannot be filled with a suitably qualified or skilled settled worker
3. Do we need to do anything before we apply?
Preparation is essential when applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. You can do this by:
- Choosing dependable, stable employees who will be responsible for ensuring the company maintains compliance. These people are named in the application and are known as ‘Key Personnel’.
- Filling each vacant position within the UK and EU before looking for non-EEA workers. This process is referred to as the Resident Labour Market Test and must be conducted correctly before a Certificate of Sponsorship for a non-EEA national is issued.
- Having HR systems set up that will ensure employees are legal to work (also called Right to Work checks), record attendance, maintain current contact details and report concerns to UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) in a timely manner
4. How Do You Apply for a Sponsor Licence?
1. Register online, and then fill in the gov.uk online application form
2. At the end of the online form, there is a submission sheet that you must print off and post to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), along with all supporting documents. Click here to see which documents you must include (you will need to scroll down to the list).
- For help with understanding Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes, you can contact our immigration solicitors here.
5. Helpful Tips
- Expect a Home Office compliance officer to visit your place of business for an audit before being approved for a Sponsor Licence.
- Once you’ve set up your HR systems ready to be approved, keep them current to ensure you are always compliant.
- Be sure to conduct Right to Work checks for each non-EEA worker you employ, and retain the records for each check.
- Part of a Sponsor Licence holder’s duties includes maintaining information using the online SMS (Sponsor Management System). Even if you have no changes or updates to enter, have the Level 1 user of your company log in once a month to check for updates to the Home Office’s rules and regulations.
Let us assist you with Sponsor Licence applications and compliance
Obtaining a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is only half the challenge. For a small, growing business, complying with Home Office duties and responsibilities can be extremely onerous. Immigration officials are also known for targeting certain sectors, for example, there have recently been numerous raids on curry houses across the country, resulting in one of London’s top curry houses being shut down for employing illegal workers.
We can assist you with your Sponsor Licence compliance responsibilities by managing your SMS and Residential Labour Market Tests. You are free to carry on with what you do best, operating and growing your entity.
A Y & J Solicitors’ award-winning lawyers have had nearly a decade of experience helping companies get and retain Sponsor Licences. We are ready to help you with any aspect of Sponsor Licence applications, compliance and dealing with downgrades, suspensions and revocations.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.