Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence
A sponsorship licence is an essential prerequisite for employing a foreign specialist. The Home Office will not grant a UK Skilled Worker visa to a non-resident unless their prospective employer has a sponsor licence. A licensed sponsor can assign certificates of sponsorship to foreign specialists so that they can obtain a UK visa and get a job with their UK sponsor.
What Is the Purpose of a Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence?
Politically as well as economically, foreign workforce can boost development, but it requires regulation.
That is why the UK authorities introduced a special licence in order to:
- Encourage UK businesses to employ foreign citizens thus facilitating their growth.
- Offer UK jobs to genuinely valuable specialists who can make a real difference in the industry.
- Regulate immigration.
- Guarantee that labour standards and salary requirements are met.
In short, the sponsorship system provides the UK with highly qualified professionals to develop British businesses and fuel a booming economy.
How To Obtain UK Sponsorship Licence?
UK sponsorship licences are issued by the Home Office after you submit your application and the required documents. It does not matter whether your foreign employees will work for you for a couple of months or a couple of years, on a paid or volunteer basis – you must obtain a sponsorship licence anyway.
There is a lot of information on the Home Office website about the requirements for a sponsorship licence, including the documents. However, it is a good idea to get in touch with an advisor specialising in this area because a minor mistake in the documents or the information you provide may result in a refusal by a caseworker.
Sometimes Home Office caseworkers visit prospective sponsors to see the state of things with their own eyes, talk to the staff and clarify some points: a sponsorship licence is taken very seriously in the UK. A sponsorship licence refusal means you have wasted your time and money, as well as suffered an unnecessary reputational loss.
Main Eligibility Requirements for Businesses
A business applying for a sponsorship licence must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- The company is registered in the UK (supporting documents may include a tenancy agreement/title deed for the office, as well as bank statements and annual accounts proving that the company is active and pays taxes).
- The company has a genuine job to offer to a foreign specialist qualified for the job.
- The company has the resources to sponsor the employee while they are relocating and to pay them a decent salary.
- The company has no violations, especially related to immigration or finances.
- The company has never lost its sponsorship licence.
An immigration advisor can help you collect evidence and check whether you meet all the requirements. Apart from the consultation, an immigration advisor can represent you before the authorities.
Sponsorship Management System for Businesses
Before you apply for a sponsorship licence, you must determine how you will monitor sponsored employees and their working conditions. A usual practice is to appoint people to management roles of three levels.
An authorising officer is the main manager who controls the entire sponsorship structure and makes decisions about how the sponsorship licence is used.
Next comes the key contact who is in charge of communications with the authorities.
The third employee is a level 1 user who is authorised to deal with certificates of sponsorship. They can issue them to offer a job to foreigners, modify and withdraw them. Big companies with a significant headcount appoint a level 2 user with more restricted access. This is a way to optimise the workload.
Foreign specialists often get jobs in small companies with just enough staff to manage their sponsorship system. In this case, all the above roles can be filled by the same person.
Applying for a sponsorship licence is not difficult. You must provide the following documents:
- Taxpayer registration certificate.
- A corporate bank statement with transactions for the last six months.
- A tenancy agreement or a title deed for the office you occupy.
- Annual accounts.
You will usually get a decision within 18 weeks, but if your application raises any questions the Home Office decides to visit your company, it may delay it for a month. If you need a faster decision, you can pay an extra £500 to get a decision within 10 working days.
Initially, you will get an A-rated licence meaning that your business is considered trustworthy and complying with all the rules. An A-rated licence lets you manage certificates of sponsorship and offer jobs to foreign specialists.
However, the Home Office will carry out regular inspections to make sure the working conditions indicated in certificates of sponsorship match the real ones. If it is discovered that you have been failing to meet the salary requirement or other requirements, your licence will be downgraded to a B-rating. If this happens, you will not be able to issue new certificates of sponsorship. However, you will still be able to extend certificates of workers you already employ. You will only have 10 days to choose how you will rectify the situation. During this time, you must get an ‘action plan’ provided by the Home Office. Its purpose is to correct your mistakes to get upgraded to an A-rating and work without restrictions. Unless you rectify the situation, you will lose your sponsorship licence and will have to wait at least a year till you can reapply. Besides, the Home Office is usually suspicious of companies that have had problems with their sponsorship licence before and checks them more thoroughly.
Apart from reputational losses, downgrading will cost you money: an ‘action plan’ is mandatory and is provided for a fee. Besides, you can only get downgraded twice in four years. For the third time you do not fulfil the sponsor duties, instead of being downgraded to a B-rating, your licence will be withdrawn.
You should take great care to meet all the sponsorship requirements and consult your immigration advisor in case you have any problems. Thus you will keep your good reputation and money and your business will run smoothly.
Sponsorship Licence Fees
The application fee depends on the type of licence and the size of your business. A fee for small companies for a ‘Worker’ or ‘Worker and Temporary Worker’ licence is £536; medium and large sponsors will have to pay £1,476. A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence fee is £536, regardless of what type of organisation you are. There is no fee for small sponsors for adding a ‘Worker’ licence to an existing ‘Temporary Worker’ licence, but medium and large companies will have to pay £940. You can add a ‘Temporary Worker’ licence to an existing ‘Worker’ licence for free, irrespective of the type of your company.
Mission Possible: Obtain Sponsorship Licence In a Month With No Hassle
When you need to collect supporting documents to apply for a sponsorship licence, a skillful advisor could be of great help. They will explain in detail what a UK sponsorship licence is, as well as help you collect evidence, represent your company before the Home Office, advise you on sorting out any problems and building an efficient staff management system. A qualified advisor could help you get a positive decision from the Home Office in less than a month. What else does a genuine business need?
FAQ about Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence
What are the requirements for a prospective sponsor?
You can apply for a sponsor licence if you comply with the following requirements:
- You must be an established company that is registered in the UK and conducts its main activities here.
- You must prove that your job offer is for a highly qualified foreign worker.
- Your business must have an effective management system in place that enables you to continuously report on the process of employment and working conditions.
- There should be an authorising officer in your company responsible for all the sponsorship issues. They must live in the UK.
Can a skilled worker stay in the UK if their sponsor’s licence has been revoked?
In case such an unexpected thing happens, a foreign specialist must bear in mind what to do to minimise impact. They should remember that once their sponsor loses their sponsorship licence:
- Their certificate of sponsorship will be immediately withdrawn as well.
- They will have 60 days to find another sponsor and get a new certificate of sponsorship, or leave the UK. Even if the remaining period of validity of their visa is less than 60 days when the sponsor’s licence is terminated, they still have two months to decide what to do.
During the 60 days, they must obtain another visa or leave the UK. If we talk about a valuable specialist whose qualification is in high demand here, they may get a job with another sponsor. They will get a new certificate of sponsorship and a new UK Skilled Worker visa. However, if the sponsorship licence has been revoked because of the worker’s actions, they must leave the country immediately.
How to obtain a sponsorship licence within a month?
Any successful business is keen to solve its issues in the quickest possible way. A highly qualified immigration advisor can help you apply for a sponsorship licence and get a positive decision from the Home Office within a month.
An experienced immigration advisor can provide comprehensive support to your company when it comes to:
- Collecting supporting documents.
- Completing and submitting an application.
- Assisting you with paying the £500 fee to get a faster decision within 10 working days.
- Effectively deal with all the challenges emerging during the process of obtaining a sponsorship licence.
The support provided by an experienced advisor will give your business a competitive edge in the global market.