A sponsor license is required by the companies based out of the UK who are looking to recruit employees from foreign nationals. The new immigration rules on the back of the Brexit transition came into force on 1st January 2021. Employers are required to obtain a sponsorship license for their workforce of European nationals and their family members. Before Brexit, the European nationals were exempt from sponsorship requirements. Although several large organizations might already have a sponsor license in place and will be accustomed to the sponsorship process, many small and medium organizations will need to obtain the license post-Brexit and come to terms with the process. In such a situation, it is essential that they seek legal advice from an immigration law firm to navigate the rules and regulations of the Home Office. Following is the compiled list of important tips for employers who need to apply for a sponsor license:
#1 Apply Early
The UK Home Office processes almost 80% of applications within eight weeks of receiving the paperwork. In some cases, the applications take longer than eight weeks to process, and there can be instances where a compliance visit is compulsory before the license of sponsorship is granted. Hence, it is crucial that employers apply early to obtain the license on time to hire a skilled workforce from outside the country.
#2 Identify the ‘Authorizing Officer’ and Train them on Compliance Obligations and Responsibilities
Employers must identify the authorizing officer to be named on the license. Authorizing officer is the senior person responsible for the recruitment of all migrant workers and ensuring that all of the sponsorship obligations are fulfilled. Employers can consult an immigration law firm to help authorizing officers understand the duties of reporting, record-keeping, and compliances. In addition, the concerned person must be trained on sponsor management systems and compliance obligations.
#3 Organize Documents for the License Application before Applying
The Home Office has strict deadlines in place to submit supporting documents required with the sponsor license application. The paperwork must be verified by a solicitor from an immigration law firm. Get their help to sort out the application process and organize all the paperwork beforehand. Delay in submitting documents can lead to refusal of the application by the UKVI. It is crucial that the HR team follows all the protocols and collects the documents regarding the company and the workforce.
#4 Audit the HR Processes and align them with the UKVI requirements
Employers must audit their HR processes and record-keeping mechanisms to make sure that there are no gaps in the information available about the company, its policies, and workforce requirements. The Home Office mandates the companies to keep various documents on file for migrant workers. The information must be up-to-date and available in the event of a compliance visit by the UKVI. Keep such information organized before applying for a sponsor license.
#5 Get Legal Help to Navigate the Application Process
It is crucial that employers consult with a professional immigration law firm to get help with the application process. Osbourne Pinner is one of the best law firms in London that offers professional guidance to employers looking to obtain a license of sponsorship. We provide audit and compliance checks to the employers and make sure that their records are refreshed and relevant to the requirements set out by the Home Office. Our dedicated pool of UK immigration solicitors has years of experience under the belt to deal with various rules and regulations associated with the Sponsorship license. We help employers streamline all the processes and documents in the event of any surprise compliance visits and help them fulfil all the duties and obligations.