The UK recently launched their new UK immigration point-based system in January 2021. The eligibility will depend on the ‘new points-based UK Visa System.’ It measures the candidate’s capability by taking into account various factors. They would assess his skills for a UK work visa.
A Skilled Worker visa lets you enter and reside in the UK for an eligible job with a UK home office-approved employer. This visa has recently replaced the previous Tier 2 general work visa. You can avail of the free EU Settlement Scheme if you have a family member who started living in the UK before 31st December 2020.
If you want a UK Skilled Worker visa, you must have a sponsorship certificate from your employer providing all the information about the role you will be fulfilling. Your employer must have a sponsor licence if they are bringing skilled workers from overseas. These sponsor licenses fall under the category of Worker Licence and Temporary Licence.
Sponsor licences will allow firms to employ skilled candidates for long periods who will commit to the job. With the complexities of skilled worker licences, the candidates will seldom change jobs. It will be helpful for your business as it leads to better staff retention and also leads to the individual’s career growth. Some other benefits include the following:
We will delve deeper into the details of the UK Skilled Work visa and Sponsor Licence for employers with the overviews, eligibility criteria and application methods. Stay tuned with Osbourne Pinner Solicitors to resolve all your doubts regarding moving to the UK for a job.
Firms that hire employees outside the European Economic Area (EEA) under the Skilled Worker rule for Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas require a Sponsor Licence. The licence is valid for 4 years. After it is granted, then it will be up for renewal. The sponsorship is only granted to the company if they meet all the visa conditions.
There are two types of Sponsor Licences which solely depends on what jobs the firms offer their employees. You can apply for a licence for both types of employers, the types being:
Previously known as a Tier 2 work visa, this visa allows skilled workers for long-term employment. A worker’s licence can be short-term or long-term, depending on the worker’s visa. The licence is classified into the following types:
This licence was previously known as the Tier 5 visa. You can sponsor individuals temporarily, such as for volunteering or job shadowing, if you have a “Temporary Worker” licence. Only specified jobs and visas qualify for a Temporary Worker licence. The temporary worker’s licences are granted for the following routes:
Previously known as the Tier 4 visa is now being classified as a student sponsorship licence. Holders of the Tier 4 sponsor licence can finance the full-time enrollment of foreign students at their preferred school. Importantly, a Tier 4 sponsor is a college or University that provides full-time classes to students (including those from abroad) in the UK.
This licence enables educational institutes to issue Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to the students. After this, only they can apply for the Tier 4 student visa, allowing them to pursue an education in the UK.
The firms applying for Tier 2 Sponsor Licences should complete the eligibility checklist first. The criteria that they need to fulfil are as follows:
Applicants are required to accrue a total of 70 points according to the new point-based UK visa system. Out of these 70 points, 50 points are for mandatory terms like- the job offer. English speaking skills and required skill level. The remaining 20 points are tradeable requirements.
The sponsor should locate the appropriate SOC (Standard Occupation Classification) code for the role to assess whether the position qualifies for the Skilled Worker route. The ONS occupation coding tool is used to tabulate this data. The position being filled should be described in the list’s job description.
Jobs with skill levels below RQF3, equal to an A-level, will not be accepted via the skilled visa route.
The typical minimum income barrier for skilled worker visas is £26,200 per year unless the “going rate” for the specific role is greater. The compensation level must be determined hourly rather than just annually.
Before submitting their visa applications, the sponsorers must issue a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to confirm the job offer of the individual. The CoS is a number that the applicant will need to provide along with their Home Office application.
The CoS is classified into two groups:
The approved sponsorship licences are valid for four years. If you want to bring workers from overseas beyond this period, you will need to renew it. The renewal process starts by applying to the UKVI.
It is crucial to renew the Sponsor Licence, as without an active licence, your organisation is not allowed to sponsor workers outside the EEU region. This stands for the existing workers you have in your office as well, even though you don’t intend to hire new workers.
Your sponsored employees will no longer be legally employed by you while you are unlicensed, and because they are working illegally, their visas may be revoked.
In reality, applications for sponsor licence renewals may receive more attention from the Home Office than those for new licences. This is so that the organisation can be expected to have upheld its sponsor obligations while it owned the licence.
To completely investigate an organisation’s immigration compliance processes, procedures, and documents, as well as to confirm the legal status of the organisation’s migrant workers, immigration officials use this occasion.
Our professional team will help you so that you do not face any difficulties regarding Sponsor Licences. Get in touch with us to avail of our wide range of services that are tailored to fulfil your needs.
For quicker processing, some employers can be eligible for the “streamlined” sponsor licence renewal process. The Home Office caseworker would allow the firm with fewer checks if they passed two previous checks without any discrepancy. They are waived off the following processes:
The sponsor licence renewal process takes around 8 weeks to process only if there are no issues with the application. If there are issues with the applications, the Home Office will conduct compliance inspections.
The sponsors should be aware that in any case of discrepancy, they will be thoroughly investigated by the Home Office. The firm’s compliance with sponsorship requirements would be studied before approving the renewal application.
To avoid any delays, the firm should ensure that the HR and personnel systems are efficiently working. This will lead to the smooth processing of the renewal application.
Your organisation’s sponsor licence can be renewed an unlimited number of times. An organisation may continue renewing its licence and authority to sponsor foreign workers as long as it remains qualified and complies with the sponsor’s conditions.
The required documents are submitted through the Sponsor Management System. Any documents required by the Home Office for checks should be sent to them within 5 working days. Failure to do so might lead to serious repercussions like lessening the CoS, downgrading the licence or rejecting it.
Whenever the Home Office requests it, all pertinent documentation should be available for delivery. They might require you to provide them with certain paperwork as part of the checks. Any papers specified in Appendix A of the sponsor guidance manual should be required reading for anyone requesting a new sponsor licence, in our opinion.
To continue being able to sponsor foreign workers, sponsors must renew their Skilled Worker Sponsor permit in advance.
When firms apply for a Skilled Worker Licence, the Home Office investigates the application for the organisation’s capability to become compliant. In several cases, the Home Office might decide on physical checks of the office. These checks may or may not be announced by them beforehand.
The reason for these compliance visits is to check if the organisation is handling its HR and recruitment systems efficiently. They also ensure their systems can handle foreign nationals and manage migrations while fulfilling their legal obligations. If an organisation did not face any inspection beforehand, they would certainly do during a renewal.
Home Office representatives have the right to ask to see people and HR systems and documentation during the inspection. They can also speak with your sponsored employees to cross-reference data on their CoS, such as information on pay, working hours, locations, and responsibilities.
The licence application may be rejected if the Home Office officials find any compliance issues or violations during the inspection.
You can apply for a renewal of your Sponsorship Licence 3 months before the expiry. If you submit it after your licence has expired or the Home Office finds discrepancies in the documents, the licence may be rejected. The first step is to visit the Home Office and ensure the refusal is not because of any error from their side.
In deciding how to evaluate requests for sponsor licences, the Home Office is given a lot of latitude under immigration regulations. In a few rare cases where sponsor licence refusals were challenged in court via judicial review, the Courts acknowledged their discretion. Only illegitimacy, irrationality, and improper procedure may be used as grounds for Judicial Review. Only illegitimacy, irrationality, and improper procedure may be used as grounds for Judicial Review.
If the rejection was an error on the part of the Home Office, you could send an ‘Error Correction Request form.’ The request must be sent within 14 working days from the date of refusal.
Depending on the seriousness of the Home Office’s concerns, the application may be refused or rejected. For instance, if a sponsor licence application is incomplete or contains errors, the application will be invalid and, as a result, will be rejected.
There are many reasons why it could lead to the refusal or rejection of the sponsorship renewal, including:
Small businesses and charities are supposed to pay a fee of £536, but all other organisations are entitled to pay an amount of £1476. Along with the sponsorship charges, they will also have to pay the Immigration Skills fee of £1000 per year for each sponsored worker. Lastly, £199 each for a CoS for each of them.
To know about the required documents for the application, you can check the Appendix A of the Home Office Sponsorship Licence guidance.
To switch to a Tier 2 sponsorship, the firm has to apply to the Home Office, giving proof that they are eligible for a Tier 2 sponsorship and pay the required fee.
Our team of experienced corporate immigration solicitors work across a wide range of businesses both in the EU and internationally, as well as specialist businesses with very specific requirements to sponsor foreign nationals. These are some of our most acclaimed clients:
We offer a 30 minutes free of charge initial consultation which can take place in our offices or through a video conference. If you would like us to book you for this free consultation, then give us a call on 0203 983 5080 or fill the online enquiry form.