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Apply Easily for Your Skilled Worker Visa with a Sponsor Licence

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.

The Skilled Worker visa route 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.

For a free confidential discussion about a UK sponsor licence application, contact Osbourne Pinner Solicitors today on [email protected] or 0203 983 5080. We offer a 30 minutes free of charge initial consultation and to learn more about our 100% success rate.

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Successful sponsor licence applications 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:

  • You can be dependent on the visa

  • Allows spouses to work

  • The minimum salary is reduced from £30000 to £25600

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.

Are you applying for a sponsor licence? For guidance and support from our London-based team of immigration solicitors, talk to our solicitors now. Osboure Pinner Solicitors offer a no-cost, 30 minute consultation. 

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UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers: Types of Licence

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:

Skilled Worker

Previously known as a Tier 2 work visa, the skilled worker sponsored license 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:

Woman Working in UK Thanks to Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence

Temporary Worker Licence

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:

Student Sponsorship Licence

Formerly known as a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

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.

Eligibility Requirements for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

The firms applying for Tier 2 Sponsor Licences should complete the eligibility checklist first.

The criteria that they need to fulfil are as follows:

The Organisation should be genuine and working, maintaining all the trading laws in the UK.

There are no regulations mentioning how old the company should be to be eligible for a licence. People must be available in the UK office to deal with the Home Office.

You will be asked for documentation by the Home Office to prove your lawful workings in the state. It is crucial to get your company registered with an official body to eliminate any charges of unlawful activities.

Proof that the firm has permission from the local planning commission to operate a business at a trading address must be submitted along with supporting documentation to back up this claim.

It is crucial to demonstrate that the business is advertising a position that fits the requirements for skilled workers. To confirm the precise nature of the position, roles and responsibilities, the Home Office may ask for more information. Exaggerated job descriptions to match the required skill level will likely cause doubts that the position is not open.

The firm needs to have an efficient HR and recruitment system to be able to fulfil the obligations and responsibilities of the sponsor and to provide proof of such fulfilment. The Home Office retains the power to inspect the site to look into sponsor compliance before and after issuing the licence.

The Sponsor Licence will have terms and conditions to pledge to accept all duties that come with a sponsored licence holder.

Businessman at Airport After Sponsorship License Application
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Skilled Worker Visa Requirements

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.

Importance of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Before submitting their visa applications, the sponsorers must issue a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to confirm the job offer of the individual. The Certificate of Sponsorship is a number that the applicant will need to provide along with their Home Office application.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is classified into two groups:

  • Undefined CoS are for workers who already work in UK and are planning to switch to the skilled worker category.

  • Defined Cos are for overseas skilled worker visa applicants.

Businessman with Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
success business people shake hands.

Renewal of UK Sponsor Licence

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 workers 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.

Osbourne Pinner Solicitors professional team will help you so that you do not face any difficulties regarding Sponsor Licences. Get in touch with Osbourne Pinner Solicitors to avail of our wide range of services that are tailored to fulfil your needs.

What Does the Sponsor Licence Renewal Process Entail?

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:

How Long is the Renewal Process?

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 overseas workers as long as it remains qualified and complies with the sponsor’s conditions.

Documents Required for the Renewal

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.

Coworkers in Corporate Building

Compliance Visits by the Home Office

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.

Rejection or Refusal of Sponsorship Licence

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.

Reasons for Sponsor Licence to be Refused or Rejected

Depending on the seriousness of the Home Office’s concerns, you may have a sponsor licence application 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:

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Richard Young

Senior Immigration Solicitor

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Santhosh Kumar

SENIOR SOLICITOR

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Samina Akuji

Immigration Solicitor

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How to apply for a sponsor licence in the UK

The Home Office outlines five steps for the sponsor licence application process. Osbourne Pinner Solicitors can help you every step of the way through the application process. Contact Osbourne Pinner Solicitors now to book your free initial consultation.

1. Business eligibility

Firstly, your business needs to be eligible to apply for a sponsor licence. You can’t have any unspent convictions for immigration offences or other crimes like fraud. You’re also ineligible if you’ve had a sponsor licence revoked in the past year. You’ll also need people in place to manage the sponsorship process and monitor a foreign worker.

2. Job eligibility

Next, there’s the job you’re using for sponsorship licence application. Based on the two types of sponsor licence, this can be either a skilled worker or temporary sponsored worker. Skilled workers are typically defined as people with a variety of duties, which may be complex. On the other hand, temporary workers can be anything from charity workers and religious workers to secondment workers and seasonal workers.

3. Choosing your UK sponsor licence

Next is choosing the type of sponsor licence application. As above, this is simply down to which kind of foreign worker you’re hiring – skilled or temporary. Be sure to check the government’s sponsor licence guidance for more information on each visa category.

4. Organising management

Before you apply for a sponsor licence, you need to have people and processes in place to manage sponsor licence holders. This is one of your main sponsorship duties, so it’s important to have an authorising officer in place.

5. Applying online

Once you’ve met your sponsorship duties to employ skilled workers or temporary positions, you can apply for a sponsor licence using the online application form. This is when you’ll pay the sponsor licence application fee. The sponsor licence application fee can vary, but it is one of the final parts of the sponsor licence application process.

Smiling businessman completing sponsor license application

Osbourne Pinner Solicitors Sponsor Licence Success Stories

Osbourne Pinner Solicitors 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 for sponsor duties. These are some of Osbourne Pinner Solicitors most acclaimed clients:

Book Your 30-Minutes Free Initial Consultation

Osbourne Pinner Solicitors 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 in for this free consultation for a sponsorship licence application, give us a call on 0203 983 5080 or fill the online enquiry form.

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Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence FAQs

Often, a Sponsor Licence can be the difference between progressing your career and life, or being stuck. That’s why many people choose to seek legal help. At Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, we can help to guide you, assist you in preparing documents and represent you or your organization throughout the application process. This may be especially important if there are specific, tricky circumstances that you are trying to overcome.

Small businesses and charities are supposed to pay a sponsor licence 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, there is a sponsor licence application cost of £199 each for certificates of sponsorship (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.

A valid sponsor licence lasts for a period of four years. At the end of this period, it will expire unless sponsored workers and their licenced sponsor take the necessary steps to renew the sponsorship licence.

To hire foreign workers, your sponsor duties include:

  • Reporting sponsorship duties

  • Record-keeping sponsor duties

  • Complying with relevant immigration laws, including all facets of the Worker and Temporary Worker sponsor licence guidance

  • Complying with wider UK law, including UK employment law

  • Refusing to engage in behaviour that go against the public good, such as fostering hatred or refusing people’s rights based on prejudice.

During the sponsor licence application process and the duration of the visa, the key contact is a sponsor licence holder’s main point of contact with the Home Office. This is typically an authorising officer within a company.

As an employer, your sponsor licence requirements are to monitor sponsored workers and have people in your business to manage the sponsorship licence. However, it’s also vital that the job in question meets the sponsorship licence requirements. For a skilled worker sponsor licence, the job should involve a “variety of work activities, which may be complex,” according to the Government.

Sponsors must retain sufficient documentation for all skilled worker visa holders. This includes evidence of carrying out a right-to-work check, evidence of them entering the UK with permission, their national insurance number and their contact details. You may also need evidence that you hold employer’s liability insurance with at least £5 million of cover. There are additional requirements for specific individuals such as secondment worker sponsors or a sponsored workers under 18.

A sponsor licence is required from the Home Office when employing someone from outside the UK. This includes citizens from the EU as well as EEA countries like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, plus EFTA members, Switzerland. The first step for these citizens is applying for a sponsor licence. Certain exemptions to the sponsorship licence are:

  • Anyone with indefinite leave to remain

  • Irish citizens

  • People with pre-settled or settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme

A sponsorship management system, often abbreviated to SMS, is a piece of software that automates the sponsorship process. It gives organizations a simple, streamlined way to quickly and efficiently track and manage sponsorship licence applications.