To sponsor overseas people, you must become a sponsor first. There are a number of eligibility and suitability requirements to pass in order to qualify as a sponsor additionally the onus is on the sponsor to ensure they are compliant with current Home Office sponsorship and compliance duties.
To apply for a Sponsor licence you can access the online Sponsor Licence application form via the UKVI website. You will need to register your details first to create a login. Once logged in you can complete the relevant fields pertinent to your application. There are several differing sponsorship routes available as listed below, you can choose which ones you want to sponsor individuals under providing you are eligible for each one as the criteria:
- Skilled worker – Worker route
- Global Mobility Business – Worker route
- Health and care worker – Worker route
- Temporary worker routes for example Government Authorised Exchange Scheme, Youth Mobility Scheme
In most cases employers wanting to employ overseas workers apply for the Skilled Worker route, however all licence applications need supporting documentation to demonstrate they have the infrastructure in place to support their chosen overseas worker to come to the UK. You must submit the supporting documents immediately after you lodge your online application.
The online application takes at least 30 minutes to complete providing you have all the necessary information to hand when completing it. If you want to have proof of your application, you should either take a screen print of each page or control print to PDF this will be useful information to have on file for future reference. The Home Office does not provide a downloadable copy of the application as the system is rather archaic.
Certificate of sponsorship allocation
When completing the form you will need to know in advance approximately how many people you would like to sponsor in the first year of the licence validity and enter that number. You will need to also provide supporting documentation in support of the chosen workers. The Certificate of sponsorship allocation will appear on the Sponsor Management System and you will be able to assign the Certificate of Sponsorship to the verified role and individual. You may request a further allocation each year there after during the validity of the licence.
After you have submitted your online Sponsor Licence application form
Once you have submitted the application you must submit the following:
- all pages of the submission sheet, signed and dated by your Authorising Officer – this includes a declaration from you that you agree to meet all of the duties associated with being a licensed sponsor
- the mandatory documents to support your application and desired workers
Other information you must disclose in a cover letter:
- whether you have been suspended or removed from any sponsor register within the last 5 years
- whether you have any criminal prosecutions pending
- Whether you are aware that an organisation you have been involved with in a similar role has failed to pay value added tax (VAT) or any other form of excise duty
You must send all supporting documents to UKVI within 5 working days of submission of your online application. If you fail to submit all the mandatory documents, you do not submit them in time or you do not pay the right fee for the size of your organisation you application may be rejected as invalid, and you will be required to start the process again. The Home Office will refund any fees that have been paid in this instance.
Applying for a sponsor licence comes with a duty of honesty. All statements and information disclosed to the Home Office must be carried out with accuracy and honesty. You must disclose any changes that may occur during the application process and beyond particularly if these changes affect the validity of the application. This could be a change of circumstances, you are no longer regulated, you or your key personnel have a pending prosecution, or have been convicted of an offence.
It is important to be prepared for the online Sponsor Licence Application form application, there are several components and complexities along the way. If, in any doubt it may be useful to speak to one of our sponsorship experts; we specialise in sponsorship for employing overseas workers in the UK.
Wherever you are in the lifecycle of your licence or recruitment pipeline we can assist in all areas of the process as follows:
Our sponsorship licence services include:
Complimentary initial consultation to discuss company background and to find a suitable route forward for your recruitment pipeline:
- Sponsor licence application preparation and support
- Practice audit on your existing HR systems
- Briefing staff on their compliance duties and responsibilities
- Assessment of candidates whether they meet the criteria
- Advice on assigning certificate of sponsorship
- Licence renewal applications
- Dealing with sponsor licence refusals, revocations, and downgrades
- Advice on other worker routes