What is a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence?
Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence
Employing a specific skill-set or range of experience can be vital to the growth of any business. Whether your business is part of an international organisation wishing to relocate staff to the UK or your UK business can’t find the right UK skillset. The Skilled Worker Licence allows you to sponsor workers from outside the UK.
The Sponsor Licence demonstrates your ability to employ international candidates in accordance with regulation designed to protect the UK resident labour market and the value of skilled labour in the United Kingdom.
The worker licence allows you to sponsor individuals under the following categories:
- Skilled Worker
- Minister of Religion
- International Sportsperson
- Senior or Specialist Worker visa
How we can help?
We can act as the Immigration arm of your business by providing on-going advisory services to run in parallel with your recruitment drive and assist your workforce with their immigration needs from Skilled Worker right through to Naturalisation. Our Team can represent and advise on all aspects of Skilled Worker Sponsorship to enable you to focus on running your business. Please call us to book a consultation with an adviser.
Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence application process
The employer sponsor licence process is a set of rules and regulations that employers must follow in order to sponsor overseas workers to come to the UK to work. The process is designed to ensure that only genuine employers who can meet the needs of their overseas workers are able to sponsor them.
To apply for a sponsor licence, employers must first meet a number of eligibility criteria. These criteria include having a genuine business or charity operating legally in the UK, having a track record of paying their employees, and having the financial resources to support their overseas workers.
Once an employer has met the eligibility criteria, they can apply for a sponsor licence online. The application process is complex and can be time-consuming, so it is advisable to seek professional advice from an immigration lawyer.
If an employer’s application is successful, they will be granted a sponsor licence. This licence will allow them to sponsor overseas workers to come to the UK to work in certain skilled occupations.
Employers who hold a sponsor licence have a number of responsibilities. These responsibilities include:
- Checking the immigration status of their overseas workers
- Ensuring that their overseas workers are paid the correct salary
- Providing their overseas workers with suitable accommodation
- Ensuring that their overseas workers have access to healthcare
- Keeping the Home Office updated on the employment status of their overseas workers
If an employer fails to meet their responsibilities as a sponsor, they may have their licence revoked. This could mean that they are no longer able to sponsor overseas workers to come to the UK to work.
The employer sponsor licence process is designed to protect both employers and overseas workers. It ensures that only genuine employers who can meet the needs of their overseas workers are able to sponsor them. It also protects overseas workers from exploitation.
If you are an employer and considering sponsoring an overseas worker to come to the UK to work, you should contact an immigration lawyer to discuss the process and to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria.
Skilled Worker Licence online application
You can apply for your skilled worker sponsor licence via the online Sponsor Management System portal. Submit the required documentation for assessment and pay the sponsor licence fee. The UKVI sponsor licence processing time for a skilled worker licence is up to 8 weeks.
Below are examples of documents that can be submitted to include:
- bank statements
- VAT certificate
- evidence of employer’s liability insurance
You will also need to show proof of a business premises. Other documents may be required depending on the circumstances.
The UKVI may visit you premises and conduct a pre-licence audit to ensure the company has the right practices, processes and Human Resource policies in place to employ legal migrants and maintain future sponsorship and compliance duties. This usually takes place before the UKVI make a decision on the application.
If the UKVI finds inadequacies in the existing systems they could refuse the application and further delay the whole on-boarding process of the chosen candidate. It is really important to ensure that the systems have been ‘stress tested’ prior to submitting the licence application.
Post Skilled Worker Licence approval and employer sponsor licence compliance.
After the company holds an approved licence it is a requirement they appoint key personnel to operate the Sponsor Management System and carry out appropriate compliance duties associated to the role this includes operational duties of the licence.
When small mistakes cause long delays…
- Providing incorrect documentation in support of your business structure
- Unclear employment mechanisms
- Out of date Human Resources personnel records
- Lack of company and HR policies
The above can potentially trigger a reapplication ban of 6 months, resulting in the loss of your targeted candidate and an unquantifiable loss of opportunity to the business.
Does my Business qualify for a Skilled Worker Licence?
The UKVI will refuse a skilled worker licence application if it falls short of key eligibility. It is important the application has been prepared thoroughly and carefully, ensuring all aspects of the sponsorship requirements have been met. Our experienced team provide a full proof service for Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence applications. Our range of sponsorship fees start from £800 inc VAT to £3000 inc VAT. We can be as involved in the applications as much or as little as you want us to be.
What are my duties as a sponsor?
Licence Compliance and Reporting Duties
Sponsorship privileges come with an obligation to the Home Office to comply with duties and responsibilities. These may change from time to time without warning and it is for the Sponsor to demonstrate due diligence. Failure to preserve your statutory excuse by following basic HR practices may result in civil penalties which might include significant fines or down grading of your Licence Rating.
In addition an Employer’s obligation to confirm and record a job candidate’s Right to Work in the UK, a Sponsor must also record the details of their sponsored migrates on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) and ensure it is up to date.
For small to medium size companies that might not have designated HR departments, handling more than just a few sponsored employees can become a complex task particularly as they progress through the visa route.
Licence application process FAQ's
All sponsor licences are valid for 4 years after which time you may renew your licence for a further 4 years.
The UKVI fee for a Skilled Worker Licence application for Small to Medium Enterprises is £536 (not subject to VAT) and for a Medium to Large organisation it is £1,476. If you have a micro company or hold charitable status please expect the fee to be £536 (not subject to VAT). As a company you will be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge as well as the processing fee for a Certificate of Sponsorship £199 (not subject to VAT). You may be invited to expedite your application for a fee of £500 (not subject to VAT).
The UKVI sponsor licence processing time for an Employer Sponsor Licence is up to 8 weeks. Applications can take longer if they are of a complex nature.
Yes. The online Sponsor Management System has been updated to reflect the new changes. Therefore you should not see any disruption to the system and can continue to employ migrants under the sponsorship of your existing licence.
Tier 2 Employer Sponsor Licence has been upgraded.
A new Points Based System has been introduced to reflect the changing needs for sponsors to access Nationals from outside of the UK. From January 2021 any company who wants to employ an EU national will be required to sponsor them under the new Points Based System UK rules.
If your business is looking to employ someone from outside the UK, you will need to apply for a skilled worker sponsor licence. The licence is granted following a successful application to UKVI. The business must meet various eligibility in order to succeed. The licence will permit you to grant sponsorship to your chosen migrant in the form of a Certificate of Sponsorship.
Employer Sponsor Licence compliance is the process of ensuring an employer who holds a sponsor licence is meeting all of the requirements set out by the Home Office. These requirements are designed to ensure that employers are using the sponsorship system fairly and in compliance with UK immigration law.
There are a number of things that employers need to do to comply with the sponsor licence requirements. These include:
- Checking the immigration status of all of their workers.
- Paying their workers the correct wage.
- Providing their workers with the correct working conditions.
- Keeping accurate records of all of their sponsorship activities.
- Reporting any changes in their business to the Home Office.
Employers who fail to comply with the sponsor licence requirements may face a number of sanctions, including:
- A fine.
- A suspension of their sponsor licence.
- The revocation of their sponsor licence.
Employers who are considering applying for a sponsor licence should carefully consider whether they are able to comply with all of the requirements. If they are not sure, they should seek professional advice from an immigration lawyer or consultant.
Here are some tips for employers to stay compliant with their sponsor licence:
- Keep up-to-date with the latest changes to the sponsor licence requirements.
- Have a clear understanding of your responsibilities as a sponsor.
- Put in place systems and procedures to ensure that you are meeting your responsibilities.
- Train your staff on the sponsor licence requirements.
- Monitor your compliance on a regular basis.
- Seek professional advice if you are unsure about anything.
By following these tips, employers can help to ensure that they are staying compliant with their sponsor licence and avoiding any potential sanctions.
Exploring your options
- We provide an initial ‘foundation’ virtual meeting to establish the overall business intent. To identify any compliance issues prior to commencing an application for Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence.
Educating you on the steps
- Advise and assist in overall annual migrant recruitment strategy and help you understand the critical timelines for each phase of the sponsorship process.
- Recommend the appropriate compliance measures the company would need to take to ensure its compliance within UKVI guidelines
Preparing your case
- We provide you with a tailored list of specific documentation and advise on how it should be presented to the UKVI.
- Draft your online skilled worker sponsor licence application
- Interview and audit persons responsible for personnel and overall company compliance as Key Personnel in order to match UKVI expectations.
Supporting you on the way
- ‘Stress Test’ the Human Resource Systems and make recommendations
- Brief the Key Personnel on their compliance duties and responsibilities
- Available to assist during the UKVI Pre-Licence Audit process
Find out how we can help you.
To book a complimentary consultation please call our experts.
Sponsor Licence, Sponsoring Workers, TVO News
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