International employees residing outside the UK, including Skilled visa holders, Intra-Company visa holders, or people on some temporary work visa, require a sponsor licence to come and work in the country. A valid sponsor licence is almost always needed for any UK employer to hire overseas workers.
Unpaid work, such as running a charity and other philanthropic activities, fall under this category. Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after December 31, 2020, are required to have a sponsor licence.
What is the procedure for obtaining a sponsor licence?
To obtain a visa sponsorship licence in the United Kingdom, the UK-based employer must apply to the Home Office and settle the required payments. The Home Office will only provide a sponsor licence to an organisation that can demonstrate that the positions they are recruiting for, as well as the workers they plan to sponsor, fit the appropriate criteria. HR mechanisms must also be in place to meet the organisation’s onerous sponsorship compliance obligations. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may inspect your establishment to ensure its suitability.
There are certain criteria that the applicant should be aware of before applying for the UK Sponsorship licence. The UK-based company (applicant) must ensure that it is legitimate and is operating and/or trading legally in the United Kingdom, to be eligible for the sponsor licence. A UK permanent resident or citizen must fill the level 1 user role (a sponsor management role) required during the application process. If the company applying for the licence is a start-up, it may be a good idea to include supplementary documentation in the Home Office application to demonstrate viability. There are no restrictions on the size or type of organisation that can apply for a sponsorship licence. However, it is more likely to be easier to obtain for an established company than a new one.
Sponsorship licence application procedure
The application form is available online and can be accessed via SMS too. It is a simple procedure but since the system has not been upgraded for years, candidates are advised to save their applications regularly to avoid losing any data. Along with the necessary documentation, the information that one needs to provide on the form includes their contact information, details of their prefered licence type, licensee’s key people nominee, among others.
While the form can be completed with the assistance of the immigrant solicitors, the guidelines provide that a representative from the organisation must eventually make the final move to submit the application to the Home Office.
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A submission sheet will be then generated once the fee has been paid.
This sheet was previously required to be printed, signed by the AO, and sent with the supporting documents bundle before the 2020 spring lockdown.
However, following the COVID19 pandemic, revised regulations now allow the AO to electronically sign the sheet and email it as a pdf along with the supporting document bundle.
If your application is approved, you will be assigned a licence rating. If you have positions that are acceptable for sponsorship, you will be able to issue sponsorship certificates. Your permit will be valid for four years. If you fail to meet your responsibilities as a sponsor, you may lose your licence.
New Alteration in the UK sponsor licence
Because of the end of EU free movement and changes to UK immigration rules, all EU and non-EU citizens seeking to work in the UK must now be sponsored by a licenced business with a sponsorship licence from January 1, 2021.
The United Kingdom’s new points-based immigration system includes an immigration path for employees who have been offered a job in a qualifying role by an authorised sponsor. The new skilled worker route, which replaces the Tier 2 (General) visa, applies to both EU nationals who arrive in the UK after 11 p.m. on December 31, 2020, and Non-EU nationals who apply for a visa on or after December 1, 2020.
EU nationals who are currently in the UK on December 31, 2020, will not need to be sponsored. To maintain their legal position, they should have enrolled under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021.
Irish nationals are likewise excluded from the requirements and do not need to be sponsored in order to work in the United Kingdom.
The new rules have made it more difficult for UK employers to hire EU nationals, but other changes, such as lower skill and salary thresholds for the skilled worker route, are intended to open sponsorship up to a greater number of workers and a broader range of jobs than the previous Tier 2 visa route.
A Y & J Solicitors are here to help!
Sponsoring someone does not ensure that they will be granted a visa to work for the employer in the UK. The sponsor licence application procedure is complicated, with many applications being denied each year due to minor faults in documentation or failure to respond satisfactorily to Home Office enquiries.
Our advocates at A Y & J Solicitors are here for your assistance. Our much-experienced immigration lawyers are here to guide you through the process to ensure hassle-free transitions.
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