Sponsorship licence: employers

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Sponsorship licence: employers

With a sponsorship licence employers can recruit talented people from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. However, the rules are strict. Together we’ll put you in the best position to obtain work permits for your chosen recruits.

We enable UK companies to employ skilled foreign nationals. Larger companies often want their future senior managers to gain experience in many different countries and roles. Smaller companies may require specialist expertise.

Our clients include technology, finance, film and media companies, as well as sports people and celebrities.

Sponsorship licence eligibility assessment

When hiring a foreign national, the tier 2 skilled visa requires a company to ‘sponsor” that person.  Thus the company requires a sponsor licence.

To qualify for a sponsor licence, the business must satisfy rigorous criteria, that depend on the type of organisation, e.g. Generally, the business must:

  • Be a genuine organisation;
  • Operate in the UK;
  • Pose no threat to immigration control;
  • Employ people to fulfil compliance and immigration related duties;
  • Possess effective HR systems to monitor sponsored employees; and
  • Meet all other requirements,  including
    • Submitting supporting documents or evidence.

Eligibility assessment service

Some clients use us just to assess their eligibility for a sponsor licence.  We tell our clients if or how they can satisfy the sponsorship licence requirements.  Our consultations start at £500.00 plus VAT.

Often we meet in person. Sometimes it is a conference call. We then tell you how likely you are to qualify for a licence.

Obtain employer’s sponsorship licence

The sponsor licence is a significant document. It is a contract between the UK government and the employer. The company guarantees to comply with the duties associated with sponsoring non-EEA workers.

We prepare and submit your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Registration form. This includes documents that support your application.

The sponsor licence is valid for 4 years. Your company can renew the licence.  With a licence, your company can apply for and issue a certificate of sponsorship, COS, and hire foreign nationals. The certificate of sponsorship is more commonly known as a work permit.

There are two sponsorship certificates: restricted and unrestricted. Which type you apply for depends on:

  • The nature of foreign national’s role;
  • The rate of pay.

Your chosen foreign national employee must include the COS reference number in their Tier 2 visa application.

Resident labour market test

Usually, before employing a non-EEA national, your company must demonstrate it undertook a “resident labour market test”.  The test requires that the company:

  • Advertised the role in two sources for 28 days;
  • Clearly specificed the particulars of the role.

Fail to conduct the test, or execute it incorrectly, and the Home Office will probably refuse your Certificate of Sponsorship.

Certain conditions exempt employers from undertaking the resident labout market test.  However, even if the excemption applies, the Home Office often asks employers to show why a migrant was chosen over settled workers.

Continuous sponsorship compliance requirements

Employers of foreign nationals must meet strict compliance requirements. Otherwise employers won’t obtain or keep their sponsor licence. Without a licence, companies cannot employ foreign nationals. Compliance requirements include:

  • Prevention of illegal workers;
  • Record keeping;
  • Tracking and monitoring your migrant workforce;
  • Home office reporting.

The Home Office can visit any sponsor’s UK office at any time. Their visits may be un-announced or pre-arranged. If your business has traded for under 18 months, the Home Office is likely to visit before granting you a sponsor licence.

The purpose of the visit is to assess your business against the sponsorship compliance requirements. We support clients to:

  • Remain compliant with Home Office requirements;
  • Implement the required procedures and processes;
  • Use the correct tools.

Penalties for non-compliance

UK Visa & Immigration awards fully compliant companies an ‘A’ rating. If you don’t continue to comply, then the Home Office can revoke your sponsor licence, fine and even prosecute your company.

Continuous employment support

It is tough meeting the initial application requirements. Even tougher is staying compliant.  We support clients continuously maintain their compliance and avoid penalties.

Many clients use our employment services, covering: