Since the introduction of the Point Based System (PBS) in November 2008, UK businesses are now required to obtain a Sponsor Licence before they can employ overseas migrant workers who are resident outside the European Economic Area (EEA) jurisdiction. Businesses who have successfully acquired a Sponsor Licence should be mindful of the validity of their Sponsor Licence. A Sponsor Licence must be renewed every 4 years and employers should ensure they comply with their Sponsorship duties.
When and how should a business renew their Sponsor Licence?
A failure to renew your Sponsor Licence could have devastating effects for your business. All employees (Tier 2 and Tier 5 workers) will no longer be able to continue to work for you in the UK as their visa will be curtailed. Unless they are able to find a new employer with a valid A-rated Sponsor Licence within 60 days. In addition to this, you will not be permitted to assign new Certificate of Sponsorships to new recruits and your licence will be revoked. Whilst your business may face no financial penalty for failing to renew its licence, it could have an adverse effect for future applications as the Home Office will be aware of your previous revocation and failure to comply.
A typical Sponsor Licence is valid for 4 years from the date it is issued. A business can renew its Sponsor Licence up to 3 months before the expiry date. Employers should be actively keeping up to date with the status of their licence using the Sponsor Management System (SMS). Employers who wish to renew their Sponsor Licence are required to submit an online application form using the SMS account. A failure to renew your Sponsor Licence will result in the Home Office carrying out an investigation which will ultimately result in your licence being revoked. If you do not wish to renew your licence then you can also opt to decline the invitation to renew using the SMS system.
It is important to note that in some instances the Home Office may require new documentary evidence when you apply to have you Sponsor Licence renewed. In particular, businesses that fall under the Tier 2 (Sport) and Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) categories.
Failure to Comply with Sponsorship Duties
Once your Sponsor Licence has been issued it is your responsibility to ensure you comply with your Sponsorship duties. The Home Office are known to conduct unplanned compliance checks visiting businesses without notice. If during these checks the Home Office are not satisfied with their findings and discover there has been a breach in any of the Sponsorship duties, it is likely that your Sponsor Licence will be suspended or revoked. The Home Office has made it clear that they will not tolerate inattentive employers by ruling out the appeal process following a suspension or revocation of a licence. Examples of potential compliance issues that may arise are:
- Failure to update the SMS system regularly;
- Failure to notify the Home Office of changes in Sponsor’s circumstances such as change of address or contact details;
- Employing foreign workers without a valid visa; and
- Not issuing employee’s important documents such as employment contract and payslips.
Our team of solicitors can assist businesses with their Sponsorship duties by regularly conducting mock audits and compliance checks protecting their “A-rated” Sponsor Licence.
What is the Sponsor Management System (SMS?)
The SMS is an online tool that allows businesses to manage its day to day activities such as assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) and Confirmation of Acceptance for studies (CAS). Businesses should use the SMS to;
- Update employee details and to report changes;
- Managing key personnel and licence details;
- Reporting activities relating to your sponsored workers; and
- Applying for Sponsor Licence renewals.
Using Legal Representation to Apply or Renew a Sponsor Licence
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a successful Sponsor Licence. A Sponsor Licence application can be complicated at times as the Home Office have imposed specific requirements for Applicants to meet. Our expert immigration solicitors will provide you with a tailored service and are on hand to expedite the Sponsor Licence process. We ensure that we assist you to achieve and maintain an A-rated Sponsor status and provide ongoing compliance checks to ensure you are aware of your duties as a registered Sponsor.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Sponsor Licence Applications
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.