The introduction of a new Points Based System has changed the way that businesses employ skilled workers from outside of the UK. Any company looking to hire EU nationals are now required to sponsor workers under the new Points Based System, in a similar way to the previous system for sponsoring non-EU workers. In order to sponsor nationals from outside of the UK, companies must obtain permission granted by the Home Office, which is known as a Sponsor Licence (formerly known as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence). The Sponsor Licence allows UK-based companies to sponsor skilled workers who are based overseas or within the UK (for applicants on a different visa who are legally able to switch to the Skilled Worker visa route). The ability to hire overseas skilled talent is essential to the successful growth of a business. Our business immigration lawyers are experienced in ensuring businesses’ Sponsor Licence applications to the Home Office are successful so please contact us to arrange a consultation to have your cases assessed in more detail.
What is a Sponsor Licence for Skilled Workers?
The most common visa route available for workers who want to come to the UK under the new Points Based System is through the Skilled Worker visa route. Organisations that employ non-British nationals must hold a Sponsor Licence in order to assign Certificates of Sponsorships (CoS). A CoS is a virtual work permit required as a part of an individual’s immigration application to work for the organisation under this route. The CoS is used by the employer to certify that the worker meets the Skilled Worker visa requirements. Without a Sponsor Licence, companies in the UK cannot transfer employees from overseas to the UK or extend their existing sponsored work visas.
What is a CoS?
There are two types of CoS that can be assigned to an employee under the Skilled Worker visa route once the company has been registered as a licenced sponsor.
Defined Certificates – Defined certificates are for people applying for a Skilled Worker visa from outside of the UK. Sponsors will need to request a defined Cos every time one is required. A defined CoS is valid for a period of three months from the date of issue.
Undefined Certificates- Undefined CoS are used for employees who are already in the UK and are able to apply to switch to the Skilled Worker route. A sponsor can have annual allocations of undefined CoS. Usually, a business will confirm how many CoS are required for the year, and any CoS that has not been assigned will expire on the 5 April of each year.
Choosing the correct type of CoS is vital, as having the wrong type issued to a skilled worker applicant could cause the sponsor to have their licence suspended or revoked. We can provide detailed advice in relation to which type of CoS your business is eligible for.
How much does a sponsor Licence cost?
The fee for a sponsor licence varies depending on the size and type of the organisation. “Medium” and “large” organisations are required to pay a sponsor licence fee of £1,476. An organisation is usually classified as “small” if two of the following apply:
- annual turnover is £10.2 million or less;
- total assets are worth £5.1 million or less;
- 50 employees or fewer.
Organisations classified as “small” are required to pay a sponsor licence fee of £536. “Small” sponsors include charitable organisations.
How long does it take to get a sponsorship license UK?
A sponsor licence can take up to eight weeks to be processed on average. It is essential to avoid mistakes on your application to avoid length delays. We are on hand to assist with the application process and help gather the documentary evidence required before submitting your application, ensuring that you receive your licence swiftly. Businesses can have their applications for sponsor licences fast-tracked via use of the Home Office priority service for an additional fee of £500. The priority service aims to deliver the licence within ten working days from submission.
Once the sponsor licence is approved, it will be valid for an initial period of four years with the option for renewal.
Can a sponsor licence be revoked?
A Home Office approved business is required to follow certain duties and responsibilities expected as them as a sponsor. If a sponsor does not meet the responsibilities required, their sponsor licence can be downgraded, suspended or revoked. Once a Sponsor Licence is obtained it is therefore very important that businesses remain up to date with the responsibilities of their licence.
The Home Office may revoke or suspend a business’ Sponsor licence if it is found to breach any sponsor duties that pose a threat to immigration control such as:
- Providing inaccurate or false information in the application for the Sponsor licence;
- Failing to undertake right to work checks;
- Failure to keep certain documents updated for each worker that the business sponsors; and
- Continuously failing to comply with Sponsor duties.
We can help ensure that your business meets the ongoing obligations required as a sponsor and guide you through the relevant immigration laws that must be adhered to in order to maintain your Sponsor Licence.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to apply for 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 make a new Points Based System application under the Immigration Rules.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject UK Visa applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Sponsor Licence application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
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 with our Immigration Solicitors in London
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 Sponsor Licence application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your Sponsor Licence applications 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 Sponsor Licence 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 Business Immigration Team so we can assess possible UK Visa routes and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.