The Points Based System was introduced in 2008 and is based on employers applying to the Home Office (UK Visas & Immigration) for a Sponsor Licence and becoming registered sponsors. Once a business is a licenced sponsor, it will be added to the Home Office’s register of sponsors and it can then allocate Certificate of Sponsorships (CoS) to non EU migrants enabling them to work in the UK in skilled employment.
As at the beginning of 2016, Home Office statistics confirm that there are over 29,000 registered Tier 2 and 5 Sponsors all able to directly hire workers from outside the EU. This is the only method of hiring non EU workers in the UK and the Home Office have strict policies in place when considering whether a business should be granted a Sponsor Licence.
Qualifying for a Business Sponsor Licence
Among those who may qualify for the Tier 2 & 5 Sponsor Licence are UK based businesses (registered with Companies House), start-ups, franchises and charities. Generally, when considering an application for a Sponsor Licence, the Home Office will need to establish:
- Whether the business is operating lawfully in the UK;
- Whether key workers in the business are honest, dependable and reliable;
- Whether the business is able to comply with its sponsor duties; and
- Whether the business can offer genuine employment that meets the appropriate skill levels and appropriate rates of pay.
Procedure for Applying for Sponsor Licence
Obtaining a business Sponsor Licence is far from a straightforward process involving referencing not only UK Immigration Law but also lengthy supplementary guidance notes from the Home Office.
An application for a Tier 2 & 5 Sponsor Licence must be submitted online and must be supported by documentation which satisfies the Home Office that the business is operating lawfully in the UK. The documentation required by the Home Office depends on the type of organisation and which categories the application is being made for.
The Home Office’s guidance, which is regularly updated, is contained in numerous documents and information is not always easy to find. Our expert business immigration team are regularly instructed by different types of organisations and are familiar with the documents required in support of Sponsor Licence applications. Our team can assist you in submitting a properly executed application for a Sponsor Licence and ensure that you are aware of your sponsor duties before you make the commitment to become a Home Office Sponsor.
UK Visa & Immigration Fees
Sponsor Licence applicants will need to pay an application fee at the time their application is submitted. The fee depends upon what type of licence is required and what the size of the organisation is.
The Home Office’s fees for Sponsor Licences are regularly updated so it is vital to ensure you are aware of the correct fee. Generally, the current fee for a small or charitable sponsor is £536 whereas the fee for medium or large sponsors £1476.
Validity of Sponsor Licence
Once an organisation is granted a Sponsor Licence, it will be added to the Home Office’s list of registered sponsors. The Sponsor Licence is valid for 4 years after which it will expire and if required, an organisation can apply to renew the same. Our business immigration solicitors are regularly instructed by clients who wish to renew their Sponsor Licence so they can continue to employ non-EEA migrants.
Sponsor’s granted licences will initially be granted an A-rated licence but this may be downgraded to a B-rating at a later stage if the sponsor does not continue to meet its sponsor duties. It is therefore vital for organisations to be aware of their duties; our immigration lawyers are on hand to assist businesses in maintaining their A-rated Sponsor Licence.
Business Sponsor Licence Solicitors
Our immigration lawyers have extensive experience in preparing Sponsor Licence applications for businesses/employers regardless of whether the employer is a start up or large enterprise. Our immigration team can offer the following services:
- Consultation with an experienced business immigration solicitor who can advise on the eligibility criteria of a Sponsor Licence application;
- Provide the business/company with a bespoke supporting documents list which will assist in collating documents required for the Sponsor Licence application;
- Prepare the relevant application form and detailed legal representations to accompany the application; and
- If necessary liaise with the Home Office to track the progress of the application.
We are a UK law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our professional business immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.