Sponsorship Licence: How to apply

    If you are a company or business who wishes to sponsor foreign workers then you do indeed need to apply for a Sponsorship license. Optimus Law offers bespoke packages tailored to your business objectives to help you every step of the way.

    A Fiancé visa is valid for 6 months, you can apply for a visa extension as the spouse of a UK citizen which will be granted for 2 years and 9 months after you marry in the UK.

    If the foreign worker is from within the EEA or Switzerland, you currently do not require a Sponsor licence, however due to Brexit and the upcoming changes to Freedom of Movement, we highly recommend to contact our lawyersif your business depends on a European workforce.

    Our comprehensive packages include assessing your current business recruitment activities and your internal HR processes to ensure you are compliant with the requirements set out by the Home Office. Our lawyers will begin by ensuring that your business knows what it should be doing when recruiting from overseas. We will advise you on the documents that you need to submit and also prepare the application on your behalf, for a free assessment please call our team on 020 3598 0099.

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      You must show you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK and therefore you must submit a number of company-related documents to the Home Office. The exact documents will depend up the type of organisation that you are and the type of licence you aim to sponsor migrants under.

      You must also understand which type of Sponsor Licence you can apply for. The two types are:

      1. Tier 2 – skilled workers with long term job offers
      2. Tier 5 – skilled temporary workers

      Tier 2 is split into:

      • General – the role must meet the job suitability requirements
      • Intra-Company Transfer – for multinational companies which need to transfer employees to the UK
      • Minister of Religion – for people coming to work for a religious organisation (for up to 3 years)
      • Sportsperson – for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK

      Tier 5 is into:

      • Creative and Sporting – to work as a sportsperson (up to 1 year), entertainer or artist (up to 2 years)
      • Charity Worker – for unpaid workers (up to 1 year)
      • Religious Worker – for those doing preaching, pastoral and non-pastoral work (2 years)
      • Government Authorised Exchange – work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge
      • International Agreement – where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, for example employees of overseas governments

      To get a Sponsor licence, you can’t have:
      • unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering.

      • any history of failing to carry out your sponsorship duties
      You’ll need appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will review your application form and supporting documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.

        We believe in prevention, hence why we advise at the outset that you should have the required HR processed in place to prevent Home Office audit failure. If you have encountered a notice to revoke your licence we recommend that you should contact our business immigration lawyers immediately to help you with this matter. It is likely that your licence has been revoked following a visit from the Home Office who have then forwarded some serious concerns to the UKVI. Some of the common reasons include:

        • Poor record keeping
        • Improper Residence Labour Market Test
        • Insufficient recruitment practices
        • Poor HR policies
        • Breach of immigration rules for one or more employees sponsored

        Often, organisations that have had their licence suspended have 20 working days to a notice from the Home Office.The implications and penalties imposed on the business could be severe, act now and get advice from a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer.

          You must apply for a Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence in order to recruit employees from a international branch. This is similar to the Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence.

          The main difference is you must show the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that your UK business is connected to the overseas entity by ‘common ownership or control’. The most common ways in which organisations meet this requirement is when:

          • one entity controls the composition of the other entity’s board;
          • one entity can cast, or control the casting of, more than half the maximum number of votes at a general

          meeting of the other entity;

          • one entity holds more than half the issued share capital of the other entity; or
          • both entities have a common parent entity that itself meets one or all of the above.

          We are experienced in preparing Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence applications and also processing the Tier 2 Visa. Tomaximise the chances of success we will provide expert guidance and assistance to organisations throughout the process. We will also work with the migrant worker to ensure he understands the process and what documents are required for the visa application.

            Sponsorship management roles

            You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence.

            The main tool they’ll use is the sponsorship management system (SMS).

            The roles are:

            • authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
            • key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
            • level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS

            These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

            You can also appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 user, for example they cannot withdraw a certificate of sponsorship.

            Suitability checks

            You and your staff will be checked to make sure you’re suitable for these roles. You may not get your licence if anyone involved in sponsorship has:

            • an unspent criminal conviction
            • been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months
            • been reported to UKVI
            • broken the law
            • been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
            • failed to pay VAT or other excise duty

            You and your allocated staff must also:

            • be based in the UK most of the time
            • not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
            • not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
            • not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements
            Your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff, or office holders.
            Read the full guidance on appointing ‘key personnel’.

            HR contractors and agency staff

            You must have at least one level 1 user who is your employee. You can have other level 1 or level 2 users employed by third-party organisations contracted to provide you with HR services. Your level 2 user can be a temporary member of staff supplied by an agency.

            UK-based legal representatives

            You can allocate any of the roles to a UK-based legal representative, apart from the authorising officer role. Your representative must be qualified to give immigration advice or services.

              The vote to leave the EU was, amongst other things, a vote to take back control of our borders. After Brexit, it is highly likely that their will be significant changes to Freedom of Movement and Skilled Workers,this would include many European workers many of which are currently employed in the UK.

              The new system proposed, aims to give the UK control over who comes to this country on the basis of the skills they have to offer – not where they come from.The new immigration system will enable skilled workers to come to the UK to help grow our economy and contribute to public services. This will be a global system. If you are a business that relies heavily on a European workforce, we highly recommend consulting a specialist immigration lawyer to discuss how your business may be affected and to be ready for the changes proposed by the Government.

                Our immigration lawyers can help you by providing expert guidance and assessment on whether your business does qualify for a Sponsorship Licence.

                Our team are ready to meet with you in person or via telephone to consider whether youdo qualify for the licence to recruit internationally. We have helped many clients successfully obtain a sponsorship licence and also how to remain compliant to prevent receiving a penalty or licence revocation.

                Once instructed, we will liaise with you in preparing your application with the requisite supporting documentation and our bespoke legal representations. Often, our expert advice can overcome any obstacles you face in this complex process. Many employers are unsure of where to begin and have trouble understanding assigning representatives to manage the licence. Optimus Law assign a lawyer who specialises in business immigration who will guide you through every step of this application process. We will closely work with your HR team and often visit your office to physically carry out a mock Home Office audit to gauge if your business is compliant and has the requisite processes. Call us on 020 3598 0099 to make an enquiry and learn how we can help you.

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