Immigration UK

UK Sponsor License: Important Document For Work Visas

Do you want to hire a worker from outside the country? If yes, the UK Sponsor License is one of the most important documents you need to get.

Every year, companies in the UK hire hundreds of workers from foreign countries. These workers contribute a lot to the UK economy in their respective capacities. As a result, the country’s government continues to make it possible for companies to hire workers.

However, as a company in the UK, you can’t hire anyone without proper authorization. You need to meet different criteria to qualify as a foreign employer. However, ultimately, you need to obtain a UK sponsor license.

The sponsor license is your document, not that of the employee you want to hire. In contrast, your employee will receive a certificate of sponsorship – which you’ll issue with your sponsor license.

Read on to find out all you need to know about the UK sponsor license in this post.

What Is a Sponsor License?

Suppose you’re a foreign national seeking employment in the United Kingdom. In that case, you’ll need to secure sponsorship from a British company or individual. Your employer, who has given you a job offer, automatically becomes your sponsor.

However, not every company in the United Kingdom can afford to hire foreign nationals. Only companies with a sponsor license can hire workers from other countries. 

A sponsor license, then, shows that proves a UK-based company has legal authorization to employ people from other countries. There is no need for a sponsor license if you are traveling to the UK to invest. In such a case, you need a visa like a Start-up or an Innovator visa. These visas do not require sponsorship.

Your company must verify that your job position qualifies for sponsorship. Also, they must confirm that you possess the necessary skills and credentials for the role before they can apply for a sponsor license. It’s also essential that they haven’t had their license canceled anytime in the past year.

Your employer will apply for a specific type of sponsorship license. The type will depend on the nature of the job position you’re filling.

Licenses for workers fall into several broad categories, including the Skilled Worker, Senior or Specialist Worker, Minister of Religion, and International Sportsperson visas. 

Temporary workers’ licenses include, among others, the Creative Worker, Charity Worker, Graduate Trainee, Seasonal Worker, and Secondment Worker categories. 

The process of applying for a sponsorship license has a fee. For small enterprises and charities, the procedure will cost £536, while medium-sized and large businesses would pay £1,476.

If approved, employers typically receive an A-rating license. But if your job is as a UK Expansion Worker, they will get a provisional rating license.

Why Is It Important?

You can only get a UK Work Visa if you meet the requirements for your job category. As was already said, you need a sponsor, which by default is your employer. Your employer needs to give you a certificate of sponsorship to prove that they are sponsoring you.

The Tier 2 sponsorship license program was established to enable employers to hire and keep non-EEA immigrants as employees of their business or organization. Since the UK left the EU, all foreign workers need to meet this requirement, which is now simply the “sponsorship license.” 

Applying for a sponsorship license entails demonstrating your employer’s ability to adhere to strict rules. After that, you will have continuing management and compliance obligations for your sponsorship license that you must fulfill to keep your license. 

You can provide certificates of sponsorship to qualified foreign workers, enabling them to legally work for you in the UK after you have a sponsorship license.

Only UK employers with an active license may issue certificates of sponsorship; hence a sponsor license is essential. In other words, you cannot obtain a sponsorship certificate from your employer without a sponsor license, and you cannot get a work visa without a sponsorship certificate. 

Each sponsor license for an A-rating is good for four years. Thus, companies do not have to submit a new license application for each job offer. You can check the Register of licensed sponsors on the GOV UK website to ensure your UK employer has a current sponsor license. 

Details about your employer and your employment offer will be in the certificate of sponsorship you get. It will most notably include your job title and employer’s sponsor license reference number. You must note that the document is electronic rather than tangible. In other words, you won’t get a physical copy.

You simply need to provide the certificate’s reference number when applying for a work visa. You should begin the visa application process as soon as you acquire the certification because it is only valid for three months.

Eligibility Requirements for a Sponsor License

When deciding whether or not to accept your application, the headquarters will think about the following details: 

  • Valid identification as a corporation, limited liability partnership, sole proprietorship, or limited liability business
  • You need all the proper authorization, tax payments, and insurance coverage to legally conduct business in the United Kingdom. 
  • Proof that the essential people included on the sponsorship license are trustworthy by presenting evidence that they have no immigration convictions. 

As part of the sponsorship license application process, you’ll need to show that you understand the stipulations set forth by the home office. You must have employees currently employed in your company to stand as “Authorizing Officer,” “Key Contact,” and “Level 1 User.” 

You need solid HR systems to keep tabs on your migrant workers’ whereabouts and activities. In addition, you need to ensure there is an actual opening at the right level and that the salary is competitive with other offers.

About the Resident Labor Market Test

In other cases, the sponsor must show that they followed the procedures outlined in the home office’s published instructions to fill the position domestically. 

In such cases, the employer must post an advertisement for the position for at least 28 days on the Jobcentre Plus website and one other relevant portal run by the UK government. 

Before offering the post to the non-settled UK worker, the sponsor must demonstrate that there are no appropriate established workers who are already residing in the UK who can fill the position.

In addition, there’s the Subjective Test under sponsorship license. This is an additional requirement prospective sponsorship license employers will need to meet.

As an employer, you will need to demonstrate that the vacancy you are seeking genuinely exists. It’s important to prove that you didn’t create it to allow someone the opportunity to regularise their Immigration status unfairly.

About the Immigration Skills Charge

Suppose you have a sponsorship license and wish to sponsor an overseas worker for six months or more under the Senior or Specialist Worker visa. In that case, you may need to pay an immigration skills charge. 

The fee is set at £1000 per employee yearly. However, the price is lower at $364 less for nonprofit or small businesses. 

You don’t have to pay if you’re sponsoring a student changing their visa to one for a senior or specialist worker. Other instances when you don’t have to pay include sponsoring a foreign national working at a Ph.D. level or a citizen who is a graduate trainee.

How To Apply for a UK Sponsorship License

There are various steps you must take to obtain a sponsorship license. You must complete each step and present all required supporting documentation. Following are the processes to obtain a UK sponsorship license: 

  • The employer must complete the online application using the official government website. 
  • Within five working days of submitting the initial application to the home office, gather the pertinent supporting documents listed in Appendix A of the published home office guidance. 
  • Give a thorough justification for why you need a sponsorship license.
  • Make sure you have HR systems in place to show that you are aware of and capable of upholding your commitments as a licensed sponsor. 
  • Make sure you are ready for a pre-licensing compliance inspection; a home office representative may show up to look around your office and speak with you further about your sponsorship license application.

How soon you apply for a sponsorship license depends on the specifics of your situation. Employers typically submit applications a few months before they need to fill a position.

In most cases, the review and approval process for a sponsorship license takes two to three months. The length of time it takes to review applications depends on the nature of the business, the number of applications received, and other administrative considerations.

You can apply for a license as a single entity that covers all linked branches under one organization if your firm has many branch offices throughout the UK, or you may apply for a separate license for each branch.

Once you get a sponsorship license, it’s valid for four years as long as you keep doing your job as a sponsor.

UK Sponsor License Reasons for Rejection

Rejecting a sponsor license application can be a frustrating affair. The following are some of the most frequent explanations for application denials: 

  • Erroneous or deceptive paperwork 
  • Unfinished application 
  • A prior sponsor license for the business has been revoked. 
  • The business missed the deadline for providing additional information that was sought. 

It’s vital for companies to take every precaution to avoid having their sponsor license application rejected since the application money is non-refundable. They cannot reapply until a cooling-off period has elapsed. 

The duration will vary depending on the reasons the application was rejected. Most businesses will not be able to reapply for at least six months after receiving a notice of rejection. 

You won’t be eligible to file an appeal if your sponsor licensing application is denied. The decision may be subject to an administrative review, but this does not ensure that you will get a different decision. 

What Is the Sponsor License Rating?

Your company will get an A-rated license and included in the registry of sponsors if your application is successful. 

Your license may be lowered to a B-rating if you fail to uphold your obligations as a sponsor. In this case, the UKVI will give you an action plan that you must undertake to return your license to an A-rating. The cost of the action plan is £1,476. 

Until you demonstrate that you have made adjustments and have been promoted back to the A-rating, you will not be permitted to issue new certificates of sponsorship.

UK Sponsor Responsibilities

Before and after hiring an overseas employee, an employer has many obligations to fulfill. 

You must, as an employer, verify that all of your international employees have the appropriate credentials for the position. 

Sponsorship Certificates should only be issued to employees whose positions are appropriate for such documentation. If your worker violates the visa’s terms and conditions, you must immediately notify the UK Visas and Immigration office.

Bottom Line

The UK Sponsor License is an essential document for UK employers who want to hire foreign workers. It’s also a necessary document if you want to sponsor students to study in the country.

With the information in this post, you should now have a clear-cut understanding of what the UK sponsor license is all about and what it demands. You can drop comments below if you have any questions about the process.

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