Sponsoring highly skilled non-UK workers to be able to come and live and work in the UK has many advantages for employers. However, the applicable immigration laws are complex and employers who sponsor immigrant employees will need to keep a close eye on ensuring compliance with the rules.
Getting the paperwork done quickly and efficiently and understanding the system results in must faster approvals which in turn means being able to recruit highly skilled people with confidence both for you and them.
We advise a wide range of businesses on sponsoring highly skilled workers and on immigration law generally. Please do get in contact by phone or email to discuss how we can assist.
Applying for a sponsorship licence
Before sponsoring and employing non-UK workers it is necessary to have a sponsorship licence. Key requirements for obtaining a sponsorship licence include :-
- Satisfying The Home Office that you are able to provide genuine employment in a skilled occupation. The Home Office also have other requirements which include rates of salary for certain types of role.
- Supporting documents - typically bank statements, Employer’s liability insurance, company accounts, evidence of relevant HMRC up-to-date status and insurance.
- Paying a fee which will depend on the size of your business. For the vast majority of small and medium businesses the fee is in the region of £500.00 and is reviewed annually.
Errors on the sponsor application form will generally result in delay. This is because the Home office can impose cooling off period based on errors and that can mean that a business cannot re-submit the application for 6 months.
Sponsorship licence - what can go wrong?
- Businesses tend to focus on obtaining the licence and once obtained and staff recruited, it is not unusual for ongoing compliance to slip. This can result in Home Office enforcement action. Serious or repeated breaches can result in the licence being revoked which could ultimately mean that UK visas for all sponsored employees could be revoked.
- If you sell or merge your business you may need to apply for a whole new licence.
- Where a sponsored employee changes role in any significant way, this may impact his or her visa and sponsors need to take responsibility to notify the Home Office and where necessary to potentially even apply for a new visa.
- Sponsors need to be generally aware that there are a significant number of grounds under which the sponsor licence can be revoked or downgraded.
Our immigration law advice for licensed sponsors
We advise and assist clients who already have a Sponsor licence in a variety of ways, including but not limited to :-
- Renewals of existing sponsor licences
- Where sponsored employees move between Group Companies there will need to be an Intra-Company Transfer visa application.
- Compliance Audits
- Drafting or reviewing sponsor licence compliance processes including any manuals and policies
- Advising clients facing enforcement action
- Where a client has been notified that their Sponsor Licence may be downgraded