If you are a UK-based company looking to employ foreign workers, you may need to apply for a sponsor licence from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This licence allows you to sponsor skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. In this article, we will guide you through the process of applying for a sponsor licence in the UK.
Before you apply for a sponsor licence, you need to make sure that your company is eligible. To be eligible, your company must:
- Be a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK
- Be able to offer skilled employment that is suitable for sponsorship
- Have no history of poor conduct or non-compliance with immigration law
- Be able to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the sponsored worker
If your company meets the above requirements, you can proceed to the next step.
Types of Sponsor Licence
There are two types of sponsor licence:
- Tier 2 Sponsor Licence – allows you to sponsor skilled workers from outside the EEA and Switzerland
- Tier 5 Sponsor Licence – allows you to sponsor temporary workers, such as charity workers or creative and sporting workers, from outside the EEA and Switzerland
If you are unsure which type of sponsor licence you need, you can use the UKVI’s online tool to find out.
The application process for a sponsor licence is done online, through the UKVI website. You will need to provide the following information:
- Company details – including your Companies House number, address, and contact details
- Details of the key personnel – including the authorising officer, level 1 user, and key contact
- Supporting documents – such as proof of your business activities, and evidence of your ability to offer skilled employment
You will also need to pay a fee when you submit your application.
After you submit your application, the UKVI will assess it and may contact you to request additional information or documents. If your application is successful, you will receive a sponsor licence rating, which will determine your responsibilities and how long your licence will last.
Responsibilities of a Sponsor Licence Holder
As a sponsor licence holder, you will have certain responsibilities, including:
- Keeping records of sponsored workers – including their contact details and immigration documents
- Monitoring the sponsored worker’s immigration status – to ensure they have the right to work in the UK
- Reporting any changes in circumstances – such as changes to the sponsored worker’s job role or salary
- Complying with your duties as a sponsor – such as providing support to your sponsored workers, and reporting any breaches of their visa conditions
If you fail to comply with your responsibilities as a sponsor licence holder, you may lose your licence or face fines.
Renewing Your Sponsor Licence
Your sponsor licence will last for four years, after which you will need to renew it if you wish to continue sponsoring foreign workers. You can apply to renew your licence up to three months before it expires.
To renew your sponsor licence, you will need to provide updated information about your company and key personnel, and pay a renewal fee. You will also need to provide evidence of your compliance with your duties as a sponsor licence holder.
Applying for a sponsor licence can be a complex process, but by following the above steps and ensuring that you meet the eligibility requirements, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to comply with your duties as a sponsor licence holder, and renew your licence before it expires to avoid any disruptions to your business.