A UK-based organisation willing to employ a non-EU or non-EEA visa applicant in the UK on a Tier 2 visa must hold the relevant Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. A Sponsorship Licence is also required for educational institutions recruiting students from oversea. Without one, UK companies cannot transfer existing employees to the UK, extend an existing work visa or apply for permission to employ anybody from outside of the EEA.
Currently, the requirement to hold a sponsor licence only applies to employers wishing to employ nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). However, with the introduction of a new set of post-Brexit immigration rules due to be implemented on 1st January 2021, all employers who wish to employ EU nationals will need to apply for a sponsor licence.
Important action for employers:
Non- resident EU nationals who are entering the UK from the beginning of January 2021 will need permission to work. It is essential that you apply for a sponsor licence now should you wish to employ EU nationals from 1st January 2021 without experiencing a delay.
How do I apply for a sponsorship licence:
The application form is completed online and you will be required to send documents to the Home Office in support of the application within five working days of submission.
What documents do I need to prepare to send in support of the application:
The documents that a business should send to the Home Office include:
The Sponsorship Licence is valid for 4 years and may be downgraded, suspended or even withdrawn by the Home Office should the company not meet its responsibilities as a sponsor.
Once a Sponsorship Licence has been granted, the company will be issued with a licence rating. This enables the employer to begin assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) which are required as part of each non-EEA individual’s Immigration Application under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
Persons Involved in the Sponsorship Process
A prospective sponsor must allocate responsibilities to ‘key personnel’ in its staff in the following four roles: authorising officer; level 1 user; level 2 user and key contact. These roles can be filled by the same person or by different staff members.
To allow for immediate employment to take place, the employer should obtain either a ‘restricted’ or ‘unrestricted’ Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS):
Once a CoS has been issued, the prospective employee may then apply for a visa to join the company or may then apply for leave to take up employment with the company from within the UK.
Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Renewal
Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Renewal falls due every 4 years. Should an organisation employ sponsored migrants, they must renew their Sponsorship License prior to expiration, even if they do not intend to sponsor any further new migrants.
Key points about renewing a Sponsorship License:
Compliance visits from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are common when reviewing renewal applications. Visits may or may not be announced, and the attending Home Office Compliance Officer has the right to request access to records. Information which they may request access to will be in order to verify that the employer has been keeping and maintaining appropriate records pertaining to compliance, record keeping and reporting.
It is essential that companies can produce such documentation on request and be prepared for the potential of an inspection visit as part of their preparation to submit a Sponsorship License Renewal Application.
Resident Labour Market Test
Subject to the exceptions set out below, if a registered employer want to sponsor a migrant from outside the EEA the employer will have to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test and show that no suitable qualified resident worker can fill the job.
In order to conduct the Resident Labour Market Test the sponsor will have to properly advertise the position for a minimum of 28 calendar days in Jobcentre Plus (with certain limited exceptions) and by using one other method stated in the relevant codes of practice (unless there is no code of practice for the job). There are certain requirements in respect of the advertisements which have to be met.
The employer does not need to undertake a Resident Labour Market Test if:
We can advise and represent our clients throughout this procedure.
What services we can offer?
We can advise on the procedure for applying for a sponsor licence
For further information and free assessment please contact us.