UK based organisations require a Skilled Worker sponsor licence, previously known as a Tier 2 licence, in order to recruit globally and employ the skilled staff they require.
What is a sponsor licence?
Acquiring a sponsor licence is the first hurdle for an organisation looking to employ non-UK workers.
From 1 January 2021, UK employers need a sponsor licence to recruit both EEA and non-EEA citizens. UK organisations without a sponsor licence should consider applying for a sponsor licence in order to be able to recruit staff from outside the UK quickly once the need arises.
Employers that already have a Tier 2 sponsor licence can use it to sponsor a Skilled Worker from 1 December 2020.
Sponsored migration has been widely criticised as overly complex. Skilled Worker applicants now face additional obstacles as recent changes to the Immigration Rules have introduced a number of category-specific validity requirements which are likely to catch some applicants out. It is our role to make the process as smooth and straightforward for you as possible.
Your Skilled Worker employees must make the appropriate applications for permission to come to the UK and to remain, sponsored by you. We can advise on each and every issue which comes up in relation to the requirements, ensuring that your employees can join you and comply with the rules once they are here.
Our experience in this area includes long-standing relationships with international charities, a major university and colleges, numerous science spin outs, churches and mosques, along with a wide variety of businesses from the small and local to global enterprises with offices on every continent.
What are the main requirements?
The employer must demonstrate that it is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, that it has relevant HR systems in place and that it has a need for a Skilled Worker sponsor licence.
We can guide you through the application process and advise you on the HR and other requirements you must meet in order for the Home Office to consider you suitable for a Skilled Worker sponsor licence. We can then advise on the documents required to support your application.
Importantly, before the sponsor licence application is submitted, we will ensure that the organisation is aware of the compliance responsibilities of being a sponsor licence holder. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit in order to assess whether the organisation will offer genuine vacancies and will be capable of carrying out its duties as a sponsor and we can assist with preparing for such a visit.
How long will it take to get a decision?
Decisions on sponsor licence applications can take up to 16 weeks, but we would generally expect a decision within 8 weeks.
Maintaining a sponsor licence
Sponsor licence holders can be subject to Home Office investigation at any time. Sponsor licence holders are subject to a number of duties including record keeping and reporting duties and the Home Office has the power to downgrade, suspend or revoke sponsor licences if you fail to comply with these duties, impacting your ability to employ sponsored workers in the UK.
Once you hold a Skilled Worker sponsor licence, we can help you manage it, providing as much or as little assistance as you require. We can act as your representative and Level 1 user to handle your online reporting requirements in accordance with your instructions. We can guide you on the applicable SOC codes, the minimum salaries and applying for, and assigning, Certificates of Sponsorship, as well as provide ongoing assistance with your sponsor licence and assist with its renewal every four years.