Starting from 1 January 2021, employers in the UK are required to apply for a sponsorship licence if they want to hire non-UK residents. Sponsorship Licence will also be needed if employers want to retain their present employees who are non-UK residents.
How to apply for a sponsorship licence?
Before applying for a sponsorship license, you must make sure of the following:
- You must know your visa sponsorship duties and be able to fulfil them.
- You must have an efficient recruitment system in place.
- Your key personnel must be reliable and honest.
- You must be able to show that your organisation operates in accordance with the law of the UK.
- If you are applying for a skilled worker sponsorship licence, you must be able to show that you can offer employment which requires those skills and that you can pay the employee appropriately.
Once you make sure of the above, you can apply for a sponsorship licence through an online application form. You will be asked to submit the required documents within five days of application. If you fail to do so, the application may be delayed or rejected or additional costs may be incurred.
After receiving the required documents, the Home Office may visit your organization to investigate and make sure that there are no breaches in the compliance of sponsorship duties. It conducts background checks of nominated individuals to verify their eligibility.
As an employer, you should be able to present evidence to the Home Office that your sponsored employees have ‘Right to Work’ in the UK.
After investigating to its satisfaction, the Home Office decides whether to give you the licence or not.
The entire process of obtaining a sponsorship licence may take 8 to 12 weeks. But under the Sponsor Licence Application Priority Service, you can obtain the licence within 10 days if you make an additional payment of £500.
How to manage a sponsorship licence?
After receiving your sponsorship licence, you need to keep making sure that you are complying with all the duties and not breaching any rules of the Home Office.
It is very essential for employers to maintain clear records of the organization and of the sponsored workers.
Employers must have the following in their records:
- Photocopies or electronic copies of relevant pages of the employee’s passport (personal details, immigration status, leave stamps etc)
- Contract of employment
- The employee’s national insurance number, biometric residence permit, and present and old contact details.
- A record of the employee’s absence
- Other documents depending on the employee’s visa type
Employers must also make sure to keep the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) updated. The Home Office gets all the needed information about your licence through the SMS. Therefore, updating the SMS must be an employer’s priority.
The SMS must be updated within the specified timeframe.
For example, if a sponsored employee is absent on the first day or is absent for 10 days without permission, the SMS must be updated within 10 days.
If the organisation has become insolvent, is being merged or is undergoing any other changes, the SMS must be updated within 20 days.
Aristone Solicitors can help you with all the aspects of acquiring a sponsorship licence. If you need help in obtaining or renewing the licence, contact us and book an appointment. We can also help you to manage a sponsorship licence and reapply for a refused application.