Sponsor licence application: key personnel duties

When applying for a sponsor licence, an employer must nominate staff within their organisation to hold certain positions to manage the sponsorship application. An organisation must appoint the following key personnel:

  • Authorising officer
  • Key contact
  • Level 1 user
  • Level 2 user

It is important for the key personnel to understand their role and ensure they meet their duties and responsibilities.

Authorising officer

The authorising officer is ultimately responsible for overseeing the sponsor licence and ensuring the organisation is compliant with the sponsor licence duties. Therefore, this position is often allocated to a senior member of staff, usually one that deals with the recruitment process or HR.

The authorising officer does not have automatic access to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS), they must be set up as a level 1 or 2 user.

Key contact

This person will be the key contact between the organisation and the Home Office. The key contact will be responsible for answering any queries the Home Office may have about the application, documentation or payments.

The key contact does not have automatic access to the SMS, they must be set up as a level 1 or 2 user.

Level 1 user

The appointed level 1 user is responsible for carrying out the day-to-day activities of the sponsorship. The level 1 user has full access to the SMS meaning they can perform the following tasks:

  • Assign a certificate of sponsorship to workers
  • Inform the Home Office on the SMS of any change of circumstances
  • Ask for an increase in the number of certificate of sponsorships you can assign

The full list of tasks that the level 1 can perform can be found here.

When applying for a sponsor licence, an organisation can only assign one level 1 user that also has to be an employee. Once the licence has been granted, an organisation can appoint additional level 1 users, these can be individuals outside the organisation.

Level 2 user

Assigning a level 2 user is optional and can only be filled once the licence has been secured. A level 2 user also has access to the SMS but at a more restricted level, they can only perform the following actions:

  • Create and assign a certificate of sponsorship
  • report worker activity to the Home Office in respect of any certificate of sponsorship they have personally created and assigned, or which have been transferred to them by a level 1 user

Eligibility criteria for all key personnel

The individual being nominated as one of the key personnel must satisfy all the following criteria:

  • They must be based in the UK
  • Must not have any unspent criminal convictions: the Home Office will refuse all applications that have nominated key personnel that have unspent criminal convictions relating to those set out in Annex L4
  • They must be a paid member of staff or engaged by the organisation as an ‘office holder’, exceptions to this rule may apply in certain circumstances

None of your key personnel can be :

  • Someone not based in the UK
  • Contractor/consultant that has been contracted for a specific project
  • Subject to any Bankruptcy Restriction Order or Bankruptcy Restriction Undertaking
  • Subject to Debt Relief Restriction or Debt Relief Restriction Undertaking
  • Prohibited by law from being a director of a company

How NA Law can help

NA Law can assist you with your sponsorship licence and ensure that your organisation is fulfilling the duties required under the sponsor licence. Contact us for advice on your sponsor licence and the duties of the key personnel.

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