Sponsorship Licence

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The Process of Applying for a Sponsor Licence

If an employer wants to hire a person who is not a settled worker or who does not otherwise have immigration permission to work in the UK, then they will need permission from the Home Office. If the Home Office grant an employer permission to hire foreign workers, then it will grant them a ‘sponsor licence’ which enables them to do so. An employer that possesses a sponsor licence (formerly a Tier 2 sponsor licence) is known as a ‘sponsor’.

Employers do not need a sponsor licence to employ certain categories of person, including:

  • Irish citizens (with very limited exceptions)
  • people who have been granted settled or pre-settled status on the EU Settlement Scheme
  • people with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK (also known as ‘settlement’).

The process of acquiring and maintaining a sponsor licence can be time-consuming and complicated. The following video provides an overview of the application process for a sponsor licence.

Get in touch for an initial consultation on telephone: 0203 5245439.

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Types of Sponsor Licence 

There are two types of sponsor licence and it is important for employers to know which sponsor licence to apply for as it can affect the roles in which their organisation are able to employ foreign workers. These two types of sponsor licence are:

  1. Worker: for skilled or long-term employment
  2. Temporary Worker: for specific types of temporary employment.

Worker routes allow employers to sponsor people in different types of skilled employment. Temporary worker routes enable employers to sponsor workers in a variety of temporary roles within that company to help satisfy cultural, charitable, religious or international objectives.

How Long does it take to Obtain a Sponsor Licence?

It usually takes less than 8 weeks for a sponsor licence application to be considered. However, employers should be aware that it can take between 2-3 months for the application to be processed as well as being recognised on the list of sponsors. To help speed up the process, you should consider providing a comprehensive overview of how you meet the requirements. You will also need to provide the necessary supporting information in the manner specified by the Home Office.

The Genuine Vacancy Test

The Genuine Vacancy allows the Home Office to scrutinise an application for a sponsor licence to determine whether the vacancy is genuine or has been created to help a migrant secure visa status.

Employers will need to demonstrate that in all cases, the role to be filled by the migrant worker is a “genuine vacancy”. There are a few factors the Home Office will consider when determining a genuine vacancy:

  1. Does the role actually exist?
  2. Has the description been exaggerated?
  3. Has the role been created primarily to enable an overseas national to come to, or stay in, the UK?
  4. If the role has been advertised, are the requirements listed inappropriate or incompatible with the business? Have they been tailored to exclude resident workers?

If the Home Office has concerns that the application is not meeting the genuine vacancy test, they may request the employer for additional information.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

After the approval of your sponsor licence application you will need to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship:

  • An undefined CoS is assigned to a worker who is applying from within the UK for a Skilled Worker visa, or for workers on all other routes including the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route
  • A defined Cos is assigned to a worker who is based overseas for a Skilled Worker visa.

Types of Visas

Once a CoS has been assigned to the prospective employee, you will need to apply for either a Skilled Worker visa (previously Tier 2 General visa) or an Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visa for the applicant. In addition to meeting the Genuine Vacancy test, the applicant will also need to meet the maintenance and English language requirements.

Get in touch to speak to our specialist immigration team on how to make a successful sponsor licence application and avoid a sponsor licence application rejection. We can also assist with renewing your sponsor licence application or challenging a revocation of an existing sponsor licence.

For a step-by-step guide on the application process, take a look at our easily accessible guide at: Tier-2-sponsorship-licence.pdf (nalawsolicitors.co.uk).

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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