(formerly the Tier 2 sponsor license)

The Sponsor License

Getting a sponsor license (formerly the Tier 2 sponsor license) is essential if you want your business to sponsor visa applications from skilled migrant workers.

Usually, a sponsor license will fall under the Worker License category or Temporary Worker License. The kind of job the organisation is advertising will decide what sponsor license they need to apply for.

As a part of this process, there will be several duties and obligations that need to be fulfilled as the employer of a skilled migrant worker. These duties began before their employment, as well as during it. The first thing to do is decide which company member(s) will represent your organisation. They must be executive or senior members of the company, and they must not be a shareholder. During your application, you will also need to prove that your business is legitimate and has a genuine need for skilled migrant talent.

Contact a certified and experienced immigration lawyer for more help about Tier 2 visa sponsorship licensing.

Is your organisation eligible?

To be eligible for sponsorship licensing, you must not have an unspent criminal conviction related to immigration crimes or anything relating to activity such as fraud. You must also have no record of failing to abide by previous sponsorship duties.

It's essential to understand the complexity involved in the sponsorship license application procedure. You will need to be willing and able to provide various detailed information about your organisation on request. You are no longer required to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test. However, the Home Office could still require you to provide reasonable evidence that employing a foreign worker is necessary over a domestic one.

You can have sponsorship licenses for both regular and temporary workers. The license itself will depend on the exact nature of the work the individual will be doing. If the application is accepted, you must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to all foreign workers.

License Sponsorship types

Worker sponsor licenses are for skilled workers who intend on taking up a long-term employment role and have the right to work for at least three years. Subcategories include the Sportsperson visa, Minister of Religion visa, and the Intra-Company Transfer visa.

Temporary worker licenses are for skilled workers undertaking temporary employment. The categories include creative and supportive, which involves up to a year for a sportsperson or two for an artist/entertainer. Charity workers up to a year. Religious workers up to two years. International agreements cover work carried out covered by international law, and the final category is Government Authorised Exchange.

The fees involved in applying

You will need to complete an Appendix A sponsorship license form as a part of your application. The fees involved vary depending on the size of your business and the type of application. The fees include:

  • Worker license: Small or Charitable sponsor fee - £536, Medium or Large sponsor fee - £1476
  • Temporary worker: Small or Charitable sponsor fee - £536, Medium or Large sponsor fee - £536
  • Worker and Temporary worker: Small or Charitable sponsor fee - £536, Medium or Large sponsor fee - £1476
  • Worker in addition to an existing temporary worker: Small or Charitable sponsor fee - £0, Medium or Large sponsor fee - £940
  • Temporary worker in addition to an existing worker: Small or Charitable sponsor fee - £0, Medium or Large sponsor fee - £0

These figures are intended only as a guide; please confirm final charges with your legal representation before making your application.

What about sponsor management?

You'll need to designate a sponsor manager or management team within your organisation to oversee the sponsorship roles. They will be the key contact between the UK Visas and Immigration and your organisation. They need to be a senior member of your organisation, who will be responsible for the staff members' actions. They will also be responsible for the daily license management.

You can select a single person or a team if necessary. However, every person involved will have to undergo background checks. 

Sending supporting documents

You'll need to send certain supporting documents in support of your application. The exact documents required will vary depending on your business and the type of vacancy you're looking to fill. All necessary documentation has to be provided within five working days of your application being made online. Usually, you will need to send originals. However, certified documents might be acceptable in certain circumstances.

Your immigration lawyer can help you to understand better the supporting documents you need to supply. 

Sponsorship license rating

An A-rated license means that your application has been ultimately approved, and you will be listed in the sponsorship register. Failure to meet your duties as a sponsor could see you downgraded to a B-rating. An action plan is available from the UKVI detailing how to reinstate your A-rating for £1476. You cannot issue new sponsorship certificates until your A-rating has been reinstated.

Your sponsorship responsibilities

An employer of a skilled migrant worker must abide by many responsibilities before the employment begins and during its term. You must ensure that the worker(s) in question can provide the necessary qualifications and skills demanded by the role, with documents to prove it. You must also only provide Certificates of Sponsorship to a worker when the job itself is suitable. You must also inform UKVI if your employee is found not to be complying with the terms and conditions of their visa.

Investing in legal assistance

Becoming a Tier 2 visa sponsor can be a complicated prospect. There are many forms to fill in as a part of the application process, and you have to ensure you provide the right supporting documents. Understanding the requirements of the application, supporting documents, and your obligations as an employer going forward are made much simpler when you invest in professional legal assistance.

A qualified immigration lawyer can help demystify the process and help ensure that your organisation is able to make a successful application for Tier 2 general visa sponsorship licensing.

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For more information about Tier 2 visa sponsorship, contact our expert team of immigration lawyers today.

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