The UK sees plenty of annual migration. After the pandemic, there has been a frantic increase in skilled professionals moving to the UK. The government has also ensured there are ample opportunities for foreign nationals to live and work in the UK with their families. The primary reason for the introduction of new migratory rules is the skills shortage gap in the UK. Post-Brexit UK saw a mass exodus of EU nationals returning to their home countries. This movement led to a severe skills shortage. Now, the UK is actively hiring to ensure that this gap gets covered, and UK-based businesses have the necessary talent to continue with their work.
In the UK, a sponsorship licence is an approval process devised to systematically allow UK-based organisations and commercial enterprises to bring into the country specifically skilled workers as employees for fixed periods. The sponsorship licence, once approved, has a validity of four calendar years from the date of issue. It can be further renewed after the completion of the validity period. As and when required, your organisations should seek expert guidance from legal experts at Total Law first to ascertain the possibility of applying for a sponsorship license. Even if the license can be applied as and when required, there is an elaborately explained and properly defined process to ascertain eligibility to apply for a sponsor licence.
The Basic Criterion Determining Eligibility Are:
The applicant organisation must necessarily have a presence in the UK and should have been operating the business or trading in products lawfully, without any legal actions pending against them. This criterion becomes applicable to the entire organisation, even if there are multiple offices or branches in the UK. In specific cases, the authorities also allow independent sponsorship licences for branches. This is possible in certain extraordinary circumstances only.
The Home Office should accept your application on the merits of your organisation’s eligibility for a sponsorship license, especially considering that genuine employment for a skilled occupation is being offered and that your organisation commits to pay the Home Office stipulated salary rate.
Besides the condition that there is no previous non-compliance to adherence to any sponsorship license conditions (if any), your organisation must submit an undertaking to confirm compliance and acceptance of all of the duties associated with being a sponsorship licence holder as part of each application.
Your organisation must have relevant HR systems and processes to monitor, control, record, improve and comply with the sponsorship licensing norms.
These rules and regulations are in place to ensure everyone has a fair chance, there is no evasion of tax, and there are no illegal entrants in the UK. While the process may seem tedious with additional wait time, double security measures, and plenty of documentation, the licence is excellent for employers wishing to protect themselves and their employees.
Ratings of sponsorship licence: Every approved sponsorship license is awarded a rating by the Home Office. There are two levels of rating :
An A-Rating is considered to be the highest rating award. It is generally awarded to organisations that have complied with all the requisite norms and requirements of the Home Office concerning the sponsorship license. It is also mandatory for the organisation to maintain the HR processes and systems required for the efficient monitoring of the sponsorship license norms continuously. The Home Office periodically audits this to maintain the organisation’s A-rating.
If the Home Office finds that the organisation has fallen short or is not complying with the requisite norms, it may decide to bring down the organisation’s rating to B-Rating. If this happens, the organisation will be given a mutually agreed time, within which it must bring back the systems and processes to regain its A-rating. Further, if in case even after the extended time, the organisation is unable to meet the norms, the Home Office may, at its discretion, decide to revoke the sponsorship licence.
Besides the above, there is also the possibility that the Home Office may entirely suspend and revoke the sponsorship license without allowing any time extension for improvement. This could depend entirely on the serious situation of the breach once identified.
The Home Office generally qualifies organisations as medium or large, or small. This classification defines the sponsorship license application fees. Qualification of large, medium and small are typically based on the turnover of the organisation, amount of assets held, size of the existing workforce and geographical spread within the UK.
Applying For A Sponsor Licence
- All sponsorship license applications are submitted online. The Home Office has made the Sponsorship Management System accessible to all who apply for a license.
- Information required in the form includes :
- Type of licence being applied
- Organisation contact information
- Nomination of key personnel who will act on behalf of the organisation
- Contact details of the nominated key personnel
- A list comprising details of supporting documents being submitted
Documents required to be submitted:
- Audited annual financial statements: current last three years
- Certificate of liability insurance availed
- Details and certificate of vat registration
- Current and last six months organisation bank account statement
- Evidence or document of the HMRC registration (details must include payee number and reference number of accounts office)
- Documentary evidence of organisation location address
- Explanation of why a sponsorship license is required
- Details of skill set gap and why the gap exists
- Details of office operating hours
- Current organisation structure with reporting details highlighting the owner, director and board member (if any)
- Fill list of employees (only if the number of employees is less than fifty)
The entire application has to be submitted with a detailed Cover Note highlighting and explaining which skill gaps the license is being applied for and the other gap-mitigating options tried by the organisation.
Systematically covering the skills shortage gap, introducing newer reforms, and enabling a superior talent pool are some of the focus areas of the UK government. All the rules and regulations surrounding the hire of foreign nationals aim to aid UK-businesses and new employees in the long-term.