Changes to the Home Office Pre-licence Priority Service for Sponsor Licence Applicants banner


Changes to the Home Office Pre-licence Priority Service for Sponsor Licence Applicants

  • Posted on

The Home Office has introduced changes to its pre-licence priority service for sponsor licence applicants. The changes came into force on 21 June 2023.

In this article, our immigration solicitors highlight the key changes for business owners applying for a sponsor licence.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For sponsor licence application and management advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Who can use the pre-licence priority service?

Your business can use the pre-licence priority service if you are applying for a sponsor licence to sponsor individuals on the following visas:

  • Skilled worker visa
  • The senior or specialist worker visa under the global business mobility route
  • The graduate trainee visa under the global business mobility route
  • Minister of religion visa
  • Religious worker visa
  • International sportsperson visa
  • Creative worker visa
  • Charity worker visa

Do sponsor licence applicants have to use the pre-licence priority service?

Sponsor licence applicants do not have to use the pre-licence priority service. It is an ‘added extra’. By paying a supplemental fee for use of the priority service you are guaranteed a quicker sponsor licence decision.

Sponsorship Licence lawyers stress that paying for the pre-licence priority service does not increase your chances of obtaining a sponsor licence; it just means you get a quicker decision. The benefits of a quick decision may far outweigh the additional costs of the pre-licence priority service fee. Take the case of a London restaurant owner unable to fully open because they simply can't recruit staff from within the UK. Every day that the Home Office is considering its sponsor licence application to sponsor skilled worker visa applicants is an extra day of reduced covers and lower takings.

Business immigration solicitors can advise you on the estimated length of time it will take to get your sponsor licence with and without the use of the pre-licence priority service. That way you can make an informed decision on whether the pre-licence priority service fees are a justifiable extra overhead.

If you are concerned about delays in your sponsor licence application being processed by Home Office officials our Sponsorship Licence lawyers recommend that you take expert sponsor licence advice on what steps you need to take to meet the sponsor licence reporting and recording duties and the documents you need to lodge in support of your application. Often the complexity of the paperwork or lack of evidence on your operational procedures can lead to a sponsor licence refusal when these could have been addressed in advance with the right specialist support.

The old pre-licence priority service process

Under the old process, a sponsor licence applicant wanting to use the pre-licence priority service had to apply online for their sponsor licence and then make a second application by email to request use of the pre-licence priority service. There were two separate fees payable; the sponsor licence application and the pre-licence priority service fee.

The old process was frustrating to Sponsorship Licence lawyers, key personnel and all involved with negotiating with the Home Office. It was cumbersome, involving too much paperwork and not streamlined. It did not give sponsor licence applicants much faith in future working with the Home Office. That’s because the pre-licence priority service could not be requested at the same time as the substantive application and often a number of pre-licence priority service applications were necessary because applicants able to use the priority service on a daily basis were (and are) very limited.

The new pre-licence priority service

Since the 21 June the process for applying for pre-licence priority service is streamlined as the priority application is made within the substantive online sponsor licence application. As well as only needing to complete one application your business also only has to pay one fee as the application and priority fee can be amalgamated.

Another improvement is that a business will now also be able to apply for pre-licence priority service after their sponsor licence application has been submitted.

What is the pre-licence priority service fee?

The pre-licence priority service fee is an additional £500 Home Office fee on top of the sponsor licence fee. The fees for the sponsor licence depend on whether your business is classed as a small company  or a charity or if it needs to pay a higher fee as it is classed as a medium or large company.

Without paying a pre-licence priority service fee a business can expect to wait around eight weeks for a decision on their sponsor licence application. However, Sponsorship Licence lawyers have known the Home Office process applications within a couple of weeks but there are no guarantees of a quick turnaround unless you pay the pre-licence priority service fee.

Time for a pre-licence priority service decision

The Home Office says that if you pay for a pre-licence priority service you will get a decision on your sponsor licence application within ten days. If you do not then you can expect to wait at least eight weeks.

Can all sponsor licence applicants use the pre-licence priority service?

The priority service remains limited in scope as the Home Office caps pre-licence priority service applicants to thirty a day.

If you apply online for the sponsor licence and you do not get the option to pay for the pre-licence priority service it is probably because the maximum number of applicants have already used the service. You can make a repeat application the following day by accessing your sponsor licence application again, requesting the service, and paying the fee. You cannot use the pre-licence priority service if you apply outside the operating hours or if your application is already allocated to a Home Office caseworker who is processing the application.

Sponsor licence applications and sponsor licence management

At OTS Solicitors our Sponsorship Licence lawyers support a large number of UK businesses with all their sponsor licence application and sponsor licence management needs. We aim to make the application process and the management of your sponsor licence as stress free as possible.

Related Posts

OTS Solicitors Celebrate the 2023 Legal 500 London Immigration Rankings

Business Immigration Solicitor Hans Sok Appadu Nominated for Rising Star Award 2022

Teni Shahiean, CEO of OTS Solicitors Features in Top 25 UGlobal Immigration Magazine Award Winners for 2021 in the Immigration Attorney Category

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.