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Has Your Application for a Sponsor Licence Been Refused?

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If your application for a sponsor licence has been refused by the Home Office you are likely to be fed up and uncertain of your next steps. Maybe you applied for a sponsor licence without using an immigration solicitor or you are regretting not employing specialist Sponsorship Licence lawyers.

In this article, our expert immigration solicitors look at what you can do if your sponsor licence application has been rejected or refused.

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

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

Appealing the refusal of a sponsor licence application

If your business has had its application for a sponsor licence rejected or refused your first thought may be to launch an appeal against the Home Office decision. Alternatively, you may think that you will throw in the towel and not bother applying for a sponsor licence.

If you have had your sponsor licence application rejected or refused you need specialist legal advice from Sponsorship Licence lawyers. They will tell you that although your business does not have a right to appeal the Home Office decision there are options to explore.

The lack of a right to appeal the Home Office's decision to refuse or reject your licence application should not deter your business from acting. You need to consider the short and long-term consequences of not being able to sponsor workers from overseas on work visas such as the skilled worker visa, health and care worker visa or global business mobility visa. For example, your business may not be able to meet its contractual obligations as it does not have the workforce to meet demand, need to increase its training and recruitment budgets and reduce its projected turnover or modify expansion plans.

Why has your sponsor licence application been rejected?

For our specialist Sponsorship Licence lawyers to help your business we need to understand why your application was rejected or refused so we can consider the best way forward to secure a licence.

If your application has been rejected it is usually because you have paid an incorrect application fee. There are two fees – the amount your business pays depends on whether you are classed as a small company or a charity or if you fall into the definition of a medium-sized or large company. The Home Office officials use company law definitions to decide what category your business falls into and hence what fee you should pay when applying for the licence.

If your application is rejected because you paid the wrong fee the Home Office will usually refund the application fee. Before you resubmit the application with the correct fee it is best to recheck the application if you have not taken immigration law advice or not used a specialist solicitor.

Reasons for the refusal of a sponsor licence application

If your application was refused by the Home Office rather than rejected then Sponsorship Licence lawyers need to look carefully at the reasons for refusal and check to see if the Home Office imposed a cooling off period preventing your business from making another sponsor licence application until 6 or 12 months have elapsed from the date of refusal.

Reasons for sponsorship licence refusal include:

  • Not sending the correct supporting documents - this is easily done if you do not handle sponsor licence applications daily. The immigration rules on what paperwork is required depend on the size of the organisation, the business sector and the type of sponsor licence your business is applying for. The detailed rules are contained in Appendix A to the sponsor licence guidance
  • Not sending extra documents when requested to do so by the Home Office – a Home Office official can ask for additional paperwork and if you do not comply with their request within the specified period your application could be refused. Again, this type of error is easily made if a business owner or HR executive is juggling their usual work responsibilities whilst trying to sort out the sponsor licence application themselves
  • Not showing that you are a genuine trading company with genuine current or future job vacancies- if your application is rejected for this reason you need to look at the reasons for this refusal. Was it because you are such a fresh start-up that you do not have all the paperwork and evidence you needed or was it because you said you wanted to sponsor skilled workers in the construction industry but your business does not appear to relate to that sector? There may be completely reasonable reasons why you did not fully show that your business is an active trading company or that you would have genuine vacancies for sponsored workers. Often the issue is that businesses are honest and assume that the Home Office will take their application at face value whilst sponsor licence guidance requires Home Office officials to consider the evidence
  • Unsuitable key personnel – when you apply for a sponsor licence you need to submit the names of some key personnel. Many business owners do not appreciate the importance of selecting the right key personnel as choosing the wrong people can result in the refusal of your application. As part of their pre-licence audit checks, Sponsorship Licence lawyers will look at your proposed key personnel and advise if you need to put new names forward. It is best to get the right key personnel sorted out before your application is submitted to avoid a refusal and the costs and delay in having to make a further application
  • Previous records or issues spotted by a Home Office caseworker at a pre-licence audit – in some cases the Home Office will conduct a pre-licence audit. If the Home Office caseworker does not think that your business has the systems in place to comply with sponsor licence reporting and recording duties, they will recommend the refusal of the sponsor licence. You can try to avoid this happening by getting Sponsorship Licence lawyers to conduct a pre-licence audit before any compliance visit and by indicating that you will be using a sponsor licence management service to manage your licence for you

Options if your sponsor licence application is rejected or refused

Although there is no right to appeal a refusal of a sponsor licence you do have options, including:

  • Making a fresh application for a sponsor licence – you can do this straight away if your application is rejected. You may be able to do it straight away if your application is refused and the Home Office do not impose a cooling-off period. If a cooling-off period is placed on you then you will need to wait until the end of that period unless you choose to challenge the cooling-off period or its length
  • Asking the Home Office to reconsider – you can only ask the Home Office to do this if they made an error. For example, the application was rejected as a Home Office official says an essential document was not supplied but you have evidence that it was but it was missed by the caseworker. There is a time limit to asking the Home Office to reconsider a refusal
  • Tell the Home Office you will apply to judicially review their decision – a judicial review is only a feasible option if the sponsor licence application refusal was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper. There is a time limit to apply to judicially review a Home Office decision

Whatever the reasons for your sponsor licence rejection or refusal our Sponsorship Licence lawyers can look at your options and advise on your best course of action.

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

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

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