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Which Home Office Sponsor Licence does my Business Need?

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You would think that the decision to apply for a sponsor licence would be simple, once your business has worked out it needs to recruit workers from overseas who are subject to UK immigration control.

Immigration solicitors say that a business has to ask itself, or get immigration law legal advice on, the type of sponsor licence it needs. After all, your business doesn’t want to spend time and money getting a sponsor licence that won't enable your company to recruit the overseas workers it needs.

At OTS Solicitors our Sponsorship Licence lawyers will talk to you about your recruitment plans and check that the sponsor licence you are planning to apply for is the ‘best fit’ for your business.

UK Online and London Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on sponsor licences and overseas recruitment call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Sponsor licence options

A sponsor licence is a waste of money unless you get one that meets the needs of your business.  The type of sponsor licence that suits one London restaurant or a niche technology firm won't necessarily suit another firm. That’s why its best to get proactive Sponsorship Licence legal advice before you start the sponsor licence application process.

A good Sponsorship Licence lawyer will not only talk to you about your sponsor licence application options but also discuss non-sponsored work options, such as the graduate visa or recruiting international students on student visas to work part time for your business in accordance with the conditions on their student visa. At the other end of the recruitment field, a specialist digital or tech expert or other professional may qualify for the global talent visa if they show exceptional promise or have global talent.

When it comes to sponsor licence options there are two types of sponsor licence:

  • Worker
  • Temporary

What’s confusing for HR directors and employers is that your company may need a sponsor licence to hire temporary workers even though, in your opinion, temporary visas are really just for seasonal farm workers and fruit pickers. That’s why it is preferable to front end your immigration legal advice so you make the right sponsor licence application to meet your recruitment needs.

What does a sponsor licence do?

A sponsor licence gives your company permission to hire someone who is not a British citizen or settled worker and who is subject to immigration controls that don’t allow them to work in the UK unless they get a job with a sponsoring employer.

A sponsor licence is therefore akin to a licence to operate a taxi or serve food and alcohol in licensed restaurant premises. Without the right to sponsor an employee who needs a sponsoring employer, your company will be committing an offence under legislation designed to prevent UK employers employing those who don’t have a right to work in the UK. That offence will not only impact on your ability to get a sponsor licence in future but could also create financial and reputational damage.

The worker sponsor licence

If you secure a worker sponsor licence, then the sponsor licence may allow you to sponsor UK work visa applicants who are applying to come to the UK on:

  • A skilled worker visa or
  • A senior or specialist worker visa ( this used to be called the intra company transfer visa)

The sponsor licence your business will require depends on the type of worker your business needs to recruit.

The senior or specialist worker visa sponsor licence is only necessary if your worker is applying for a global business mobility visa under the senior or specialist worker route as your business has an overseas branch and wants to transfer the employee from overseas to the UK branch of the company. For the skilled worker sponsor licence, the recruit is new to your business and your company doesn’t need to have an overseas base to recruit a skilled worker visa applicant.

The temporary worker sponsor licence

With the recent change in immigration rules there are now ten types of worker who can be sponsored under a temporary visa and through a temporary worker sponsor licence. They are:

  1. Charity worker – for volunteers or unpaid workers working for a charity. The visa is for up to one year.
  2. Creative worker – for those in the creative industries who want to work in that field in the UK for up to one year. There is the opportunity to apply to extend this visa.
  3. Government Authorised Exchange for workers who want to come to the UK for one or two years (depending on the scheme) to carry out approved research or go on a training scheme.
  4. Graduate trainee – this is the replacement for the graduate intra company transfer visa and enables graduate trainees to transfer some of their training programme from an overseas branch of the company to the UK company.
  5. International Agreement for workers coming to the UK to carry out a service covered by international law. The visa lasts for a maximum of two years.
  6. Religious worker – a worker meets the eligibility criteria for a visa of up to two years duration if they are working in a religious order in the UK or they are undertaking non-pastoral work for a religious organisation in the UK.
  7. Seasonal worker – this is the most well-known temporary visa. It lasts for up to six months and those working in edible horticulture can apply.
  8. Secondment worker route where the worker is seconded to the UK for the purposes of a contract or investment by their overseas based employer.
  9. Service supplier route for workers who are providing a service under a contract to a UK business. This route replaces the old International Agreement visa.
  10. UK expansion worker – this route replaces the sole representative visa and so is for overseas based employees being transferred to the UK to set up a UK branch or subsidiary of the overseas based parent company.

Applying for a sponsor licence

Once you have assessed the nature of your overseas recruitment needs and worked out whether the job roles you are likely to have available will meet the eligibility criteria for the various work visa options, you can then apply to the Home Office for your sponsor licence.

It’s worth taking expert business immigration legal advice before the application as you may find that your vacancies either won't meet the skills or minimum salary threshold for the skilled worker visa or that your proposed senior overseas based employee doesn’t meet the new eligibility criteria for the UK expansion worker route under the global business mobility visa.

Once you know the type of sponsor licence you need your Sponsorship Licence lawyers can run through the sponsor licence application process with you and make sure that your business has all the right systems in operation before you submit your application. That way there is less risk that your sponsor licence application will be refused by the Home Office or that you will struggle to meet the ongoing sponsor licence reporting and recording duties because you have invested the time pre-application in getting your systems in order.

Sponsor licence help

Sponsorship Licence lawyers can give you as little or as much help as your business needs with the preparation of your application and the ongoing overseas recruitment and visa application process and the management of your sponsor licence as immigration solicitors can either offer either ad hoc legal advice and training or a full application and sponsor licence management service.

UK Online and London Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on applying for a sponsor licence and for information on sponsor licence management services call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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