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Sponsorship Licence Applications

Apply for a sponsorship licence (formerly Tier 2 sponsorship licence)

At OTS Solicitors, we know how important it is to be able to bring the right people to the UK to support your business or organisation. Our expert immigration solicitors can help you with a UK sponsorship licence application, as well as advising on licence management and compliance.

To talk to one of our award-winning immigration solicitors about applying for a sponsor licence, please contact us on 0203 959 9123 to make an appointment.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, you will now need a sponsorship licence to hire employees from the EU and EEA, as well as the rest of the world. This was formerly known as a ‘Tier 2 sponsorship licence’.

Securing a sponsorship licence is often a complicated process as you will need to provide specified documentary evidence to demonstrate that your company is genuinely trading and that you have a genuine vacancy which cannot be filled by a settled worker in the UK.

UK sponsorship of visas for overseas workers is strictly monitored by UK Visas and Immigration. In order to successfully apply for a sponsor licence, you will also need to demonstrate that you have adequate HR methods in place to monitor and track migrant activity.

Our sponsorship licence solicitors can assist with:

  • Sponsor licence applications
  • Sponsorship licence refusals and rejections
  • Sponsor licence management
  • Sponsor licence compliance

We have extensive experience advising a wide range of employers on sponsorship licence applications. Our typical clients include businesses in the restaurant and hospitality sector, IT software companies and the nursing industry.

With up-to-the minute knowledge of UK sponsor licence rules, we can significantly increase your chances of a successful application.

Speak to our sponsorship licence lawyers in London now

To discuss sponsorship licencing with our expert immigration lawyers, you can talk with us at our offices, over the phone or online via Web Conferencing such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx or Skype.

To speak to our sponsorship licence lawyers in London, please call now on 0203 959 9123 or use our simple online enquiries form.

UK sponsorship licence applications explained

What is a sponsor licence?

A sponsorship licence (also sometimes called a ‘sponsor licence') allows an employer to issue certificates of sponsorship to prospective employees from outside of the UK. This is a requirement for those employees to be able to work legally in the UK for that employer.

What is the Tier 2 sponsorship licence process?

The Tier 2 sponsorship licence scheme was set up to allow employers to employ and retain non-EEA migrants to work for their company or organisation. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, this requirement now applies to all foreign workers and the name has changed to simply ‘sponsorship licence’.

You will need to apply for a sponsorship licence, which involves showing that you can meet a stringent set of requirements. You will then have ongoing sponsorship licence management and compliance responsibilities that must be met in order to retain your licence.

Once you have a sponsorship licence in place, you can issue certificates of sponsorship to eligible overseas workers, allowing them to legally work for you in the UK.

How to apply for a sponsorship licence

To secure a sponsorship licence, there are several stages you need to go through. It is important that you complete all of these stages fully, providing all necessary evidence. We strongly recommend speaking to our expert immigration lawyers before making an application.

The steps to secure a UK sponsorship licence are:

  • The employer will need to complete the on-line application via the government web portal.
  • Gather relevant supporting documents as outlined in Appendix A of the published home office guidance and submit these within five working days of the submission of the initial application to the home office.
  • Provide a detailed explanation as to why you require a sponsorship licence
  • Ensure that you have existing HR systems in place to demonstrate that you understand and are able to comply with your obligations as a licenced sponsor.
  • Ensure that you are well prepared for a pre-licence compliance visit; a home office official may turn up to inspect your office premises and also speak to you further about your sponsorship licence application.

When do I need to apply for a sponsorship licence?

It depends on your individual circumstances. Usually, employers apply a few months before they are looking to hire the necessary staff.

How long does it successfully take to obtain a sponsorship licence?

We advise clients that it will usually take 2-3 months for a sponsorship licence to be considered and approved. The time taken to consider applications is determined by the structure and size of the organisation as well as other administrative factors.

Eligibility requirements for a sponsor licence

The home office will take the following factors into consideration when assessing the merits of your application:

  • You must prove that you are a genuine organisation for example: you are a corporation, limited-liability partnership, a sole trader or a limited company.
  • You must be operating legally in the UK, for e.g. you must have the relevant accreditation, paying the relevant taxes and have the relevant insurance in place.
  • You must demonstrate that the key personnel named on the sponsorship licence are honest, dependable and reliable for e.g., by not having a history of immigration violations.
  • You must demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of the sponsorship licence to adhere to the obligations imposed by the home office.
  • You must be able to nominate a member of staff to fulfil the following roles:
    • Authorising Officer;
    • Key Contact; and
    • Level 1 User.
    • You must have robust HR systems in place to ensure that you are able to monitor and track your migrant worker activity.
    • You must ensure that you are seeking to fill a genuine vacancy at the appropriate level and that the worker is paid in line with the appropriate salary requirements.

What can I do if my sponsorship licence was refused?

When you apply for a sponsor licence, you may find that you don’t meet the criteria, and that your application is consequently rejected. If your sponsorship licence was refused, unfortunately there is no automatic right to appeal this decision. However, if you believe that the refusal may have been caused by a caseworker mistake, you can ask for this error to be corrected.

If your sponsorship licence has been refused, please contact OTS Solicitors for support. We will be able to assess the specifics of your case and educate you on the next options available.

Is it difficult to get a sponsorship licence in the UK?

Getting a sponsor licence can be a complicated process, and application errors can lead to rejections. For instance, many applicants are rejected because they have not supplied the right documentation, or have not offered an acceptable response to Home Office queries.

Though the process can be complex, working with a specialist solicitor is the best way to ensure that your sponsor licence application is correctly completed, and that issues are resolved early on.

What are the visa sponsorship salary requirements?

Once the employer has selected the relevant SOC code they can provide a certificate of sponsorship to the worker. The certificate must state that the person will be paid the appropriate salary for that role or above it. The actual salary depends on the average pay for that job.

What is a pre-licence visit for a sponsorship licence?

In some cases, the Home Office may be unsure about whether or not to grant a sponsorship licence. If they cannot make a decision based on the supporting documents and information given, they may arrange a pre-licence assessment visit.

At a pre-licence assessment visit, officers may check that the applicant has the correct HR systems needed to fulfil sponsorship duties. They may wish to check that the nature and size of the company is suitable for how many migrants they are looking to sponsor.

It’s also commonplace to check whether the company can authentically provide sponsored employment at the stated skill and pay level.

Can your sponsor licence be revoked?

Yes, it is possible to have your sponsorship licence revoked, for example, if the Home Office is not satisfied that you have adhered to your sponsorship duties.

If this is the case, the Home Office may not always revoke the licence, but may pursue less severe action, depending on the circumstances. For example, they might choose to downgrade the licence to a B-Rating from a former A-Rating.

If your licence has been revoked, downgraded, or suspended, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your options.

Do you need a single licence or multiple sponsorship licences?

If your company has several branch offices in the UK, you may opt to apply for a licence as a single entity covering all associated branches under one umbrella or apply for a separate licence for each location.

How long is the sponsorship licence valid?

A sponsorship licence, once issued, is valid for four years providing you continue to fulfil your duties as a sponsor.

Meeting with the Subjective Test under sponsorship licence

This is an additional requirement prospective sponsorship licence employers will need to meet. As an employer you will need to demonstrate that the vacancy you are seeking genuinely exists and that this has not been created to allow someone the opportunity to regularise their Immigration status unfairly.

What is the resident labour market test?

On some occasions the sponsor will need to demonstrate that they have attempted to source the position from within the UK in the manner set out in the home office published guidance.

In such instances, the employer will need to advertise the position on UK government’s Jobcentre Plus Universal Job match website and one other relevant portal for a minimum of 28 days.

The sponsor will need to establish that there are no suitable settled workers already living in the UK who can fill the position before they can offer the position to the non-settled UK worker.

What is the immigration skills charge?

As a sponsorship licence holder you may be liable to pay an immigration skills charge if your applying to sponsor an overseas worker for six months or more under the Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility). This has replaced the Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2(Intra-company Transfer) route.

The charge is set at £1,000 per employee per year, and a reduced rate of £364 for small or charitable organisations.

You are exempt from this charge if you are seeking to sponsor:

  • A student switching to a Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • An overseas migrant at a PhD-level job
  • A migrant on a Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)

How can OTS Solicitors assist with UK sponsor licence applications?

We are an award-winning niche immigration law firm comprising of highly regarded immigration solicitors. Our experts provide a solution based approach to meet with client needs and expectations.

Our sponsorship licence lawyers can assist with matters including:

  • Advise on the most suitable structure of licence to apply for i.e. single or multiple
  • Advise on whether it is necessary to meet with the Resident Market Test
  • Advise on whether your existing HR systems are adequate for you to meet you’re your obligations as a sponsorship licenced employer
  • Assisting with the drafting the sponsorship licence application online
  • Assisting with the collation of supporting documentation to support the sponsorship licence application
  • Provide sponsorship licence training to authorising officer, key contact and level 1 users
  • Advise on how to apply and assign an unrestricted or restricted certificate of sponsorship
  • Advising on the genuine vacancy requirement in accordance with the published policy guidance

For a more detailed discussion regarding your case, or to book an appointment with a member of our Work Permit Visa and Sponsorship Licence team, please call us now on 0203 959 9123.

Your Questions and our answers about Sponsorship Licence Applications

Thank you for your enquiry.

There are various ways in which you can apply for a sponsorship licence as a small business. The first factor you would need to consider is whether you will be applying for a defined or undefined Certificate of Sponsorship. The guidance is extensive and we suggest you book an initial consultation for us to advise you on the specific requirements. For more information, please call 02039599123 or click here 

Thank you for your enquiry.

There may be several options in relation to priority. Usually, defined COS will be within 1 working day however undefined COS can take longer. Please call 02039599123 or click here 

Thank you for your enquiry. The Home Office application fee will vary due to the size and nature of the business and which category the employer falls under. We assist numerous companies and organisations with sponsorship licence applications and can provide tailored quotes for businesses. Please call us on 02039 599123 or contact us here.

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Please contact us directly on 02039599123 to discuss this further or contact us here.

Thank you for your email. As you situation is unique, we would recommend that you contact our office directly on 02039 599123 or info@otssolicitors.co.uk to discuss your matter in detail and for us to advise you on the best way forward.

Thank you for getting in touch with us.
Your enquiry is being reviewed by our team and one of our solicitors will contact you shortly.
In the meantime, you can also call us or contact us here

Thank you for your enquiry. We would recommend that you contact us directly on 02039 599123 in order for us to advise you on your particular circumstances.

Thanks for the enquiry. please contact our office to book an initial appointment on 02039599123 to discuss the options you may have.

You are allowed to switch from Tier 4 Dependent to a Tier 2 inside the UK. You need to be sponsored by a company which has a Sponsorship Licence and please do note that the job should be skilled job under Appendix J of the Immigration rules. For more information please call us on 02039 599123.

Thank you for your enquiry with us. Your matter appears to be complex and we will require further information from you. We can certainly arrange a consultation for you to discuss you matter further. Please call 02039 599123

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Your enquiry is being reviewed by our team and one of our solicitors will contact you shortly.

In the meantime, you can also call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Your enquiry is being reviewed by our team and one of our solicitors will contact you shortly.

In the meantime, you can also call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

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