Are you thinking of hiring expats in your company? If you are, do take note that you’ll be needing a sponsorship licence for that. A sponsorship licence is required in order for you to recruit and grant expats the appropriate visa to let them work in the UK legally.
But of course, like most legal procedures, obtaining a sponsorship licence is not an easy feat. Due to that, it’s not surprising that many organisations turn to immigration lawyers for assistance throughout the application process. And if you’re in dire need of advice, here is the best advice you can follow as a sponsor when hiring expats in the UK below.
Make Sure that Your Company Meets the Requirements Before Applying
Before anything else, you must ensure that your company is eligible for a sponsorship licence. The eligibility is as follows:
- Your company is not convicted for any immigration-related crimes and other illegal acts.
- Your sponsorship license was not revoked in the past twelve months.
- Your business must have an established presence in the UK and must be operating/trading lawfully in the said country.
If you meet the following criteria, you can go ahead and fill out an application. From there, you’ll also need to determine if your business is fit for sponsorship. The Home Office can determine this by checking if your organisation is able to offer a genuine job in a skilled occupation. Your company must also ensure to pay your workers the appropriate salary amount to your expat workers.
Compile All Necessary Documentation for Your Sponsorship Licence Application
You should compile all the necessary requirements ahead of time to make sure that your sponsorship licence application goes smoothly. After all, any missing document can cause delays during the application process.
The needed documentation will vary depending on your circumstances as an employer (if you’re a start-up business, SME, etc.). But generally, here are some of the requirements you need to submit, so make sure to prepare them before applying:
- Your organisation’s most up-to-date bank statement
- Your organisation’s liability insurance of at least £5 million from a certified insurer
- Your organisation’s up-to-date audited or unaudited accounts
- Your organisation’s certificate of VAT registration
- Proof of registration as an employer with HM Revenue and Customs
- Proof of registration to operate legally in the UK
Ensure that Your Organisation Meets All Responsibilities as a Sponsor
Your sponsorship licence will be valid for a total of four years if approved by the Home Office. Your organisation will also receive an A-rating, the highest rating given to trustworthy companies. However, you have to ensure that your organisation meets all responsibilities as a sponsor if you want to maintain that rating.
These responsibilities include the following:
- Keeping documentation indicating that your employees are qualified for their jobs
- Only assigning certificates of sponsorship to expat workers if the job opportunity is deemed fit for sponsorship
- Informing the UKVI if any of your employees are not abiding by the conditions of their visa
Do note that failing to fulfil these responsibilities can downgrade your rating to a B-rating. In worst-case scenarios, your licence can be fully withdrawn.
Don’t Forget to Assign Individuals to Manage Your Company’s Sponsorship Visas
In addition, part of meeting the sponsorship licence criteria and maintaining your sponsor licence’s A-rating is to assign individuals to manage your company’s sponsorship visas. So, before filling out the application, make sure that your business has the following key roles for managing your sponsorship visas below:
- An authorising officer: The person primarily in charge of overseeing your staff and representative’s actions.
- A key contact: The individual who will serve as the primary contact with the UK Visas and Immigration or the UKVI.
- A level one user: The individual in charge of managing the standard sponsor licence tasks.
Get Help from Professional Immigration Lawyers
As mentioned in the beginning, many companies tend to be confused with the steps involved in getting a sponsorship licence. With the amount of paperwork and steps involved, it’s normal to be confused with the whole application process.
That said, you can always get help from professional immigration lawyers for the UK immigration advice for any concerns regarding your sponsorship licence and visas. They will also guide you throughout the process and help quickly identify and resolve any possible issues arising during your application.
Furthermore, the Home Office gets stricter about compliance and the application process. But with assistance from experienced immigration lawyers, you can successfully obtain your sponsor licence and be fully aware of the compliance procedures to keep an excellent rating as a sponsor.
Filing for a sponsorship licence is quite a lengthy and tedious process. But by taking note of the advice listed above, you can ensure that your sponsorship licence application will proceed smoothly and turn out successful. And once you get a hold of your sponsor licence, you must do your part to keep your licence, especially if you wish to hire more expats for your growing business.