What you need to know to obtain a Sponsor Licence

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Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system are the primary immigration routes for non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants who wish to work in the UK. These migrants must be sponsored by an organisation or company that holds a Tier 2 and/or Tier 5 licence.

A Sponsor Licence is a permission given to an organisation to sponsor overseas workers in its business. The organisation or business is known as a sponsor.

When a sponsor is granted a Tier 2 or Tier 5 licence, significant trust is placed in them. With this trust comes direct responsibilities to act in accordance with the Immigration Rules.

All sponsors must discharge these responsibilities. Compliance action will be taken when it is considered that a sponsor has failed to meet its obligations, or otherwise poses a risk to immigration control.

If you need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work for you in the UK, then you must be ready to take on all the responsibilities that come with holding a sponsor licence.

Not being able to meet these responsibilities or to satisfactorily demonstrate you meet them will have a negative impact on your ability to obtain a sponsor licence or a suspension of your licence if you already have one.

Therefore, it is absolutely necessary you get it right the first time by having appropriate systems and processes in place to allow you meet your sponsor responsibilities.

What you must put in place:

1. Sponsorship Management roles

You need to appoint people to manage your licence. These are referred to as the Sponsorship Management Roles. You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence, these roles are:

  • Authorising Officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
  • Key Contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
  • Level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS.

These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

You can also appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 user, for example they cannot withdraw a certificate of sponsorship.

2. A system (Electronic, online or other systems) that demonstrates you can fulfil your duties as a sponsor.  What are the duties?

The Duties

The main duties are set out across ten pages of the current sponsor guidance (version10/19). These are duties that you must comply with which are broadly in 2 categories- Reporting and Recording duties.

Reporting Duties:  You must notify UKVI within 10 working days if:

  • the sponsored worker does no turn up on their first day of work.
  • the sponsored worker is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive days without permission.
  • the employment is terminated.
  • you stop sponsoring the worker (for example, the worker obtains ILR)
  • the work location of the sponsored worker changes
  • there are changes to the sponsored worker’s salary (other than annual increments / bonuses)
  • the sponsored worker is promoted
  • the sponsored worker’s duties change
  • the sponsored worker’s job title changes
  • the sponsored worker goes on maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • the size of the sponsor’s business change or they change business address or telephone number
  • there is a change in those who are in charge of the licence.

Recording Duties: You must keep the following records of documents, and make them available to the UKVI sponsor team on request:

  • a photocopy or electronic copy of the relevant page, or pages, of each sponsored migrant’s passport or travel document and biometric residence permit (if issued) that show their entitlement to work including their period of leave to remain in the UK
  • each sponsored migrant’s contact details – up to date UK residential address, telephone number and mobile telephone number.
  • Evidence of your Resident Labour Market Test (If applicable)- recruitment and selection
  • Sponsor application documents
  • Copies of the migrant’s payslips, clearly showing the name, NI number, tax code, any allowances paid, and deductions made.
  • A copy of any contract of employment or for services, or a written statement of employment particulars

When does your sponsor duties start and finish?

Your responsibilities as a sponsor start on the day you are grant your licence and end if:

  • you surrender your licence
  • UKVI revokes your licence

Your responsibility for each migrant starts on the day you assign a CoS to them. 

Your responsibility for each migrant end:

  • when you tell the UKVI that you are no longer sponsoring them for any reason
  • when they leave the UK and their entry clearance or leave to remain lapses
  • when they are granted further leave to remain with a different sponsor, or in another immigration category, which means that you do not need to sponsor them under Tier 2 or Tier 5 anymore

To discuss your application for a sponsor licence or how you can retain your licence by demonstrating you are complying with your duties, contact the experienced team at MichelleBelle Immigration Solutions.

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