UK employers across multiple industries are struggling to fill labour shortages. Recent data has shown that 82% of organisations are reporting recrutiment difficulties, especaily the hospitality sector, followed by the manufacturing, construction, professional services, education and health sectors.
So, what is a solution to filling these endless job vacancies? Well, one way is for UK employers to employ foreign workers to fill these labour shortages.
To recruit foreign workers, UK employers must need a Sponsor Licence.
But how long does a Sponsor Licence Application take? We will answer this question in this article, which we hope you will find useful.
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What is a Sponsor Licence and how do you apply for one?
A Sponsor Licence allows UK businesses to hire workers who are based outside of the UK.
By law, it is mandatory for UK businesses to have a Sponsor Licence before they can hire foreign workers.
Any form of UK-based work is considered under this licence, including unpaid activities that are due to be carried out by anyone from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The UK business can choose to sponsor foreign workers on a short-term basis, or on a permanent basis.
If granted, the Sponsor Licence will be valid for 4 years, unless it is revoked or if the UK employer surrenders it before then.
There are different types of sponsorship licences, including:
- Skilled Worker
- Minister of Religion or Religious Worker
- International Sportsperson
- Creative Worker
- Charity Worker
- Scale-Up Worker
- International Agreement
- Government Authorised Exchange
- Secondment Worker
- Service Supplier (up to 1 year)
- UK Expansion Worker
- Seasonal Worker
- Graduate Trainee ((Global Business Mobility)
However, just because a UK employer sponsors a non-British individual, this does not mean the individual is guaranteed a visa to work in the UK.
How long does a Sponsor Licence Application take?
To apply for a Sponsor Licence, a UK employer would have to follow these steps:
- Check if your business is eligible.
- Check if the foreign worker’s job is suitable for sponsorship.
- Choose the type of licence that you want to apply for. This will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor.
- Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.
- Apply online and pay the fee.
So, how long does a Sponsor Licence application take?
It will usually take up to 8 weeks to hear back with a decision, or longer if there are delays with processing applications.
If you are working under more of a time crunch, you may be able to pay an additional £500 to receive a faster decision. This is recommended if your business is in extreme need of support or if you already have a potential employee lined up. Whilst this will mean that your decision is made quicker, it does not speed up potential employees’ actual visa process, which is currently taking as long as three months due to Home Office delays.
How much does a Sponsor Licence application cost?
You will be told what the fees are when you apply for a Sponsor Licence. The fee depends on the type of Sponsor Licence you are applying for and what type of organisation you are.
Read this chart below to find out the current fees to apply for a Sponsor Licence:
Type of Sponsor Licence
Fee for small or charitable sponsors
Fee for medium or large sponsors
Worker and Temporary Worker
Add a Worker Licence to an existing Temporary Worker Licence
Add a Temporary Worker Licence to an existing Worker licence
What are the requirements of a Sponsor Licence?
A UK employer and their staff will be checked, to make sure they are suitable to have a Sponsor Licence. For instance, nobody from the UK business should:
- Spend most of their time outside of the UK.
- Be subject to a bankruptcy restriction.
- Have a history of non-compliance with Sponsorship requirements.
- Have broken the law.
- Have been reported to UKVI.
- Have failed to pay VAT or other excise duty.
- Be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project.
- Have unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering.
- Had a Sponsor Licence revoked in the last 12 months.
What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?
A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic record (not a physical document) which a UK employer must assign to every foreign worker they employ. The certificate contains a unique reference number, which the foreign worker can use to apply for a work visa and join the UK business.
As a licenced sponsor, you are legally required to keep an electronic record of each of your employees via the form of a CoS. You will need to hold a defined certificate for workers you bring into the UK from overseas. This represents that the contract and needs are pre-determined via a formal job contract. If a worker is looking to switch their visa type and work in the UK, you will need to hold an undefined certificate on record.
These certificates form part of the visa application process for new employees, so it is essential that a CoS is always produced and logged correctly. If a copy is requested and you do not have one to provide, you risk your licence being downgraded and even revoked.
What is a Sponsor Licence rating?
As an employer, your Sponsor Licence will be rated either ‘A’ or ‘B’.
If your application for a Sponsor Licence is approved, you will receive an ‘A’ rating. Your business will be listed in the register of sponsors, and you can start assigning Certificates of Sponsorship.
At a later stage, if you do not meet the responsibilities required of you as a sponsor, your Licence may be downgraded to a ‘B’ rating. You won’t be able to issue new Certificates of Sponsorships until you have made improvements and upgraded back to an ‘A’ rating.
To upgrade back to an ‘A’ rating, you will have to complete an ‘action plan’ provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), which costs £1,476. This fee must be paid within 10 working days, otherwise you will lose your Sponsor Licence.
Where can I get help on my Sponsor Licence Application?
Are you an employer who is looking to recruit foreign workers?
Do you need help with obtaining a Sponsor Licence, or perhaps you need better understanding of what the Skilled Worker Visa and Global Business Mobility routes are?
Well, our team at Synergy Immigration Solutions can help you.
The immigration professionals at Synergy Immigration Solutions understand the complexity of the UK’s ever-evolving immigration laws and the issues that can arise during the application process.
That is why we house all the support services you need for immigration applications, under one roof. This means one cost only, for complete support on your visa application.
We enjoy working with individuals who need assistance with their visa applications. We have years of experiences of helping individuals successfully submit applications across all visa categories.
We will liaise with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on your behalf- saving you the time, effort, workload, and stress.
We will offer clear advice, answer your questions and address any of your concerns. We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our guidance to suit your needs and ensure that your application has the best chance of success.
We process all applications in an efficient and timely manner and keep our clients well-informed throughout the process.
It is vital that the correct supporting documents are in place, to ensure the application is approved.
We would always recommend that you appoint a specialist such as Synergy Immigration Solutions to manage this process for you.
About Synergy Immigration Solutions
We are a UK immigration agency, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). We are proud members of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.
We hope this article has provided the answer to the question ‘How long does a Sponsor Licence application take?’