If you are an employer with a business in the UK, have you ever thought of recruiting foreign workers to work at your company?
Hiring workers from outside of the UK means that:
- you will fill any labour shortages that are holding back economic growth in your business.
- workers can bring specialist skills and talents to your business, for example, language skills, technical qualifications, and knowledge of overseas markets.
- you can make your company workforce more diverse.
To hire non-British workers, you will need a valid Sponsor Licence. But is it easy to get sponsorship in UK?
In this article, we will outline everything you need to know about Sponsor Licences, so keep reading to find out more.
What is a Sponsor Licence in the UK?
A Sponsor Licence allows UK businesses to hire workers who are based outside of the UK.
By law, UK businesses must 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.
As a licenced sponsor, a UK employer can assign a ‘Certificate of Sponsorships’ to foreign workers that they have hired to work at their company. This is not a physical document, but an electronic record for each worker you have hired from overseas.
The certificate contains a unique reference number, which the foreign worker needs when they apply for a work visa to join the UK business.
The UK business can choose to sponsor foreign workers on a short-term basis, or permanently.
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 do you apply for a Sponsor Licence?
Here are the steps which you have to take if you want to apply for a Sponsor Licence:
- 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.
It will usually take around 2 months to hear back with a decision. You may be able to pay to get a faster decision on your application.
What are the requirements for a Sponsor Licence?
There are requirements which you must meet if you want 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 offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering.
- Had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.
Click here to view the full eligibility criteria for a Sponsor Licence.
Is it easy to get sponsorship in UK?
So, is it easy to get sponsorship in UK?
No, it is not easy for a UK business to successfully obtain a Sponsor Licence, and retain one, too.
If your application for a Sponsor Licence is successful, you will be given a Licence Rating. An A-rated licence lets you start assigning Certificates of Sponsorship to foreign workers whom you want to hire.
If you do not meet the requirements incumbent upon you as a Sponsor, your licence will be downgraded to a B-rating. Here, you won’t be able to issue new Certificates of Sponsorship, until you have made improvements and upgraded back to an A-rating. You will be asked to follow an ‘action plan’ provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to upgrade your licence– this costs £1,476.
Can a Sponsor Licence be taken away from an employer in the UK?
The Home Office can take away your Sponsor Licence, which would mean that any foreign workers you have sponsored will have their visas curtailed for 60 days. Foreign workers will have to leave the UK or make a new visa application, but they will need to have legal permission to stay in the UK.
Your Sponsor Licence can be revoked if the Home Office has reasons to believe that you have made a serious breach of the conditions of your Sponsor Licence. For example, if you have supplied false information, broken any laws, or been convicted of a criminal offence.
In addition to having your Sponsor Licence revoked, you may also incur fines and penalties for your actions.
You may not be able to apply for a new Sponsor Licence until at least 12 months have passed.
How much does a Sponsorship Licence application cost?
The Sponsor Licence will have fees throughout the process, these fees are less for smaller businesses than for medium and larger ones.
Small businesses only pay £536 for a Sponsor Licence.
Medium to large businesses, however, pay more than double this at £1476.
Charities also pay the lower fee of £536.
Click here to read the current fees to apply for a Sponsor Licence.
Where can I get help with my Sponsor Licence application?
Our elite immigration agency (Synergy Immigration Solutions) has extensive experience in dealing with employer and employee applications concerning Sponsor Licencing.
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 will liaise with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on your behalf- saving you time, effort, workload, and stress.
- We will answer your questions and address any concerns. We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our advice 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 documentation is 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.
Click here to contact Synergy Immigration Solutions and submit your query.
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 315 05359. We will get back to you within 24 hours and we are more than happy to help.
Read more content about Sponsor Licences
To learn more about Sponsor Licences, click here to read our blog articles and helpful pages on:
- UK Skills Gap is Crippling the Economy: Here Are The Best Ways for Employers To Recruit Foreign Workers
- How Do You Get a Sponsor Licence?
- How Much Does It Cost a Company to Sponsor a Visa UK?
- Everything You Need to Know About the Sponsor Licence Application
- Who Qualifies for Sponsorship Licence?
- How Long Does a Sponsor Licence Application Take?
- How Long Does it Take for a Company to Get a Sponsorship Licence?
- Sponsor Licence for the Hospitality Sector
- Sponsor Licence for the Care Sector
- What Documents Do You Need for Sponsorship?
- Skilled Worker Visa
- What Is a Skilled Worker Visa?
About Synergy Immigration Solutions
We are a London-based UK immigration agency, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). We are proud members of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.
To find out more about Synergy Immigration Solutions and our visa services, visit our website here.
To contact us, call us on 020 315 05359, email email@example.com or fill in our online contact form here.
Read articles on our blog here, to find the answers to frequently asked questions about topics such as the UK skills gap, Right To Work Checks, and Spouse Visas.
Click here to learn more about Skilled Worker Visas.
We hope this article has provided the answer to the question, ‘is it easy to get sponsorship in UK?’
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