Why does my business need a sponsorship licence?
If your business has decided that securing a company sponsorship licence for overseas visa applications is the best way to fill vacancies, then you will need to understand the timeframes are for receiving an approved application. This is likely to be the case for many UK companies, with 76% of businesses saying they are struggling to fill vacancies.
The government understood the severity of the job market issue and launched the Shortage Occupation List. For many companies, securing a sponsorship licence is essential, given the competitiveness in all sectors. All vacancies can be advertised outside of the UK to improve the chance of bringing in essential talent. Job openings in the UK have now exceeded post-pandemic levels and show a trend of continuing to increase over the coming months.
As experts in UK business immigration, Synergy Immigration Solutions is fully equipped to advise you on how to proceed with all aspects of your licence journey, including application right through to staff management. Given the pressure many companies are currently subjected to, we understand that dealing with complex immigration issues is far from ideal. That is why our team are on hand to manage the entire process for you. By bringing in an expert immigration agency, you can still focus on your daily business needs whilst we can work in the background to help secure the licence needed to expand your workforce.
How long does it take for a company to get a sponsorship licence?
The government's official advice for how long it takes to get approved as a licence sponsor is eight weeks or less. During this time, your application will be looked at in detail, and you may need to provide more documentation. You may also find that the UK Visas and Immigration department may need to visit your business to establish the claims on your application further. Whilst these processes can be unnerving and take up extra time when you bring in support from Synergy Immigration Solutions, we can manage this for you.
If you are working under more of a time crunch, you can pay an additional £500 to ensure that a decision is made within ten working days. 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. It is also important to note that only a certain number of fast-track spots are available, so even if you pay for this service, you may not receive a decision within the revised timeframe.
Whichever option you decide to take, we would recommend starting the application process at least three months before your vacancy becomes urgent. This should give you enough time to receive a response, deal with the outcome, and also proceed with bringing in employees on skilled worked visas.
What steps can you take to ensure your application is successful?
If you want to become one of the 62,000 companies that are approved UK sponsors, there are some additional steps that you can take. Whilst the process for application will be the same for all businesses, we recommend actioning the advice below to give your company the best chance of being approved.
Ensure you have a clear view of the required and potentially needed documentation before starting your application journey. If you want your application to stand the best chance at flying through the checks, it is worth having everything in order before you submit the online phase of the process. The documents that need to be submitted to support your sponsorship licence application will vary based on factors including your company size, length of operations, industry, financial standing, and position within international markets. The working environment is also essential, so if a visit is needed, you must ensure that your in-house documentation and safety standards are 100% up to date.
HR management must be highly succinct for approved companies, so ensure that your business is correctly set up. Part of the approval agreement is that your business has HR systems in place that can effectively monitor employees. You, therefore, need to be set up to keep track of the following:
- Your overseas employees' immigration and visa status to ensure that they are legally allowed to support your company.
- You must keep identity supporting documentation and contact details for each staff member on record.
- Attendance and workplace performance must be noted to ensure that employees are keeping up with the requirements of their job offer and, in turn, their visa.
- Your system must also be set up to effectively report to UKVI if there are any issues with your employee. This includes situations such as excessive absence or if they stop attending. This is a breach of their visa, and if it is deemed that you were aware and did not report it, you could be in serious trouble. In the worst case, this could result in losing your sponsorship licence.
Choose an immigration agency to support you. Whilst you may think the process seems straightforward, it can quickly become complex. At Synergy Immigration Solutions, we specialise in providing support from the moment you start to consider that a sponsorship licence is right for you. The benefits of having our agency by your side are having a better chance of success, and your business legitimacy is further confirmed to The Home Office.
It is not just the application for a licence itself that will require support from an immigration law specialist. It is also the process of hiring employees and then managing them in line with visa guidelines that need to be considered. By choosing an agency you feel comfortable working with, you can start the long journey of achieving immigration success together.
Check that your proposed work is eligible for visa application. When you make your application, the reason for wanting to become registered will be looked at. If you intend to hire employees through either skilled or temporary contracts from overseas, you will need to be a licenced sponsor. However, if you plan on hiring through a different route, you will cost yourself a lot of time and money.
You should also consult the UK Shortage Occupation List to ensure that your business is approved via the listed sectors. If you are not included, you will unlikely be approved for any visas, making your licence redundant to have paid for.
Know who to communicate with and when to make sure you are as organised as possible. You will also improve the speed at which your application is approved and processed if you are armed with all the details. By aligning with a team of experts who can advise you on contact routes and keep you up to date, you stand more chance of dealing with issues as soon as they arise.
What requirements do I need to meet to become a sponsor for visas?
Before applying, it is essential to understand if your company is eligible to become a sponsor. The government outlines that you are not eligible to obtain a licence if you have either of the following:
- Any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offencesor certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering
- had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months
You will also need to provide various documents and proof that you meet the following criteria:
- You are legally allowed to trade within the UK and registered for all forms of tax and VAT. Both profit and non-profit companies can apply, but they must be legally authorised to trade and hire staff.
- Your business must be able to meet strict monitoring standards and maintain strong levels of employee welfare. All vacancies must be legally compliant in line with UK employment law.
- The positions you need to hire people for are not currently able to be fulfilled exclusively by those already registered to work in the UK. All positions must also meet the salary needs outlined by the government and provide remuneration suitable for the employee's skill level.
- All company directors and owners who are named on the application must also meet the legal criteria as outlined for full compliance.
- You must also fully understand the post-employment visa obligations you have once you decide to hire an employee from overseas. This includes knowing the legal repercussions if the situation is not managed correctly.
Does your business need support in securing a sponsorship licence?
There are lots of steps that go into obtaining a company sponsorship licence which we are ready to help with. To mobile Synergy Immigration Solutions for your support needs, please call us on 020 315, 0539, email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your request via our online contact form.
We promise to provide you professional immigration law support for an affordable price. We understand the struggles that businesses are facing in terms of bringing in talent and with our support, you will have a thriving workforce in no time.