Applying For A Sponsor Licence For Foreign Employees

A sponsor licence is a form of general permission from the UK Home Office that allows UK companies to access the global talent pool by sponsoring foreign employees and allowing them to rightfully work in the UK

The company approved by the sponsor’s licence becomes the gatekeeper of the immigration work route since the licence requires initial and ongoing verification. The company must comply with the obligations set by the Ministry of the Interior to maintain its sponsorship status. 

How to apply for a sponsor licence 

You will apply to the UK Visa and Immigration Office (UKVI) online, and you need to prove: 

  1. Your company is real and operates or trades legally in the UK. If you have multiple branches in the UK, you can get a licence that covers all UK entities or depending on your situation, you can apply for a separate licence for each branch. 
  2. Must be regarded as a responsible, reliable, and trustworthy company. 
  3. Must be deemed capable of performing its sponsorship duties and show evidence of its continued compliance. 
  4. Must be able to provide real jobs that meet appropriate skill levels and wages. 

You cannot apply for a licence if: 

  •  You are convicted of an immigration crime or other crimes such as money laundering.
  •  The sponsor licence has been revoked in the past 12 months.

Required documentation

Together with the sponsor licence application, the required documents will depend on factors such as the type of licence requested and the type and size of the organization. 

Documents usually include copies of the following: 

  • Latest audited company accounts.
  • Proof of employer’s liability insurance for at least £5,000,000.
  • Registered with HMRC with proof of payment of employer’s PAYE and national insurance.
  • Proof of ownership or lease of business premises.
  • VAT Certificate of registration and the latest VAT declaration form confirming the VAT registration number provided by the employer, if the company’s turnover exceeds £64,000.
  • Proof of a business bank account with a bank under FCA regulation. If operational status is less than 18 months, then this is mandatory.

In addition, if the company wants to sponsor employees of a foreign office or branch, you need to provide evidence of the link between the British company and the foreign entity. This usually takes the form of an affidavit, signed by a senior manager of the British entity. 

At the end of the online application, you will complete the submission form and submit it to the UK Department of Immigration and Visas along with all necessary supporting documents. 

Once you submit the form, government officials may visit your business premises in person as a pre-licensing compliance visit to ensure that your business can fulfil the responsibilities and obligations set by the sponsor qualifying criteria. 

Sponsor licence application fee 

The fee you pay for a sponsor licence will depend on the licence you are applying for and the type of organization you are applying for. This is divided into small or charitable sponsors and medium or large sponsors.

Approval timeline

Sponsor licence processing time is within around eight weeks after submission. You may be able to pay an additional £500 to obtain a priority service decision within 10 working days after submission.

This is a collaborative post. Image via Unsplash.

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