An organization is only as strong as its workforce. When you have staff who are rightly qualified and reliable, you are almost assured of growth. However, sourcing employees isn't always easy. And with the number of available employees in the UK being limited, employers often have to look to other countries for skilled labour.
However, you can't just bring an employee from a different nationality without following the set procedures. The most basic requirement is having a sponsor license. What exactly is a sponsor license, how does it improve your chances of getting the best multinational hires, and how do you apply for one? Read on to learn more about sponsor license guidance in the United Kingdom.
What is a sponsor license in the UK?
A sponsor license is a type of comprehensive permission granted by the UN Home Office. Formerly, this was also known as a tier 2 sponsor license. Basically, this license allows companies based in the United Kingdom to access global talents. With a sponsor license, UK-based companies can sponsor foreign employees to work in the country.
This license is held in high regard as companies granted permission to hire from outside the UK act as immigration work route gatekeepers. As such, you’ll need to ascertain that you can effectively and objectively perform your duties. Your organization will require initial and ongoing validation before you can be granted the license.
Are you eligible for a sponsor license?
Your organization must satisfy various requirements before you are allowed to apply for a sponsor license. The starting point is ensuring the company has a UK presence and is legally trading or operating in the country.
In addition, you must provide proof that you are registered with any necessary statutory bodies and that you are up to code with all requirements. In some cases, you might have to prove you have the relevant planning permission or local planning authority consent to operate your business.
The Home Office also needs to be convinced you are able to provide employment and pay the market rate to your foreign staff. Applying for the licence basically implies you accept the duties associated with being a sponsor licence holder.
It is noteworthy to mention that private individuals are not eligible to apply for the licence. However, an exception can be made if you are a sole trader looking to sponsor people to work for your business. You are also not allowed to apply for the licence if it has been previously revoked in the last year or sooner.
How do you apply for a sponsor license?
You can apply for the license online by filling out a form and attaching the required accompanying evidence and sending it to the Home Office. In some instances, the Home
Office may request additional documentation, like the organization’s HR processes.
The documents and paperwork required when applying for the licence include;
• The organization’s most recent audited accounts
• The company’s liability insurance certificate for £5 million or more
• Proof of ownership or lease of business premises
• Proof you are registered with the HMRC and you pay National Insurance and PAYE
• Certificate of VAT registration and the firm’s most current VAT returns
• Evidence of the company’s corporate bank account in a banking intuition regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority
What is the cost of applying for a sponsor license?
The cost of applying for a licence differs depending on your type of organization. Applicants are categorized into three major groups. These are small or charitable sponsors, medium sponsors, and large sponsors.
Small sponsors should have no more than 50 employees, a total asset worth at most £5.1 million, and an annual turnover not exceeding £10.2 million. To qualify as a charitable organization, you ought to be a registered or exempt charity or an ecclesiastical corporation whose main objective is a charitable cause.
The other factor that influences the application cost is the type of licence you wish to acquire. For example, a temporary worker licence could cost about £536 for small and charitable sponsors. The same licence would cost large and medium sponsors about £1476.
While there are different figures for different licence types, the abovementioned offer a basic minimum and maximum application fee range. The application process will take about 8 weeks if you are compliant and have everything in order. In special circumstances, you could expedite the process to 10 working days at an additional cost.
What happens if your application is denied?
If your application is not successful, you will be required to wait between 6 to 12 months before you can apply again. The only exception to this rule is if there was an error from the Home Office’s side while processing your application.
The sponsor licence is valid for four years and you can renew it after the time has elapsed. However, the Home Office can revoke your licence if they believe you are in violation of the stipulated regulations.
Common reasons why your application could be rejected include:
• Your firm did not pass the compliance audit
• The organization failed the ‘genuineness test’
• The company lacks appropriate policies to meet its sponsorship requirements
• You did not have sufficient documentation of migrant workers
• Your organization failed to respond to concerns from the Home Office on time
While these are the most common reasons for a sponsor licence rejection, there are other numerous reasons. You can request for a copy of the decision letter to understand what you did wrong and how you can potentially challenge the decision.
Ultimately, if you are searching for qualified staff, you might have to look further than the local pool of professionals. Hiring skilled migrant staff is an excellent way to diversify your organization and get ideas from different parts of the world.
There are countless reasons why companies choose to hire foreign staff. Regardless of the reason, you will require a sponsor licence before hiring migrant skilled staff. These steps will help in the sponsor licence application and boost your chances of being successful.
Remember to take your time and ensure that you have followed the procedure for a seamless application process.