Obtaining a sponsorship license is a vital process for companies that wish to employ non-EEA nationals in the UK. With the introduction of a points-based immigration system, the sponsorship license application process has become even more critical for companies that wish to fill skill gaps with workers from outside the UK.
Navigating the sponsorship license application process can be a complicated process, and companies may face several challenges along the way. Some of the common challenges that companies may face include not understanding the eligibility criteria, not meeting the required documentation standards, or not having a clear understanding of the points-based system.
Additionally, companies may face challenges in the form of compliance visits from the Home Office, which require them to maintain compliance with sponsorship requirements. These challenges can be overwhelming for companies. In case your company wants to apply for a sponsorship license, it is best to start from the beginning and properly understand how the sponsorship management system works.
Research Eligibility Criteria
One of the essential steps in the sponsorship license application process is to research the eligibility criteria thoroughly. The eligibility criteria vary depending on the type of sponsorship license required, and it is crucial to understand the requirements before beginning the application process. For example, if a company is applying for a Tier 2 General sponsorship license, it must demonstrate that they have a genuine vacancy that cannot be filled by a settled worker.
Understand the Points-Based System
The points-based system is a critical component of the sponsorship license application process, and companies must have a clear understanding of the system to navigate the application process successfully. The system assesses points based on factors such as the job offer, skill level, and English language ability. Companies must understand how the points system works and how it affects the application process.
Gather Required Documents
Another critical step in the sponsorship license application process is to gather all required documents. The Home Office requires specific documents to be submitted with the application, and companies must ensure that they have all the necessary documentation before starting the application process. Some of the required documents include the Certificate of Sponsorship, a copy of the applicant’s passport, and evidence of the resident labor market test.
Advertise the Job Vacancy
Companies must advertise the job vacancy to settled workers before hiring non-EEA nationals. This process is known as the resident labor market test, and it must be completed before the sponsorship license can be granted. The job vacancy must be advertised in specific ways, and companies must keep records of the advertisement to demonstrate compliance with sponsorship requirements.
Appoint a Key Personnel Member
Companies must appoint a key personnel member to oversee the sponsorship license application process. This person must have the authority to act on behalf of the company and must be responsible for ensuring that the company meets all sponsorship requirements. The key personnel member must also be familiar with the sponsorship license application process and have a clear understanding of the company’s responsibilities as a sponsor.
Understand Compliance Requirements
Maintaining compliance with sponsorship requirements is crucial for companies that have been granted a sponsorship license. The Home Office conducts compliance visits to ensure that companies are meeting their sponsorship requirements, and failure to comply can result in the sponsorship license being revoked. Companies must understand the compliance requirements and ensure that they are meeting the requirements at all times.
Companies must keep records of all relevant documents and activities related to the sponsorship license application process. Keeping detailed records can help companies demonstrate compliance with sponsorship requirements and provide evidence of meeting eligibility criteria. Records must be kept for at least six years after the sponsorship license expires.
Monitor and Report Changes
Companies must monitor and report any changes that may affect their sponsorship licenses, such as changes in the company structure, key personnel members, or the employment of sponsored workers. Failure to report changes can result in the sponsorship license being revoked, and the company may face penalties. Companies must ensure that they have systems in place to monitor and report any changes that may affect their sponsorship license.
Seek Professional Advice
Navigating the sponsorship license application process can be challenging, and companies may benefit from seeking professional advice. Professional advisors can provide guidance on meeting eligibility criteria, understanding the points-based system, and maintaining compliance with sponsorship requirements. Companies must ensure that they seek advice from reputable advisors who have experience in the sponsorship license application process.
The sponsorship license application process can take several weeks to complete, and therefore, companies must plan ahead to avoid delays. Companies must ensure that they have sufficient time to gather all required documents, complete the resident labor market test, and prepare for compliance visits. Planning ahead can help companies navigate the sponsorship license application process successfully and avoid delays.
How to apply?
One crucial aspect of navigating the sponsorship license application process is understanding how to apply. The application process for a sponsorship license is completed online through the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. Companies must ensure that they have all necessary information and documentation ready before beginning the application process.
To apply for a sponsorship license, companies must first register an account on the UKVI website. They will then be required to complete an online application form, which includes providing detailed information about their company, such as the company name, registration number, and contact details.
The next step in the application process is to nominate a key personnel member who will be responsible for managing the sponsorship license. This person will be responsible for ensuring that the company complies with sponsorship requirements and must be able to provide evidence of their eligibility, such as their job title and qualifications.
Companies must then provide evidence of their legitimate need for hiring non-EEA nationals, such as demonstrating that there is a skill gap in their workforce that cannot be filled by UK workers. They will also be required to provide evidence of their ability to support the sponsored worker, such as proof of adequate financial resources and the ability to provide appropriate accommodation.
Once the online application form is complete, companies must pay the relevant application fee, which varies depending on the size of the company and the length of the sponsorship license requested. Companies must also pay a fee for each sponsored worker they wish to employ.
After submitting the application, UKVI may conduct a compliance visit to verify the information provided in the application. The compliance visit may include a review of the company’s records, an assessment of its recruitment practices, and an interview with the key personnel member responsible for managing the sponsorship license.
If the application is successful, the company will be granted a sponsorship license, which will allow them to employ non-EEA nationals. The license will be valid for four years and can be renewed if the company continues to meet sponsorship requirements.