If you want to employ skilled workers from overseas, your business will need a sponsor licence. This gives you the authority to provide certificates of sponsorship to potential workers, allowing them to secure the visas they need to come to the UK to live and work.
At Halliday Reeves, we specialise in immigration. We can draft a skilled worker sponsor licence application on your behalf and provide guidance on management of the licence.
We will work with you to ensure you meet the sponsor licence requirements and check that the positions you wish to offer to overseas workers are eligible.
The process of securing a licence and the ongoing administration can be complex. Our team have many years of experience in dealing with sponsor licences and working for businesses employing overseas workers. We will advise you of the procedure to be followed and make sure that we are available to speak to you as needed to talk through any concerns you have and answer your questions.
To speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers about obtaining a sponsorship licence, ring us on 0330 133 7777, email us at email@example.com or Make An Online Enquiry.
Our Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Services
We provide a full range of immigration services for businesses taking on skilled workers, including:
- Advice on your business’s eligibility for a sponsor licence
- Drafting your application for a skilled worker sponsor licence
- Compiling the right documents in support of your skilled worker sponsor licence application
- Advice on compliance and management of a skilled worker sponsor licence
- Advice on appointing overseas workers to ensure the vacancy meets the ‘genuineness’ test
- Ensuring potential candidates satisfy visa requirements
- Skilled worker sponsor licence renewal
- Advice on upgrading a sponsor licence
- General business immigration advice
Eligibility For A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence
As an employer, the first step is to ensure that you are eligible to apply for a sponsor licence. Your application will not be accepted if you have unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or a number of other crimes, including money laundering or fraud. You cannot apply for a licence if you have had a previous sponsor licence revoked within the last year.
You will be responsible for monitoring your overseas workers and you should have systems in place ready to do this, to include monitoring their immigration status, recording attendance, keeping records of their documentation and up to date details and reporting any concerns to the authorities. You will also need to appoint individuals to deal with sponsorship paperwork and monitoring.
“Halliday Reeves has consistently provided a professional, thorough and efficient service in all immigration matters that we have had to address for our business. Conduct and confidentiality has been paramount at all times. Our business needs will require an ongoing service from Halliday Reeves. We will have no hesitation in using their services again.”
The Jinja Tree Restaurant
Sponsor Licence Management Roles
You need to appoint people to licence management roles when you make your application. These are the individuals who will be responsible for running your licence once it has been granted and who will deal with the record-keeping, monitoring and compliance using the government’s online sponsorship management system.
The roles you will need are:
- An authorising officer who will be the senior person involved and who will take responsibility for anyone using the management systems
- A key contact who will liaise with UK Visas and Immigration where necessary
- A level 1 user who will deal with the day-to-day management of your sponsor licence
The same person can fulfil all roles if you wish.
“We have worked on a variety of immigration projects with Halliday Reeves in recent years and would be very happy to recommend their services and support on both a personal and business level.”
P.B., Managing Director, Newcastle Eagles
Applying For A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence
Your application for a skilled worker sponsor licence needs to be made online. We can draft the application for you and ensure that all supporting documents are included. Where necessary, we can witness affidavits or statutory declarations that need to be sent.
The evidence needed in support depends on the type of business you have, but could include the following:
- A letter setting out background information about your company
- Bank statements
- HM Revenue & Customs details such as your PAYE reference
- VAT registration certificate
- Your latest accounts
- A letter from your business’s bank setting out the dealings it has had with you
- A copy of your employer’s liability insurance policy held with an authorised insurance company showing that you have cover of £5 million or more
- Paperwork from any registered body that your business is required to be part of, showing up to date registration
There are many other documents that could be needed, depending on the type of business you run and the category of sponsor licence that you need, and it is important to make sure you provide everything with your application or you are likely to be turned down.
At Halliday Reeves, we have secured skilled worker sponsor licences for clients with a wide range of businesses. We know exactly what is needed for a successful application and we can work with you to ensure you have the best chance of securing a sponsor licence.
How much does a skilled worker sponsor licence cost?
The government fee charges a fee that needs to accompany your sponsor licence application. The amount payable depends on what type of sponsor licence you need and what type of organisation you run.
Type of licence Fee for small or charitable sponsors Fee for medium or large sponsors
|Type of licence||Fee for small or charitable sponsors||Fee for medium or large sponsors|
|Worker and Temporary Worker||£536||£ 1,476|
|Add a Worker licence to an existing Temporary Worker licence||No fee||£940|
|Add a Temporary Worker licence to an existing Worker licence||No fee||No fee|
You will generally be classed as a small sponsor if two of the following apply:
- Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
- Your total assets are no more than £5.1 million
- You have no more than 50 employees
You will be considered to be a charitable sponsor where:
- You are registered as a charity in England or Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland
- You are a charity that is excepted from charity registration
- You are a charity that is exempt from charity registration
- You are an ecclesiastical corporation and you were established for charitable purposes
Other Potential Sponsorship Licence Costs
If you need a rapid decision on your application, you may be able to pay an additional £500 to have a response within 10 working days.
If your sponsor licence has been downgraded to a B-rating because you did not fully meet your responsibilities as a sponsor, you will need to pay to upgrade your licence back to an A-rating. You will need to do this because you will not be able to issue new certificates if you only have a B-rating. The fee is £1,476 and when you pay this you will be provided with an action plan to follow to achieve the upgrade.
The fee for renewing a sponsor licence is the same as the initial application fee shown above.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence?
We are often asked how long it takes to get a skilled worker sponsor licence, formerly known as a Tier 2 sponsor licence. UK Visas and Immigration advise that most applications are dealt with in less than eight weeks, although you need to take into account the amount of time it will take to put together your application. There may also be delays from time to time if UKVI are dealing with a larger volume of applications than normal and of course, it could take longer if your organisation is large or has a complex structure.
If you need a rapid decision on your application, you may be able to pay an additional £500 to have a response within 10 working days. Only a certain number of applications are dealt with on this basis each day and this is on a first come, first served basis. We can advise you as to how to approach this if you need an urgent response.
It is important to take the time to ensure that your application is correct and that all of the required evidence is included. If errors are made or documents are missing, the application is likely to be refused.
How Long Does A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Last?
A skilled worker sponsorship licence allows employers to take on overseas employees to work in their business. If you hold a licence, you will need to manage it carefully to ensure that you maintain an A-rating. It will also need to be renewed periodically.
At Halliday Reeves, we are immigration experts with in-depth experience of obtaining and renewing skilled worker sponsor licences. We can work with you to ensure your licence is properly managed and that an application to renew is made by the deadline.
If you neglect to renew your licence, it will lapse, meaning you will not legally be able to employ your overseas workers until you have a valid licence back or you could face enforcement action.
When Do I Need To Renew A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence?
A sponsor licence lasts for four years and needs to be renewed before it expires. An application to renew a sponsor licence can be made up to 90 days before the expiry date. You are strongly advised to apply as soon as you can so reduce the risk of being without a licence should any queries arise over the renewal.
The Sponsor Management System will tell you when your licence is due to expire and nearer the time you should also receive an email reminding you to reapply.
How Do I Apply To Renew A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence?
You will be able to apply to renew the sponsor licence using the Sponsor Management System. We can advise you as to what evidence you will need in support of your application and help you put together all of the necessary documentation.
It is crucial to make sure that nothing is omitted as it could result in a rejection or refusal and you would run the risk of not having a licence in place after the expiry date.
You can start putting together the documentation well in advance of the renewal date to ensure there is no last-minute difficulty. You should also take the opportunity to review your compliance with the licence regulations and check that everything is in order. UK Visas and Immigration are likely to investigate whether all of your records are being kept properly, which could involve a visit to your premises.
What Happens If My Sponsor Licence Lapses?
If your sponsor licence is not renewed in time, you will not be able to issue any Certificates of Sponsorship to workers. If a worker is attempting to enter the country to work for you, they could be detained if your licence has lapsed.
Existing workers will not be able to continue to work for you and would have to find a new sponsor, change to a different visa or potentially have to leave the UK.
You are advised to seek legal advice if you find that your sponsor licence has lapsed. We can help you make an emergency application, either to renew the licence or to apply for a new one.
Contact Our Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Solicitors
Our business immigration lawyers have a wide range of experience in dealing with both sponsorship and visa applications for overseas workers. We are friendly and approachable and will work closely with you or your HR team to offer tailored advice and solutions to problems. We offer a free 15-minute enquiry service to discuss your needs and advise you the best course of action in your circumstances. We have offices in Middlesbrough, Gateshead, Wakefield and Nottingham.
To speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers, ring us on 0330 133 7777, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a Free Online Enquiry.