What is a Sponsor License?

A Sponsor License is a permission granted by the Home Office in the United Kingdom, allowing businesses and organisations to legally employ migrants to work in the UK. This license is necessary for companies that aim to hire skilled workers from abroad, contributing to the growth of their workforce and ensuring compliance with immigration regulations. Below is a concise breakdown of the Sponsor License and its key aspects.

Why should my organisation obtain a Sponsor License?

Obtaining a Sponsor License is pivotal for organisations that intend to hire skilled workers from abroad. Without a Sponsor License, an organisation cannot legally employ or host migrants in the UK. This license not only enables access to global talent but also solidifies the UK's status as a key destination for academic and professional growth.

Eligibility Criteria for a Sponsor License:

  • The organisation must be a genuine, operating business or institution in the UK.
  • The organisation needs to provide evidence of a legitimate need for skilled non-EEA/Swiss workers.
  • Adequate HR and recruitment processes must be in place to manage sponsored employees.
  • The organisation should not have any history of non-compliance with immigration laws.

How much does a Sponsor License cost?

  • This depends on the type of worker you intend to sponsor. Most organisations apply for a Sponsor License with the intention of sponsoring Skilled Workers.
  • The Sponsor License application fee for small or charitable sponsor is £536.
  • The Sponsor License application fee for medium or large sponsor is £1476.

How to know if you are a small sponsor?

You’re usually a small sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:

  • your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
  • your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
  • you have 50 employees or fewer

How to know if you are a charitable sponsor?

Your organisation is:

How to know if you are a medium or large sponsor?

You’re usually a large sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:

  • your annual turnover is more than £10.2 million
  • your total assets are more than £5.1 million
  • you have 50 or more employees

How long does the Sponsor License application take?

  • Sponsor license applications can take up to 8 weeks for the Home Office to process.
  • You may be able to receive a quicker decision by opting for Priority Service which is subject to an additional fee of £500.
  • Sponsor licence applications can take up to 8 weeks to process. Processing can take longer if there are issues with the information and documentation that has been submitted. Fast-tracked processing may be available using the pre-licence priority service.

Application Process for a Sponsor License:

1) Eligibility Assessment:

  • Review and evaluate the eligibility criteria outlined by the Home Office.
  • Ensure that the organisation meets all prerequisites before proceeding.

2) Gather Documentation:

  • Collect necessary documents, including financial records, employment contracts, and HR policies.

3) Online Application:

  • Complete the online Sponsor License application through the Home Office portal.
  • Pay the requisite application fee.

4) Submission of Supporting Documents:

  • Submit all required documents as evidence of eligibility and compliance.

5) Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) (if applicable):

  • In certain cases, the organisation might need to conduct an RLMT to prove that no suitable settled worker is available for the position.

6) Assessment and Decision:

  • The Home Office reviews the application, documentation, and compliance history.
  • An immigration officer might conduct an assessment visit to the organisation's premises.

7) License Grant:

  • Upon approval, the Home Office issues a Sponsor License with an associated sponsor rating.
  • The organisation gains access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

Obligations and Responsibilities of a licensed Sponsor:

  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of sponsored employees.
  • Notify the Home Office of any changes in circumstances, such as job role or salary.
  • Comply with immigration rules and regulations, ensuring sponsored employees have the necessary visas and permissions.
  • Cooperate with Home Office inspections and audits.
  • Adhere to sponsor duties, including preventing illegal working and reporting any breaches.
  • Renew the Sponsor License before its expiry date.

Impact and Benefits of having a Sponsor License:

  • Access to a wider talent pool by hiring skilled workers from abroad.
  • Enhanced workforce diversity and expertise.
  • Contribution to the growth and development of the organisation.
  • Establishment of a reputable image as an authorised sponsor.

In conclusion, a Sponsor License in the United Kingdom is an essential authorisation for organisations looking to hire skilled non-EEA/Swiss workers. It involves a structured application process, strict compliance obligations, and the potential for great benefits in terms of talent acquisition and organisational growth. Adhering to the rules and responsibilities of sponsorship ensures a smooth and successful collaboration between businesses and the UK immigration system.

How can Borderless help you?

We can help you apply for a Sponsor License to assist with your organisation’s hiring needs, as well as ensure that your organisation is compliant with the Home Office rules and regulations. 

Find out about how you can get your sponsor license for FREE HERE!

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