Sponsor licences are granted for a period of four years. If you are nearing the expiry of your licence and wish to continue sponsoring foreign workers, you will need to apply to renew the licence. Here are our 3 top tips for the licence renewal process.
1. Consider whether you need to apply for a new licence following a change of ownership
Sponsor licences are not transferrable, and where there is a takeover, merger, or other change of ownership, you may need to apply for a new licence. You should apply for a new licence within 20 working days, however, sponsors often only become aware of the need to apply for a new licence when attempting to renew their old licence.
As sponsor licence applications can take up to 8 weeks to be decided, we highly recommend that you look at whether there has been a change of ownership well in advance of your licence expiring. If your new licence application has not been decided by the time your old licence expires, you may also need to renew your old licence.
2. Check whether there has been a change in the size of your organisation
The fee which applies to the licence renewal, and other important fees, such as the level of Immigration Skills Charge for sponsoring migrants, depends on whether your organisation is considered ‘small’.
To be considered small you must either:
- Be subject to the small companies regime as set out in sections 381 to 384 of the Companies Act 2006. This will generally be the case if you meet at least two of the following criteria:
- The company’s annual turnover must be £10.2 million or less;
- The company’s balance sheet must be £5.1 million or less; or
- The company must have 50 employees or less.
- Have charitable status.
- Be an individual (not a company) and employ fewer than 50 people.
Some types of company are excluded from ever being under the small companies regime, and so you should check the full detail of the Companies Act to be sure that you are not excluded from the small companies regime.
If you do not pay the right fee, the Home Office are likely to contact you to pay the difference before they will approve your renewal application.
3. Make any reports to ensure that you have fulfilled your sponsor duties
As a sponsor, you will be familiar with your reporting duties. The sponsor licence renewal process is a good opportunity to review your licence summary and the details of any migrants you are sponsoring, to ensure that your reporting is up-to-date and you have fulfilled this duty.
To ensure that you comply with your duties as a sponsor licence holder, you should comply with the time limits which apply to different types of report. Where you notice that you have not made a report, it is advisable to do so before submitting the application to renew the licence to ensure that you are ready for an audit should the Home Office visit your organisation as part of the renewal process.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.