Your business’s growth objectives may require hiring specialists from abroad when you are a start-up. Since the eligibility requirements to apply for a sponsor licence do not limit applications to organisations of a certain size or turnover, the majority of businesses can submit an application to the Home Office in order to sponsor qualified workers from abroad.
The sponsor licence application guidelines state that if your company is classified as a start-up business, you must submit different supporting documentation to that required of a non-start-up company. Various checks will also be performed by the Home Office.
A start-up business is defined as one that has been trading or operating in the UK for less than 18 months at the date of its sponsor licence application. This definition applies to the checks and documents needed for your sponsor licence application.
The number of employees you have, the size of your revenue or the success of a firm director’s prior UK business operations have no bearing on the Home Office’s definition of a start-up.
1. Ensuring you appoint the correct Key Personnel
Knowing who will perform the essential people tasks is one of the first steps in applying for a sponsor licence. The organisation will require an authorising officer, and whoever fills this position must be the most senior individual working in recruitment and overseeing all SMS users’ activity. It will then be necessary to choose a Key Contact (who will serve as the primary point of contact for all enquiries with the Home Office) and a Level 1 User (who will be in charge of managing the licence on a daily basis and have access to the SMS). The same person can manage all three of these responsibilities.
2. Ensuring you understand and comply with your sponsor duties
As a sponsor licence holder, you are required to report specific information or events to the Home Office using the SMS within specific time frames. You are also responsible for maintaining records for each worker you sponsor, including but not limited to:
- Complying with the immigration laws;
- Observing general UK legislation, which includes the national minimum wage and paid holidays;
- Not acting or behaving in a manner that is detrimental to the common good.
There is a risk of having your sponsor licence cancelled or suspended, and the workers you are sponsoring may have issues obtaining visas if you don’t understand and follow the rules.
3. Ensuring you send the correct supporting documents to the Home Office within five working days of submitting the sponsor licence application
The documents needed for a start-up business to apply for a sponsor licence depend on the type of business you are and the industry you are in. A sponsor licence application must be supported by a minimum of four documents, although, depending on the case, it may be advisable to submit more documents. Therefore, it is advised that you compile all necessary supporting materials before you begin drafting your Sponsor Licence application.
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.