Five Tips for a Successful Skilled Workers Sponsorship Application

12 Jun 2024, 17 mins ago

To help make the process smoother, we’ve outlined 5 areas that can cause difficulty:

1. Produce the Right Documents

To increase your chance of a successful sponsor application, it is critical that the right documents are produced. Which documents depend on the type of organisation and the sponsorship licence being applied for.

Most private sector organisations applying to sponsor skilled workers need to submit at least four of the following documents to prove they are genuine and operational in the UK:

  • Audited accounts
  • Employer liability insurance certificate
  • Proof of ownership or lease for business premises
  • HMRC VAT registration certificate
  • Corporate bank account statements
  • HMRC PAYE number and accounts office reference number

2. Appoint Key Personnel

The organisation must appoint key personnel to manage the sponsorship licence and the ongoing compliance responsibilities. Before applying, designate the following roles:

  • Authorising Officer: A senior staff member (preferably involved with recruitment or HR), who will be responsible for the licence and ongoing compliance
  • Key Contact: The main point of contact for UKVI (this can be a legal representative)
  • Level 1 User: Responsible for daily management of the sponsor licence via the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Must be an employee at the time of application, with others – including legal representatives – added later

Appointees must be UK-based during their tenure, free of unspent criminal convictions, civil penalties, or adverse history, and be either a paid staff member or an office holder.

3. Allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship

When applying for a skilled worker sponsor licence, businesses must estimate and justify the number of certificates they plan to issue in their first year. Approved sponsors receive an annual allocation, which must be used within 12 months. Additional allocations can be requested, however this may take up to 18 weeks without priority service. Certificates do not carry over to the next year, so forward planning is essential.

4. Pass the “Genuine Vacancy Requirement” Test

The Home Office requires assurance that the job vacancy is genuine and meets the skill and salary requirements for the skilled worker route. A genuine vacancy must:

  • Require specific duties and responsibilities aligned with the role
  • Not include unrelated or lower-skilled duties

Employers may need to provide additional evidence to prove the job’s legitimacy. Applications may be rejected if the role appears exaggerated, non-existent, or created solely to enable someone’s visa to enter or remain in the UK.

5. Fulfil Reporting Duties

Organisations with a sponsor licence must fulfil ongoing duties related to reporting, record-keeping, and compliance with UK immigration law. UKVI will assess the organisation’s HR and recruitment procedures to ensure they can manage these responsibilities. To avoid potentially being rejected, it is essential for an organisation to prepare, review and enhance their current HR and recruitment procedures to ensure they can handle the additional required tasks.

One of the best ways to avoid the challenges that come with applying for a sponsor license or sponsoring a skilled worker is to work with an experienced immigration solicitor. They will work alongside you, guiding you on the steps involved, avoiding the common mistakes that lead to rejection, and what you need to do should you face any unexpected issues. 

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 article, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, or send us an e-mail. Don’t forget to follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date on the latest developments.

The information in this article 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.

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