Sponsor Licence – how can I boost my access to the labour workforce?

03 Jul 2024, 50 mins ago

In today’s competitive business landscape, having access to a diverse and skilled workforce is critical for success. Gherson’s Business Immigration series will help you better understand the immigration landscape for SMEs.

For UK businesses looking to tap into a global talent pool, obtaining a Sponsor Licence (SL) is a strategic move. Here’s how you can leverage an SL to enhance your access to the labour workforce and gain a competitive edge.

Understanding the Sponsor Licence

A SL is an authorisation from the UK Home Office allowing businesses to employ foreign workers under specific visa categories. It’s a gateway to recruiting international talent, enabling businesses to fill skill gaps and drive innovation.

Steps to Obtaining a Sponsor Licence

1. Eligibility Check: Ensure your business is eligible for a Sponsor Licence. This includes having a legitimate trading presence in the UK and no history of immigration law violations, among other requirements. You may be rendered ineligible if you have had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.

2. Application Process: Complete the online application form and pay the relevant fees. You’ll need to provide supporting documents that verify your business’s legitimacy and readiness to comply with sponsorship duties.

3. Compliance: Demonstrate that your business has the necessary HR systems in place to manage sponsored employees and ensure compliance with immigration rules. This can be a daunting process, consider enlisting a specialised law firm to work alongside you on this.

4. Licence Fees: The fee will depend on the type of licence you’re applying for and the size/nature/annual turnover of your organisation. The fee varies from £536 to £1,476.

5. Timeline: Most applications are decided within 8 weeks, although the Home Office may decide to audit your business and if they do, it can take more than 8 weeks to receive a decision. There in an option for paying an extra for an expedited decision, usually within 10 working days, however the timelines with the Home Office are not guaranteed.

6. Certificate of Sponsorship Issue Fee: A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is required to sponsor a worker. Obtaining a CoS will depend on whether the candidate you want to sponsor is already in the UK or applying from outside the UK. Once the relevant CoS is granted, you will need to assign this for the chosen candidate at which time you will have to pay a non-refundable fee of £239 per CoS. You may also be required to pay Immigration Skills Charge, which is £364 per year of sponsorship, unless a valid exception applies.

Maximising the Benefits of Your Sponsor Licence

Once you have your Sponsor Licence, there are several strategies to maximise its benefits and boost your access to the labour workforce:

1. Expand Recruitment Channels: With an SL, you can advertise job openings globally, attracting a wider range of candidates with the skills and experience needed to drive your business forward.

2. Enhance Employee Retention: Offering sponsorship can be a significant advantage in retaining talented employees who require visa sponsorship to continue working in the UK. This fosters loyalty and reduces turnover.

3. Streamline the Onboarding Process: Familiarise yourself with the visa application process to ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding experience for international hires. This minimises delays and helps new employees integrate quickly.

4. Leverage Skilled Worker Route: Utilise the Skilled Worker visa route to bring in individuals with specific expertise that is scarce in the local job market. This can be particularly beneficial for sectors like chemical engineering, and healthcare.

5. Stay Compliant: Regularly review and update your HR policies to maintain compliance with sponsorship duties. This includes keeping accurate records, monitoring employee immigration status, and reporting any changes to the Home Office.

A Sponsor Licence is more than just a permit to hire foreign workers; it’s a strategic tool that can significantly boost your access to a global talent pool. By understanding the application process, leveraging the benefits, and maintaining compliance, your business can thrive in an increasingly competitive and interconnected world.

If you need assistance with obtaining or managing your Sponsor Licence, our expert legal team at Gherson is available to help. We can help to ensure you’re making the most of this valuable opportunity.

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: enquiries@gherson.co.uk

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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