Is your sponsor licence due for renewal? What should you expect from the renewal process? Unsure if you continue to meet the compliance requirements? This blog provides a brief overview of the sponsor licence renewal process.
Firstly, a sponsor licence is granted to an organisation or individual to enable them to sponsor workers in their business. You may need a sponsor licence if you wish to employ someone from outside the EEA and Switzerland to work in the UK. Once granted, the sponsor licence is valid for 4 years, provided that the business continues to be compliant with its sponsorship duties. In the event that these duties are not adhered to, there is a risk that the licence could be revoked.
In most instances, sponsors are sent an initial email by the Home Office informing them that their licence is due for renewal. The sponsor is then sent further emails reminding them of the expiration date of their licence and informing them that they are eligible to apply for a renewal three months in advance of the expiration date.
Sponsors are advised to submit their renewal request in good time (at least 1 month before the renewal is due) to avoid losing their licence. This is because the Home Office may want to investigate the application further and may refuse the initial renewal request before the licence expires. By applying in good time, the sponsor would in these circumstances be able to submit a new renewal application and the licence will continue until a decision is reached.
If the sponsor misses the submission deadline or has a renewal application refused after the licence renewal expiry date, they will be removed from the registered list of sponsors. If this happens a new sponsor licence application will need to be submitted, which will mean that the initial sponsor licence process will have to be repeated, assuming a cooling-off period does not apply.
It is important to renew your licence before it expires, as if you do not, you will no longer be a licenced sponsor from the date of expiry.
The Home Office will curtail the leave of any migrant employed by the sponsor to 60 calendar days and the sponsor will have to submit a new sponsor licence application if they wish to hire non-EEA nationals.
A renewal application fee will be payable, which is currently the same price as the initial sponsor licence fee.
The fee will depend on whether the company involved is classified as a small or medium/large company. If the company has grown and would now be classified as a large company (or vice versa), the Home Office should be informed of this change as soon as it occurs. At the renewal stage, you will need to pay the fee most appropriate to the size of the company at that time.
The fee for a small company is £536 and the fee for a medium/large company is £1,746. If the incorrect fee is paid, the renewal application will be refused.
Prior to submitting a licence renewal application, the employer should ensure that there has been full compliance with all the sponsor’s obligations.
After the sponsor licence renewal has been submitted online, the Home Office will assess the application taking into account a number of criteria, which must be complied with. The Home Office may make further enquiries and there are strict time limits in which to respond.
The Home Office’s powers of investigation emphasise the importance of the duties and obligations placed on a sponsor licence holder. It is easy for a sponsor to unintentionally fail in their duties, and therefore if you have any concerns in respect of any compliance issues, you should act immediately to rectify any matters that could jeopardise a renewal application.
Gherson has extensive experience with all corporate immigration matters, including sponsorship licences, HR compliance and mock audits. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
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 don’t 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.