There have been recent clarifications provided by the Home Office with regard to the requirements of obtaining a sponsor licence.
It has been clarified that a Level 1 User has to be an employee of the business from the start of the application process. Furthermore, this Level 1 User has to be able to undertake day-to-day sponsorship activities, such as recording the employee's attendance at work, amongst other duties.
Furthermore, the UKVI has preliminarily introduced an automatic renewal of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocations. This means that by 05 April, the CoS allocation on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) will automatically be renewed based on the previous year and a request will not be required.
The advantage of this automatic system is that the sponsor does not have to extensively plan and submit CoS renewals between January and April before the annual allocation expires, however, the disadvantage of this automated system is that the sponsor cannot select how many certificates they require for the year. The number that is granted to the sponsor is based on the number of certificates assigned the year before. Therefore, if a sponsor did not use any CoS allocation in the previous year, they would receive a zero allocation.
If you are unsure if a CoS allocation was granted automatically you can check on the sponsor's summary section of the SMS.
If no CoS allocation was given but the business has plans to sponsor workers this year (either new employees or extending existing employees), then it is possible to request an increase in the CoS allocation, however, do note that requests could take up to 18 weeks to be processed and therefore it is vital to plan ahead. In addition, the Home Office may ask for detailed reasons as to why a specific number of certificates have been requested. We recommend that all sponsors carefully assess the number of certificates required and the reasoning behind the figure before submitting any request on the SMS.
Gherson acts as a Level 1 User for clients on the SMS to assist them in managing the sponsor licence, as well as in meeting sponsor obligations. For more information, please contact us.