Under the Points Based System, UK companies have to be granted a Sponsor Licence by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) before they can employ non-EEA workers. Employers who do not have an active and valid Sponsor Licence will not be able to hire new workers from outside the EEA.
Once issued, a Sponsor Licence is valid for a period of four years, providing the company continues to meet its responsibilities as a Tier 2 Sponsor.
When applying for a Sponsor Licence, the employer will have to complete and submit an application online using the Sponsorship Management System, which is an online system provided by the Home Office for these purposes. Within five working days from the date the application is submitted online, the relevant supporting documents (as outlined in Appendix A of the Immigration Rules) have to be submitted by post to the Home Office for consideration. At the time of submitting the application, the employer will have to provide a detailed explanation as to why they require the Sponsor Licence. The employer will also have to ensure that they have suitable HR systems in place to demonstrate that they understand and are able to comply with the obligations of a licenced Tier 2 Sponsor.
If the company has multiple branches in the UK, the employer can apply for a licence as a single entity covering all its branches under one umbrella or, alternatively, they can apply for a separate Sponsor Licence for each branch office.
As a prospective employer, the company holding a valid and active Tier 2 Sponsor Licence needs to demonstrate that the position for which they are looking to hire a non-EEA national genuinely exists and that it has not been created to give a migrant the opportunity to enter and live in the UK unfairly. For this purpose, the resident labour market test has been put in place and this test must be carried out by the employer in certain circumstances. The test is designed to demonstrate that the employer has tried to find a suitable employee from the UK resident labour market but has failed to do so and therefore needs to bring in the non-EEA national to fill the post.
When applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, the employer must keep in mind that they will have to pay an Immigration Skills Charge for each non-EEA employee . This charge is currently set at £1,000.00 per employee per year for large or medium sized organisations, and at £364.00 per employee per year for small or charitable organisations.
Gherson has extensive experience in assisting with Sponsor Licence matters. Should you require assistance with your application to the Home Office 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.