Applying for an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence – Temporary Worker

The Government strictly regulates the employment of non-UK and Irish nationals in the UK. In most cases UK employers who want to recruit overseas workers first need to obtain a Sponsor Licence.

International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence

Why do you need an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence?

There are a number of different types of licence, the International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence is specifically designed to allow organisations in the UK to sponsor individuals to undertake a job as an elite sportsperson or qualified coach.

The International Sportsperson visa will allow an individual to work for you in a particular type of role for up to 3 years, and can be extended.

Once your organisation has been granted an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence you will be in a position to recruit and sponsor potentially any number of non-UK nationals under the International Sportsperson visa route.

The International Sportsperson route is an amalgam of two previous routes:

  1. Tier 2 Sportsperson and
  2. Tier 5 Temporary Worker Sporting.

If your organisation held a T2 Sportsperson licence or a T5 Temporary Worker Creative and Sporting licence under the Sporting route, then on 1 December 2020 this would automatically have converted to an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence.

If you are uncertain as to whether you have an active Sponsor Licence please contact us and we can assist you to establish the position.

Who can you sponsor under an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence?

You can only sponsor someone under the International Sportsperson route if they have been endorsed by the Governing Body for your sport as:

  • Internationally established at the highest level; and
  • Will make a significant contribution to the growth of the relevant sport at the highest level in the United Kingdom.

In addition, if the applicant is looking to apply for a visa for more than 12 months, they must be able to show that they have a certain level of English Language ability.

They will also need to prove that they have a certain level of funds in their bank account, which they have held for at least 28 days, or alternatively as the employer you can ‘certify’ maintenance for the first month of their employment with you.

What are the eligibility requirements for an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence application?

You must be endorsed by the Governing Body for your sport. You can find a list of relevant sports Governing Bodies here.

If your sport does not have a Governing Body for endorsement purposes then you will not be in a position to apply for a licence. Your governing body must first apply to be an approved Governing Body,

You must demonstrate that:

  • You are a legally-operating UK organisation;
  • You have a genuine need for an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence; and
  • You understand fully what your duties and responsibilities as a sponsor will be, and have appropriate HR systems and processes in place to meet them.

What is the process if you want to apply for an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence?

You will need to complete an online application form and then provide supporting evidence and information by e-mail, including:

  • a number of company documents from a UKVI-specified list, to evidence that your organisation is legally operating in the UK;
  • particulars of your organisation and a justification as to why you need a Sponsor Licence.
  • Evidence that you have been endorsed by your sport’s Governing Body

The documents and information must be submitted within 5 working days of the online submission or your application will be rejected.

How will your application be assessed? Will you be visited by the Home Office?

UKVI will conduct an initial assessment of your online and e-mail submissions.

They can grant a Sponsor Licence on the basis of these alone, but may decide to visit your organisation first to assess in more detail whether your need for a licence is genuine.

As part of a compliance visit UKVI will also review your organisation’s current practices, policies and HR procedures in order to assess whether you have suitable systems in place to meet your future duties as a sponsor.

If UKVI refuse your application following a visit they will usually bar you from applying again for at least 6 months.

How long will it take to obtain an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence?

The UKVI service standard for assessment is 8 weeks.

There is a priority service available, which will reduce the processing time to 2 weeks. The fee for this is £500 and the service is requested and paid for after submission of the application.

There are only a very limited number of priority slots available each day, available on a first-come-first-served basis.

How much does the Home Office charge for a sponsor licence?

The Home Office fee varies depending on the size of the organisation applying.

The fee for small companies and charities is £536.

The fee for all other companies and organisations is £1,436.

How can we help you with a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence application?

At Gherson we have been helping companies and organisations of all sizes obtain Sponsor Licences since the Points Based System was introduced in 2008.

We can:

  • Work with you to understand your business needs, so that we can advise you on the most appropriate type of sponsorship to meet these
  • Draft your sponsor licence application and prepare supporting documentation
  • Help you present a compelling case that you have a ‘genuine’ need for a sponsor licence
  • Ensure you are thoroughly prepared to meet your compliance duties as a sponsor, and to pass a Home Office compliance inspection with flying colours

Refusal on certain grounds can lead to a bar on submitting a new application for 6 months or longer. It is therefore essential that your application is prepared thoroughly.

If your organisation requires any advice or assistance with respect to Sponsor Licences or you would like to discuss your situation with one of our experts.

For more information about us and our Corporate Immigration services please contact a member of the team.

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