Applying for a Creative Worker Sponsor Licence

Our team of expert corporate immigration specialists have vast experience in helping workers applying for Temporary Worker – Creative Worker Sponsor Licence.

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.

Temporary Worker – Creative Worker Sponsor Licence

Why do you need to apply for a Temporary Worker – Creative Worker Sponsor Licence?

There are a number of different types of licence, the Creative Worker Sponsor Licence is specifically designed to allow organisations in the UK to sponsor individuals to undertake a job, or a series of engagements, within the creative sector – in fields such as dance, music, film, theatre, television, circuses, opera and fashion modelling.

The route covers creative workers and also their entourage.

It allows organisations in the creative sector who are looking to sponsor an individual to undertake a fixed, usually short-term, assignment in the UK. Individuals can also be sponsored to undertake a series of engagements in the UK, as long as there is no more than 14 days between each.

Creative Workers can only be sponsored for a maximum period of 12 months initially, extendable to 24 months (only if the individual is continuing to work for the same sponsor.) Sponsors wishing to sponsor workers in the creative field for longer than 24 months should instead, consider the Skilled Worker route.

There are other routes that can be used to bring creative workers to the UK, including the Skilled Worker, Global Talent and Visitor visa routes. If you would like to discuss options Gherson will be happy to advise on.

Who can you sponsor under a Temporary Worker – Creative Worker Sponsor Licence?

You can only sponsor someone under this route if their role will make a unique contribution to the UK’s cultural life.

This requirement can be demonstrated in different ways depending on the creative field of the applicant.

Where you are looking to sponsor someone as a creative worker operating in dance, theatre, film and television, or as a model in the fashion industry, there are specific criteria set out in the ‘Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice’.

For example, the individual applying may:

  • Have international status as a performer
  • Be needed for continuity (production or performance)
  • Be part of a unit company
  • Be tied to the finance of a production or are commercially important to it

If the individual you want to sponsor does not come under one of the categories above you would need to show that they will not be displacing a settled worker. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example by advertising the post and assessing the most appropriate candidate, by applying the criteria under Appendix Creative Worker Codes.

If the type of creative role that they will be filling is on the Shortage Occupation list (eg artists, skilled classical ballet dancers or skilled contemporary dancers, arts officer, producers and directors) then you don’t need to provide the above forms of justification.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Temporary Worker – Creative Worker Sponsor Licence application?

To apply for a licence you must be an organisation operating, or intending to operate, in the creative sector eg a production company, an events organiser, a venue, an agent, a media organisation, a promotion company.

You do not need to have a direct employment relationship with the individuals you want to sponsor – although this will often be the case – but you must be able to meet the duties of a sponsor

You must demonstrate that:

  • You have a genuine need for a Creative Worker Sponsor Licence;
  • You understand fully what your duties and responsibilities as a sponsor will be, and have appropriate HR systems and processes in place to meet these.

You do not have to apply for a new Creative Worker Sponsor Licence if, immediately before 11 October 2021, you held a valid sponsor licence for the T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative route. In most cases, your licence will have been automatically converted into the Creative Worker licence.

What is the process if you want to apply for a Creative Worker Sponsor Licence?

You will need to complete and submit an online application form. Once the online form is submitted, you will then e-mail the supporting evidence and information, which will include:

  • a number of company documents from a UKVI-specified list to evidence that your organisation is legally operating in the UK; and
  • particulars of your organisation and a justification as to why you need a sponsor licence.

The documents and information must be submitted within 5 working days of the online submission of your application. Should you fail to do so, your application will be rejected.

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

UKVI will initially assess your online application and e-mail submissions.

They can grant a Sponsor Licence on this basis alone, but may decide to conduct an audit of 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 an audit, they will usually bar you from applying for a sponsorship licence again for at least 6 months.

How long will it take to obtain a Creative Worker 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 and the service operates 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.

Small companies and charities must pay £536.

For medium to large companies, the fee for this is £1,476.

How can we help with a Creative Worker Sponsor Licence application?

UKVI will closely scrutinise your application for a Creative Worker Sponsor Licence.

They can refuse it if you have not submitted all of the required information and documents, if they do not believe your application and your need for a sponsor licence is ‘genuine’, or if they do not believe you are prepared to meet the duties and responsibilities of a sponsor.

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

At Gherson we have many years’ experience of helping companies and organisations of all sizes prepare and submit successful sponsor licence applications.

If your organisation requires legal assistance, you would like to discuss your situation, or to know more about us and our Corporate Immigration services please contact a member of the team who can answer any questions and guide you through the process.

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