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Hiring from overseas is not a business decision that is taken lightly. As an employer, you might need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work for you in the UK. You can obtain this from the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
Visa applications for skilled and temporary workers and the law surrounding them can be complex and demanding. Immigration Laws are constantly changing, especially with Brexit so you need to be aware of the hard work involved.
Kidwells are here to offer you guidance and increase your chances of success when applying. We also understand that the world of business is fast-moving and that many opportunities are time-critical. Service, therefore, is provided in a fast turnaround time, without compromising on attention to detail. When applying we will ensure you follow all the necessary policies and procedures. Plus we’ll advise you on the best actions to take should you need to make changes. Additionally, if problems do arise which result in harsh penalties, we can offer our support and assistance.
Important things to consider:
- You need to send the correct supporting documents, at least four, in order to prove you’re a genuine business. If you don’t you run the risk of a refusal of your application.
- The UKBA carefully inspect licence applications which means a timely and somewhat trying process. Employers need to collate original documents (or certified copies) from very specific criteria together with completing the lengthy form.
- You can’t appeal if your application is unsuccessful but you are able to reapply.
- Once you gain approval of your application you’ll get an A-rating licence so you can start assigning certificates of sponsorship. However, this can decrease to a B-rating if you don’t continue to meet your sponsor duties. Also, your licence is only valid for four years and you may lose your licence if you don’t meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.
Support and guidance with every stage
You may need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work for you in the UK.
- This licence includes unpaid work, for example, running a charity.
- It’s important to remember that sponsoring someone doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be allowed to come to or stay in the UK.
There are different types of licenses you can apply for dependant on if you are employing permanent or temporary labour.
Tier 2 is used if you want to employ skilled workers to whom you are offering long-term job offers. This area is split into general, Intra-Company Transfer, Minister of Religion and Sportsperson.
Tier 5 licence is if you want to employ skilled workers who you are offering temporary contracts to. This area is split into Creative and Sporting, Charity Worker, Religious Worker, Government Authorised Exchange and International Agreement.
There are eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to get a licence. You cannot have any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or other particular crimes such as fraud or money laundering. In addition, you can’t have any history of failing to carry out previous sponsorship duties. The business must be a genuine organisation and operate in the UK whilst posing no threat to immigration control. Furthermore, they need to employ people to fulfil compliance and immigration-related duties, possess effective HR systems to monitor sponsored employees and submit supporting documents or evidence.
In order to ensure that they can grant eligibility, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will review your application and supporting documents. If they feel they need to, they will visit your business to ensure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.
When you apply for a licence you need to appoint people within the business to manage the sponsorship process. They may use a sponsorship management system (SMS.) Roles that you’d need to allocate to people are authorising officer, a person who is your key contact with UKVI and a level 1 or 2 user. However, you may not get your licence if you or anyone you involve in sponsorship has;
- An unspent criminal conviction
- Had a fine by UKVI in the past 12 months
- Been reported to UKVI
- Broken the law
- Been a key person to a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
- Failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
- Not based in the UK most of the time
- Been a contractor or consultant whose contract is for a specific project
- Been subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
- Had a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements.
If you are an employer of foreign nationals you must meet strict compliance requirements. If you don’t you will not be able to obtain or keep your sponsor licence and will no longer be able to employ foreign nationals. The compliance requirements include;
- Prevention of illegal workers
- Record keeping
- Tracking and monitoring your migrant workforce
- Home office reporting
The Home Office can carry out un-announced or pre-arranged visits to sponsors in UK offices at any time to ensure compliance requirements are being met. The purpose of a visit is to assess your business against sponsorship compliance requirements. Furthermore, if your business is non-compliant there are potential penalties you can face. For example, the Home Office can revoke your sponsor licence, fine and even prosecute your company, all of which damage your reputation.