Minimum requirements to become a sponsor
What is a sponsor licence?
It is formal permission from the Home Office for companies based in the UK to hire workers from abroad or to employ those who are in the UK on other types of visas. Once a company is granted a sponsor licence, it can assign Certificates of Sponsorship (required to apply for a visa) to the candidates they identify in the recruitment process and are planning to hire.
The sponsor licence is normally issued for 4 years with the automatic option for renewal if the company is still qualified.
The process of sponsor licence application includes the following steps:
- Completing the online application
- Paying the Home Office fees
- Submitting the relevant supporting documents to the Home Office
Eligibility requirements for a sponsor licence
Prior to completing the online application form, please ensure you fully qualify to become a registered sponsor. Before the Home Office can grant your company a sponsor licence, they’ll need to establish that the following criteria are met.
The company is a genuine organisation based in the UK (it can also be a UK branch of an international company) operating lawfully in the UK. This should be backed by supporting documents specific to the company’s sector of operation. Nation.better experts can help you with the full list of documents required.
Depending on the circumstances, you may apply for one licence covering all the UK branches or a separate licence can be obtained for each branch.
The key personnel named in the application, and any people involved in the day-to-day running of the business should be honest, reliable, and should not be engaged—at present or in the past—in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good.
You are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties and evidencing your compliance in accordance with sponsor duties and compliance requirements. This is generally checked by looking at your human resources and recruitment practices to make sure you will be able to fulfil your sponsor duties. Please note that the Home Office staff may visit your organisation before the licence is granted.
The vacant jobs for which you intend to assign a Certificate of Sposnorship (CoS) are identified. If you have already identified someone that you wish to employ, you should provide evidence of the process. If you identified this person as a result of a recruitment process, you should clarify where you advertised the position and provide the details of the recruitment agency if they assisted you with the candidate.
You should confirm whether the person is already working for you (if they are in the UK, for instance, as a student).
You can confirm how you identified this person as the most suitable for the job if you have not advertised the job and the person you wish to employ is not currently working for you.
You can prove to the Home Office that the vacancy is genuine, you clearly understand what duties and responsibilities your candidate is going to have, what qualifications and experience they need to fulfil their work, and you are able to pay the minimum salary required by the Home Office.
This means that the size of the company doesn’t matter! You can apply for a sponsor licence even if you want to hire the second employee to your company.
Sponsor licence application expenses
The fee for a sponsor licence depends on the size and type of the organisation. This application fee is payable every time the sponsor renews their licence (every four years). Fees are usually reviewed annually by the Home Office and may vary once it is time to renew the licence.
To be able to hire skilled workers you need to pay the Home Office fee, which is currently £536 for small or charitable sponsors and £1,476 for medium or large sponsors.
Check if you are considered to be a small or large sponsor here.
Submitting the documents to the Home Office
First, you should scan your submission sheet and other supporting documents. All the documents should be of good quality, clearly readable, and not amended in any way.
They should be sent to the email address given on the submission sheet. Make sure your files:
- are in PDF, JPEG or PNG format
- have descriptive titles, with 25 or fewer characters
- are high enough quality to be read
If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you must include a certified translation.
How long does it take to get a decision?
Most applications are dealt with within 8 weeks. The Home Office may need to visit your business and schedule an audit on the site at the registered office address.
Additionally, you may be able to pay £500 to get a decision within 10 working days—in this case, the Home Office will notify you about this option.
Once the licence is granted, you can proceed with hiring the candidate using your sponsorship licence.
Streamline the skilled worker sponsorship process with expert support
Leveraging the talent of sponsored employees can elevate your business to the next level and help you gain an edge over your competitors. But, the process of sponsoring skilled workers can be stressful for you and your applicants.
At Nation.better, our team of immigration experts make this process streamlined and stress-free through our end-to-end sponsorship management solution, including sponsor licence support, complimentary candidate assessment, CoS and visa application support, and a sponsorship compliance platform.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact our team.