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How Long Does It Take To Get A Sponsor Licence (and the renewal processing time frames)

The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence offers employers great flexibility to employ staff from across the globe in order to access skills that may not be available locally. With such an amazing level of flexibility, there is clearly going to be an exhaustive application process for businesses that wish to apply. So, in this article, we are going to look at the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in a little more detail. We will look at the application processing times and licence renewals so that you can gain a greater understanding of what is an ideal option for businesses that need technical skills that are not available locally.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application

If you wish to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, you will need to make an online application. This application will take into account the nature of your business and the employees within it to ensure that it is suitable. While there is little in the way of eligibility criteria to meet to gain a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, you will be expected to provide originals or certified copies of the documents laid out below:

  • Details of the rent or lease agreement for the business premises
  • Business bank statements for a period of at least 6 months
  • Registration Certificates for PAYE, NI and VAT if applicable
  • Proof of employer's liability insurance
  • Accounts for the last year of trading

Apart from this documentation, the company actually requires relatively little in the way of oversight. You will, however, need to nominate 1 or 2 people in your business who will be responsible for the administration of the system and the provision of Certificates of Sponsorship. These, as you can imagine, cannot be the jobs that you intend to advertise with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.

How Long Does It Take To Process Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application?

The application process for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence can be lodged online and is relatively straightforward (though we can help with this if you are concerned). The process takes around half an hour and once completed, needs to be printed out and posted to the address given. You will also need to pay the appropriate fee for your application which will either be £536 for small businesses (defined as having fewer than 50 employees and having a turnover of less than £10.2m per year) or £1,476 for larger companies.

Once received, your application will be processed in around 8 weeks (UKVI state that around 8 in 10 applications are processed in this time frame). Of course, if there are complexities or questions over your business then this process will likely take longer, and you should take this into account for your long-term planning. UKVI may also choose to visit your business address as part of your application process. You should prepare for this instance and ensure that your application is completed accurately in order to avoid any problems with your application. It is important that you understand that UKVI keeps accurate records, and if they feel that there is a problem that has not been highlighted, it may count against you at a later date.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Renewals

The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is initially approved for 4 years. At the end of this period, you must renew your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The Sponsorship Management System or SMS will keep you up to date as to the expiry date of your current visa as well as being the main interface that you will use to administer the licence (i.e. provide information and create Certificates of Sponsorship).

If it is time to renew your licence, you will be able to do this via the Sponsorship Management System up to 3 months before the expiry of your current licence. As well as being able to lodge the application through the system, you will also be able to pay the applicable fee.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Responsibilities

As you can imagine, the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence comes with a significant level of responsibility. In order to offer Certificates of Sponsorship to prospective employees, Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders must first establish that there are no domestic workers who can fulfil the role. In order to do this, they must first apply what is known as a resident labour market test. This test is applied by advertising a role on two separate job boards (one of which must be the government's own) and keep notes on why any domestic workers were unsuitable.

Another very important responsibility for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders is maintaining accurate information on their visa holding staff. Information such as changes of address, absences from work and other important details must be kept up to date on the management system. Failure to keep this accurate information could result in severe punishment for your business. As well as short term issues, you could also face longer-term problems if you do not administer your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence correctly.

Getting More Help

If you need help with any part of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence scheme then please get in touch. Our team of immigration lawyers have years of experience dealing with the visa and can help you to administer it correctly so that you always stay compliant. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.

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