Attracting and retaining talent is a constant challenge for many businesses. Often, people who have the right skills and qualifications reside outside the EEA. To hire workers from non-EEA countries on a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa, you will need a valid UK Sponsor Licence.
The application process is strict and keeping your Sponsor Licence requires committing to a rigorous compliance regime which requires that your HR processes and procedures run smoothly and effectively.
Over the next two weeks, we will be blogging about applying for and maintaining a UK Sponsor Licence. In addition, we will discuss the steps that a Sponsor Licence holder must take to employ a foreign worker.
This article details how to apply for a UK Sponsor Licence and the processes and procedures you must put in place to ensure you meet the compliance requirements.
It is important to note that being granted a Sponsor Licence does not automatically mean that the international recruit will be granted a Tier 2 or 5 visa.
How the issuing of UK Sponsor Licences are regulated
The eligibility and suitability criteria for obtaining a sponsor licence are not found in statute law nor in the Immigration Rules; they are mainly contained within the long and regularly changing Sponsor Guidance for Tiers 2 and 5 (SG), and in the supplementary guidance on the UK Visas and Immigration pages of the GOV.UK website.
The key principles are that a potential sponsor must:
The application procedure
When applying for a Sponsor Licence under Tiers 2 and 5, a business will work through the following process:
Key Personnel and HR processes
Organisations applying for a Sponsor Licence must decide who in their organisation will take on the following roles:
These roles can be fulfilled by the same person. An immigration solicitor can act as a Key Contact, and Level 1 and 2 user but at least one member of staff must be a Level 1 user of the Sponsor Management System.
There must always be an Authorising Officer, Key Contact and Level 1 user in place; it is important to be mindful of this if staff members holding these positions leave the organisation.
There are a several reporting and record-keeping duties that must be complied with to ensure your Sponsor Licence maintains its 'A' rating. At application stage, it is imperative that your HR systems are up-to-date, organised and able to cope with the additional duties required after your business has been granted a Sponsor Licence - these will be discussed in detail in a later post;
Support for your Tier 2 and 5 Sponsor Licence application process
Most organisations find it beneficial to invest in a consultant who understands immigration law and the decision-making processes of immigration officials when making an application for a Sponsor Licence. A consultant can assist you by:
Obtaining a Sponsor Licence for your organisation is an exciting move forward. If granted, it can provide your business with the ability to recruit talent from all over the globe, a move that can provide the skills and expertise needed to drive your company forward.
In our next blog, we will be discussing the compliance requirements of a Sponsor Licence and how to ensure you maintain your 'A' rating
The team at Reiss Edwards consists of some of London's leading immigration lawyers. If you require expert legal advice on obtaining a UK Tier 2 and 5 Sponsor Licence, please call us on 020 3744 2797.
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