Brexit is expected to take effect in March 2019. When it takes effect, EU citizens may no longer be allowed to work or live in the United Kingdom without a license. Basically, it will become more difficult for British businesses to fill job vacancies with non-native workers.
If the changes to EU citizens rights to work in the UK are handled in the same way as non-EEA (European Economic Area) workers, they may be required to apply for a sponsorship license.
Applying for a sponsorship license is a complicated process. As a matter of fact, 15% of current applications are rejected. Fortunately, immigration lawyers in London such as Edgewater Legal can help employers secure a successful sponsorship application.
These are the four steps in applying for a sponsor license:
Check if you are eligible
Businesses or employers are only allowed to apply for a license if they:
- Have not been convicted for immigration offences and other crimes, including fraud or money laundering
- Have not failed, in any instance, to carry out sponsorship duties
Businesses or employers need appropriate systems to monitor sponsored employees. Moreover, the UK Visas and Immigration office will review your application and check all your supporting documents. They may also visit your business to determine your ability to carry out sponsorship duties.
Choose the type of licence
Basically, there are three different tiers that determine the type of license you will apply for. Tier 1 refers to entrepreneurs or exceptional talent either looking to start a business or specialise in a specific field. Tier 2 refers to skilled workers with long-term job offers and Tier 5 involves skilled temporary workers.
Tier 1 includes (1) entrepreneurs looking to start or run their own business with access to at least £50,000 of investment funds (2) indiviuals that have been endorsed in their field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts as a recognised leader or emerging leader (3) a graduate who has been officially endorsed as having a genuine and credible business idea.
Tier 2 includes (1) general work (2) intra-company transfer or companies that need to transfer employees to UK (3) minister of religion or people involved in religious commitment and (4) sportsperson, including players and coaches who will be based in the UK.
On the other hand, Tier 5 involves (1) the creative sector, such as entertainers and artists (2) charity (3) religious, including pastors (4) government authorized exchange and (5) international agreement.
Employers can apply for a licence covering one tier only or multiple tiers.
Determine the managers
It is a must for businesses to appoint people who will manage the sponsorship process. They will use the sponsorship management system (SMS). The roles are as follows:
- Authorising officer – oversees the staff and representatives who are operating the SMS
- Key contact – your contact person with UK Visas and Immigration
- Level 1 user – manages your license daily using the SMS
These roles can be filled by one or more person. A level 2 user can also be appointed but with more restricted access to SMS.
Of course, the appointees should undergo a suitability check to determine if they are suitable for the role.
Apply and pay
Applying for the licence is done online. You need to print out the submission sheet at the end of the online application and post it to the UK Visas and Immigration, along with the required supporting documents. Businesses should provide at least four documents which are original or certified copies. Most applications are dealt in with in less than 8 weeks. Moreover, you need to pay a fee for the application. Fees vary according to the size of your business or company.