The UK Home Office has granted more than 2,000 sponsor licences to eligible organisations since July 2020. The total number of licenced sponsors has now increased to 33,000, which allows them to sponsor a worker under either the Skilled Worker or the Intra Company Transfer visa.
Why is a sponsor licence important for 2021?
Since the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, all organisations now require a sponsor licence to sponsor individuals arriving from outside the UK. This is a significant change for EU nationals who were previously able to enter the UK without any restrictions under the Freedom of Movement directive.
Organisations have previously been able to maximise their growth potential by hiring from overseas. This has meant reliance on EU and non-EU nationals, hiring both of whom now require a sponsor licence.
The importance of a sponsor licence was also highlighted by the UK government who made several changes to the sponsor licence system on 2 December 2020. The changes have made it easier to sponsor individuals to the UK. In the past year, the Government has also sent emails to numerous organisations informing them of the need to seek a licence if they intend to continue hiring from outside the UK.
Existing Sponsor Licence holders
Organisations which hold a sponsor licence must ensure that their details are up to date. This means making sure that their relevant branches, entities, and overseas linked entities have been added to the licence.
They must also ensure that only eligible employees/personnel appear on the Sponsor Management System.
If they intend to continue hiring in 2021/2022, they should also seek a renewal of their yearly Certificate of Sponsorship allocation. This allows organisations to hire quickly from within the UK, without seeking an in-year allocation increase.
The UK Home Office considers the grant of a sponsor licence as a relationship of trust between the organisation and them. This is because it allows organisations to assign Certificates of Sponsorship with minimal additional checks from the Home Office.
To ensure that the sponsor licence system is not misused, the Home Office conducts compliance checks (announced and unannounced) to ensure that organisations are meeting their sponsor duties and reporting requirements.
Therefore, organisations should have regular oversight over their sponsor licences and report any changes to job roles, company structures, company name and key personnel. A full list of the reporting duties is included in the Home Office guidance to sponsors.
Need Sponsor Licence Support?
We provide comprehensive support from an early stage of applying for a licence and continue to assist in maintaining the sponsor license. Our team provides ad-hoc advice on any queries as well as providing training to relevant personnel.
For organisations that require a more hands-on approach, our team members can act as Level 1 users, and assign Certificates of Sponsorship on the company’s behalf and supporting the immigration applications of employees.
In the previous two months, we have assisted more than 5 companies in obtaining a sponsor licence, with most applications being decided within a week of the submission of supporting documents. We also ensure that once the sponsor licence is obtained, the organisation can then use it effectively to support their growing talent requirements.
Find out more about our top ranked business immigration team services