The most significant change in UK Immigration history is replacing the Tier 2 (General) visa route with the new Skilled Worker Visa. The pathway will be a point-based skilled immigration category, which will commence on Jan 1st, 2021. The UK companies will need a valid sponsor license to recruit overseas skilled workers or Non-UK workers. The government of the UK has published new guidelines for the UK Companies regarding license applications.
If you are a UK Visa holder under Tier 4 Student and Tier 2 visas, then you have the provision to switch your permit to the new UK Skilled Worker visa. Furthermore, overseas skilled workers can also apply for the Skilled Worker visa once their UK based company / UK Employer acquire the sponsor license. The sponsor license is valid for four years, which comes with a renewal option at the end of 4th year.
UK SPONSOR LICENSE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
- Your organization must legally be operating or trading in the UK. If you have multiple branches in the country, you may apply for one license to cover all your entities or get separate permits for each department, depending on the circumstances.
- You must present the evidence that your company is a registered company with the appropriate body, along with the proof that you hold Planning Permission or Local Planning Authority consent to run your business.
- You must convince the Home Office that you can offer genuine employment in a skilled occupation and pay the appropriate remuneration specified by the Home Office.
- Generally, private individuals are not eligible for sponsorship, however, but there is an exception for the applicants who are Sole Traders who wish to sponsor skilled workers in their business.
ADVANTAGES OF UK SPONSOR LICENSE
- The UK sponsor license will permit businesses in the country to employ overseas nationals and skilled professionals.
- Once an organization acquires a sponsor license, they become officially registered with the Home Office as a sponsor. This provision gives more power to recruit, assign, and manage the workforce from overseas.
- The license and influx of overseas skilled professionals will provide the essential and significant successful operation and growth of the business.
- This license is also relevant now due to the end of freedom of movement by the upcoming Brexit. It means that a significant portion of the UK workforce would require sponsorship from Jan 1st, 2021.
MAIN “WORKER” LICENSE CATEGORIES
There are primarily four categories under the “worker” stream of UK Sponsor License:
Skilled Worker (formerly Tier 2 (General)) – The new Skilled Worker route is for skilled migrants who meet the salary threshold and have a valid job offer from the UK employer. This program will begin on Jan 1st, 2021, and provide the UK permanent Residency Permit for the selected applicants.
Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) (formerly Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)) – The ICT program is Long Term visa that allows the skilled professionals to work in the UK branch whose headquarter is outside the UK. Unlike the Skilled Worker Visa, this ICT pathway does not lead to permanent settlement. One can be eligible for the program if you receive £41,500 from the UK Branch with 12 months of working experience in the Headquarters. If your salary package is above £73,900 per annum, you don’t require 12 months of working experience.
The program also has a dedicated Intra-Company transfer Graduate Trainee route. Under this route, the Graduate Trainees can move to UK Branch as part of a graduate training program for a managerial or specialist role. To be eligible, they must have a minimum of 3 months of experience in the overseas company and a salary package of a minimum of £23,000 per annum in the UK.
Sports People – Those who fall under the sports category cannot apply under the Skilled Worker route. The Professional sportspersons and qualified coaches have separate sportspeople routes for their sponsorship in the UK.
Ministers of Religion – This license is for individuals who received a job offer within a faith community in the UK. Roles under teaching, media production, or administration within a faith organization may not qualify for sponsorship as they need to apply for a Skilled Worker license.
UK SPONSOR LICENSE PROCESS
- Like all the UK Business Visa, the primary step is to check the eligibility of the business in the UK
- Choose the type of license you need for sponsorship
- Appoint an Authorizing Officer who is the most senior person responsible for recruitment within the company. The Authorizing Officer can be a Company Director or an HR Manager.
- Also, appoint a Level 1 User responsible for reporting any organization changes and assigning Sponsor Certificate to migrant workers.
- Submit an online application form and the supporting documents—additionally, a covering letter to provide background history of your company.
- If your application is successful, you will receive an A-rating that will empower you to issue sponsorship certificates with recruiting overseas workers.
UK SPONSOR LICENSE DOCUMENTS REQUIREMENTS
You will need to submit a minimum of 4 specified mandatory documents within the below-mentioned list of documents:
- Latest Business Bank Statement
- Employer’s liability insurance of a minimum of £5 million from an authorized insurer
- Certificate of VAT Registration.
- Evidence of registration as an employer with the HMRC
- Proof of ownership or lease of the Business Office or Rent Agreement
- Latest audited or unaudited accounts
- Evidence of your registration to operate lawfully in the UK
For the Intra-Company Transfer sponsor license subcategory, you will need to submit joint ownership between the UK and overseas companies.
UK SPONSOR LICENSE FEE & PROCESSING TIME
- If you are a medium or large organization in the UK, the application fee is £1476
- If you are a small organization or charitable firm in the UK, then the application fee is £536
Below are the criteria for an organization that can qualify under a small organization or charitable firm:
- Annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
- Total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
- Have 50 employees or fewer
Unlike UK Investor Visa, Sponsor license applications’ standard processing time is quick, around eight weeks.