Under the Points Based System UK employers have to be granted a sponsorship licence by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) before they can employ non-EEA workers. Employers who do not have a sponsor licence will be unable to hire new workers from outside the EU or extend work permits for current employees.

Why sponsorship licence applications are refused:

  • Failure to pass a UKVI compliance audit
  • Failure to have retained the required documentation on sponsored migrants
  • Failure to have advised UKVI of significant changes to company structure and personnel
  • Failing to respond to UKVI’s enquiries in a timely manner
  • Failure to pass the ‘genuineness test’
  • Failure to comply with UKVI security standards

What do employers have to do?

To apply for a sponsorship licence, employers must prove that:

  • They are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK.
  • Their key personnel named on the sponsor application are honest, dependable and reliable.
  • They are aware of and capable of carrying out their visa sponsorship duties ie they have appropriate human resources and recruitment systems and practices in place.
  • They are offering genuine employment that meets the Tier 2 (General) skill level and appropriate rates of pay.

Employers must complete an online licence application and provide supporting documentation to meet the necessary evidentiary requirements. This must be supplied within five days of the initial application.

Failure to submit all required documents will result in an application being delayed or rejected and further costs being incurred.

Following the receipt of these documents, the company may then be subject to a compliance visit from UKVI, who will assess whether or not to grant the sponsorship licence.

Companies will also be required to comply with the illegal working requirements which states that all non-EU employees are required to provide documentation that proves their right to work BEFORE being employed by a UK company and copies of this information must also be retained by the employer.