To a non-business owner you would think it would be simple. If a business needs to recruit migrant workers because it cannot fill its job vacancies with UK workers then it should be able to do so with the minimum of fuss and expense. 

The top London immigration solicitors will tell you that applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is not always straightforward or easy, even for experienced business owners. What is so hard about sorting out paperwork for the Home Office Sponsor Licence? The best London immigration solicitors say that the Home Office immigration Rules surrounding applying for a Sponsor Licence are a bit of a minefield, even for an experienced human resources director or a chief executive officer who knows exactly what his or her business needs to do to grow and increase profitability through recruitment.

On the 24 May 2019, UK Visas and immigration published the Sponsorship transparency data on immigration sponsorship activities for the first quarter of 2019. Whilst the Sponsor Licence application statistics make fascinating reading for the top London immigration solicitors the bottom line is that, without expert legal advice, applying for a Sponsor Licence remains a time consuming and frustrating process for UK business owners.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

The business immigration team at OTS Solicitors are experts in applying for Tier 2 Sponsor Licences. Clients range from multinationals to start-ups with the specialist Sponsor Licence team having substantial experience in sorting out the paperwork required for each type of Sponsor Licence application.

The dedicated Sponsor Licence team at OTS Solicitors will take all the hassle out of applying for a Sponsor Licence, leaving HR directors and business owners free to concentrate on the daily grind of operating a successful business and leaving them to focus their efforts on the company recruitment and business needs.

The central London based business immigration team at OTS Solicitors provides seamless advice on Sponsor Licence applications, Tier 2 visa applications and offer a Sponsor Licence management service as well as conducting and approving Resident Labour Market Tests. 

For more information on applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence or any other aspect of business immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London business immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.

Who needs to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence? 

The short answer to the question “who needs to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?” is any employer who wants to recruit non-EEA nationals to work in the UK.

A Tier 2 Sponsor Licence from the Home Office authorises the employer to recruit non EEA nationals provided that the employer complies with the conditions and responsibilities imposed by the Home Office under the Sponsor Licence scheme.

The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence 

The best London immigration solicitors say that a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence enables an employer to recruit non-EEA nationals who are skilled workers. There are different types of Tier 2 visas namely:

• General Tier 2 visas - the job must meet Home Office job suitability criteria; and 

• Intra-Company Transfer visas - for multinational companies who want to transfer employees to work in the UK.

Applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence 

Applying for a Sponsor Licence can seem a bit daunting. That is because when a business owner reads about the duties and responsibilities of a Sponsor Licence holder it can feel as if the Home Office are subcontracting the role of immigration control to the Sponsor Licence applicant.

The best London immigration solicitors say that there are a number of requirements that a business owner or employer has to satisfy before they can obtain a Sponsor Licence. As importantly, the Sponsor Licence applicant has to submit the paperwork and supporting documents with their Sponsor Licence application to prove that they satisfy the Home Office Sponsor Licence requirements.

Applying for a Sponsor Licence – the requirements

In order for an employer to secure a Sponsor Licence, they must be able to prove that:

• They are a genuine trading business entity;

• The business is based in the UK;

• The business is a legitimate business and operates within UK law;

• The business has conducted a resident labour market test and failed to recruit the workers needed from the resident UK Employment market. The best London immigration solicitors say that the majority of rejected Sponsor Licence applications fail because the Home Office is not satisfied that the Resident Labour Market Test has been conducted appropriately. Specialist immigration solicitors can conduct and approve the Resident Labour Market Test to avoid the Sponsor Licence application being rejected for failure to meet the stringent Resident Labour Market Test criteria set by the Home Office;

• The business key personnel does not have a history of immigration non-compliance or any relevant criminal convictions; 

• The business has human resource procedures and recruitment practises in place to meet the Sponsor Licence duties and to monitor migrant employees through the Employment of key Sponsor Licence managers or the use of a Sponsor Licence management service;

• The business will be offering Employment to non-EEA migrant workers that is genuine work and work that is in accordance with Tier 2 visa skill levels and rates of pay.

The best London immigration solicitors recommend that before an employer applies for a Sponsor Licence, an audit is undertaken of the business policy and procedures. This audit can reveal any areas where extra work or paperwork to document HR procedures is required. A thorough audit by business immigration solicitors can avoid a Sponsor Licence application being rejected by the Home Office.   

Submitting a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application 

Once a business has the correct personnel and procedures in place and everything is properly documented the Sponsor Licence application can be submitted to the Home Office.

Getting the paperwork right is just as vital as making sure that the business applies for the correct Sponsor Licence to meet its future recruitment needs and can prove that it has the people in place to manage the Sponsor Licence to meet Home Office Sponsor Licence duties and responsibilities.

Sponsor Licence applications and compliance visits 

After an application has been submitted to the Home Office for a Sponsor Licence the UK Visas and immigration department can arrange a compliance visit. A site visit involves the Home Office attending the business premises and assessing whether or not to grant the Sponsor Licence. If a mock audit has been carried out prior to the submission of the Sponsor Licence application then the procedures should be in place to satisfy the Home Office caseworkers during their compliance visit.

Sponsor Licence duties

The top London immigration solicitors tend to think that getting a Sponsor Licence application is the first step in the working relationship with a business owner, whether the company is a start-up business set up by an Entrepreneur or a multinational company that is high tech with thousands of employees

That is because the same Sponsor Licence duties apply to the Sponsor Licence holder, however large the business and however many migrant workers they recruit under Tier 2 visas and Sponsorship Certificates. The Sponsor Licence duties include:

• Checking that overseas employees have the right qualifications to do the work they have been employed to do and to keep copies of the paperwork evidencing their skills and qualifications; and 

• Limit the Certificates of Sponsorship to migrant employees who will be carrying out  a job that is suitable for a Sponsor Licence certificate; and

• Inform UK Visas and immigration (UKVI) if overseas employees who have a Certificate of Sponsorship and Tier 2 visa are not complying with the conditions on their visa; 

• Monitor migrant employees to check their immigration status and continued right to work information and keep copies of the right to work documents as well as a copy of the employee’s passport;

• Track and record attendance of Tier 2 Visa workers;

• Maintain contact details for migrant workers and report issues to the UK Visas and immigration, for example, a migrant employee not coming to work;

• If there are significant changes in the business then they must be reported to UKVI, for example, if the company merges or is taken over or changes the nature of its business. The company must report any significant changes in circumstances within 10 working days.

What happens once a Sponsor Licence application is granted?

The best London immigration solicitors say that a Sponsor Licence lasts for four years unless the Home Office revokes it.

When the Home Office approves a Sponsor Licence, they will give the business an A-rated Sponsor Licence. This licence allows the business to begin assigning Certificates of Sponsorship to non-EEAmigrant workers provided that the company has suitable jobs available.