Although the sponsorship route may appear to be an intimidating process for many companies, the sponsorship application itself is not a complex process. In the following article I'll explain the three key stages to follow.

Applying for a Sponsor Licence

The company must submit an online application form and, once this has been completed, send the relevant supporting evidence to the Home Office via email within five working days of the date of submission of the application.

If sponsor licence applications are refused, it is not generally because the application itself is ineligible. Rather, it’s usually because the supporting documentary evidence isn’t in the correct format or because the supporting evidence fails to meet the requisite standards set by the Home Office. It’s therefore recommended that legal advice is taken at the time of preparing the sponsorship licence application in order to avoid unnecessary refusals.

 Applying for a sponsorship licence is the first hurdle in the process, and a refusal at this early stage can create significant difficulties for companies. A refusal will delay the company in hiring their ideal candidate, which will personally impact that individual. Not only will this create stress for those involved in the application process, but a delay will also negatively affect the productivity of the business.

It is important to note that in some instances, a refusal of a sponsor licence application can lead to a bar of six months on submitting new applications. This bar will have a knock-on effect for the company in terms of productivity and delaying future applications.

Certificate of Sponsorship

Once the sponsor licence has been granted, the company must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the migrant workers they are seeking to sponsor. Certificates of Sponsorship may be of “defined” or “undefined” nature, and the applicable Certificate will depend on the migrant worker’s circumstances and the route under which they are applying. 

This stage also presents challenges. Mistakes include assigning the incorrect type of Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant worker or making substantial errors when providing the worker’s personal and job details. In order to rectify these errors, a company must withdraw the initial Certificate and assign a new one. Withdrawals and re-assignments are time-consuming and create avoidable additional costs that the company must bear themselves.    

Work Visa application

Once the Certificate of Sponsorship has been assigned, the migrant worker will be in a position to submit their work visa application, whether that is under the Skilled Worker or Global Business Mobility route.

The visa application entails submitting an online application form and supporting documents. Once the application has been submitted, the migrant worker may be required to attend a biometric appointment, where their fingerprints and photo are collected. The Home Office has introduced the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app, which allows some individuals, depending on their nationality, location and the type of application, to complete their ID check from home as opposed to attending an in-person biometric appointment at a visa application centre.

As with previous stages, this step requires special attention. Basic requirements must be satisfied, including the relevant skill level; salary requirements; English Language Requirement; and the Financial Maintenance Requirement. In addition, depending on the migrant worker’s location and occupation, further individual-specific evidential requirements, such as TB tests and criminal record certificates, must be satisfied.

The Home Office aims to make a decision within three weeks of applications being submitted outside the UK and within eight weeks of applications being submitted inside the UK.

 For more information, watch this video we created in partnership with boutique global search and advisory firm Venari Partners.

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