22 May 2023
Despite the fragile economy and various different redundancy programmes there is still a shortage of skilled labour in the UK job market. If you are an employer you must check before onboarding a new employee that they have the right to work in the UK (usually seeing the UK passport answers this question). If you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK, it is punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment and payment of a fine of up to £20,000 per illegally employed person. So, if you want to recruit someone from abroad then legally you will need a sponsorship licence and the most common route will be the Skilled Visa route.
To secure a UK visa sponsorship licence, you will need to make an application to the Home Office and pay the relevant fees. It sounds easy but brace yourself because the detailed rules and guidance are encapsulated in the Home Office’s 200-page Sponsor Guidance document, the ‘Workers and Temporary Workers: Guidance for Sponsors’ which also come with multiple additional supporting appendices.
In the forest of paper lie the details of what a sponsor licence allows, how to make an application, the documents you should upload or email in, the time limits and what sponsors are required by law to do to comply with the sponsor licence duties. In the unlikely event that you stay awake having read through all of it you will be forgiven for still remaining perplexed by the myriad of conflicting rules and complex terminology. Assuming your application is perfect and processed in the normal timeframe then you will receive your sponsorship licence after eight weeks, unless you manage to expedite it using the Home Office lottery system.
Licence Expedition Lottery
In the immediate aftermath of your putting in an application (and before its allocation) you can on a daily basis play the expedition lottery. This involves emailing an additional form to a specific email address at 9am every morning until your application is allocated. The first 30 pre-licence applications received win the chance to expedite their application for the price of £500, which must be paid within 72 hours via World pay link. To be successful though your application needs to be perfect otherwise you will be put back on the slow track.
The Home Office will then decide against its eligibility and suitability criteria whether your organisation can be a sponsor. Assuming that goes through you will then have the chance to apply for a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship (if they are outside the UK) or an undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (if inside the UK). The role will have to be eligible. Jobs that are eligible under the skilled worker route are listed in the new Appendix Skilled worker, and identified by a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and ‘related job titles’ and comply with certain minimum salary requirements.
Failure to assign the correct type of Certificate of Sponsorship is in breach of the guidelines and can result in penalties. For example, sponsors are not permitted to assign an undefined CoS where a defined CoS is required, or a defined CoS to a worker for any job other than the one detailed in the CoS application. You may also lose your sponsorship licence.
Are we there yet?
Once assigned a CoS, the individual must use this reference number to make their Home Office visa application. Once this is approved you are all ready to go.
How can Phillips Law help?
Phillips Law offers a bespoke service tailored to your budget and what you are able to do with or without assistance. We remain with you every step of the way. We also assist with preparation for and passing of the audits conducted routinely by UK Visa and Immigration office.
For more information contact: [email protected] or call 01256 854626
Please call us or email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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