Our immigration team was approached by a well-known financial company that offers services of short term consumer loans, looking to make a Sponsor Licence application.
After experiencing continued growth, the company subsequently faced significant challenges in hiring suitable personnel. In particular, considerable amounts of their IT related work suffered due to shortage of staff, thereby hindering the growth of the entire company.
Our head of Business Immigration, Dr Lusine Navarsardyan, was the first port of contact. Her extensive experience in corporate law provided her with the knowledge and expertise to rapidly grasp the business structure of the client, their business development method, their workforce needs. Following a detailed discussion with the client, Dr Navasardyan provided them with advice with regards to the requirements to sponsoring overseas workers. Dr Navasardyan explained that the first step would be to secure a sponsorship licence and went through the steps required for making a successful Sponsor Licence application.
Following the initial discussion, Dr Navasardyan, together with other members of the team, began the preparatory stages of the case.
Sponsor Licence: When you need to have it
Any UK based organisation that is looking to hire an overseas candidate, who is not an EEA national and who does not already have an existing leave allowing them to work, needs to hold a Sponsor Licence.
It was evident from the present case that it was absolutely fundamental to secure a sponsorship licence. This was primarily due to the fact that the client owned a large business which was heavily dependent on particular a high-value skill of which there is a shortage in the UK. Moreover, the client had already faced significant issues with recruitment, thereby resulting in serious hindrance to their business development.
It was immediately apparent from such circumstances that obtaining the Sponsorship Licence is a necessity and could not be avoided.
Given the fact that the client had previously gone through a significant period in which they failed to fill their skill requirements, our Immigration team simultaneously acknowledged the fact that the completion of the application had to be expeditious and successful. If a Sponsorship Licence application has been refused, in most cases a company is prevented from making an application for 6 months. Being aware of this, our immigration lawyers understood the need to put in a very strong application to ensure the successful outcome.
What are the Sponsorship Licence requirements?
After determining the need for the Licence, our specialist Sponsorship Licence lawyers had to assess the circumstances of the company to determine whether it satisfied the requirements for the Sponsorship Licence.
To secure sponsorship Licence, an organisation needs to prove:
- They are a genuine organisation legally operating in the UK.
To ensure that the client satisfied the above requirement, our immigration lawyers examined the organisation’s registrations, considered their history and legal requirements with regards to authorisations and regulatory registrations.
- They are capable of meeting the Sponsor duties.
Our business immigration solicitors took the necessary time to carefully consider the policies and procedures of the client in order to assess whether they would be able to demonstrate that they were capable of meeting the Sponsor duties. Our team made recommendations on the areas in which they considered required improvement.
- They are able to demonstrate genuine need for Sponsorship Licence.
Our team worked closely with the client to obtain evidence of their struggles during the recruitment process. In this particular case, the client did not have any potential overseas candidates identified, thereby making it increasingly difficult to prove the need for a Sponsorship Licence. As a result, it was critical to ensure that a strong case was constructed in order to fulfil this fundamental requirement.
- They offer a genuine vacancy that meets the Tier 2 skill level requirement and are able pay the salary appropriate for that job.
Our immigration lawyers examined the list of vacancies of the client and, in a hierarchical structure, set them out on a chart. Additionally, on a separate cover letter, we highlighted the requirements of skill and experience of each respective position and the implications that each vacancy would have on the overall performance of the organisation. Furthermore, we illustrated the strong financial position of the firm by exhibiting their ability to pay the required salary.
In order to satisfy each of the aforementioned requirements, our lawyers worked closely with the client to ensure that the necessary evidence was present, ready for submission.
As part of Sponsorship Licence application, the applicant organisation must demonstrate that they have appointed ‘key personnel’. They key personal must be of good character and dependable and meet certain requirements related to their decision making ability: The key personnel that must be nominated are:
- Authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who operate the Sponsor Licence Management System (SMS)
- Key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). In most cases we advise that this is either the Level 1 user or the Authorising officer.
- Level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS
To assist the Client with appointing the correct people on each post, our lawyers considered the organisational structure and the decision making hierarchy, after which we made our recommendations.
Sponsor Licence Application process and timelines
Once the preparatory process was concluded, the team proceeded with the submission. The sponsor licence application process involves an online application followed by the sending of supporting evidence to the Home Office.
Following the submission of the online application, the team prepared the evidential bundle alongside a detailed cover letter which set out the company’s background, explaining the factual circumstances of the company and demonstrating how each of the requirements are satisfied.
Due to the time limit in which the evidence needs to be sent to the Home Office, our immigration lawyers always ensure that the evidence is ready to be sent prior to the submission of the online application.
Following the submission, the team advised the client on the timeline. Since the client was trading in the financial sector and was a reputable business, it was assessed to be a low risk applicant. As a result, our lawyers advised that it was highly unlikely that the Home Office would make a visit prior to making their decision as such inspections are more common with high risk firms. We then explained to the client that we expect a quick response to the application due to the fact that it contained strong evidence and was well presented. Indeed, within 2 weeks the client notified us that they had received the Sponsorship Licence.
Follow up work
Having secured sponsorship licence for our client, our immigration team knew that it was only half of the job. The organisation was a large one and had significant need for fresh recruitment.Our experienced immigration lawyers understood that they would soon start recruiting from abroad and as such, the organisation would become heavily dependent on the Licence.
There are significant duties that sponsor licence holder is undertaking, once they are registered as such. Any failure to discharge those duties may lead to suspension or even revocation of the licence. Therefore, having a full understanding of these duties is essential.
To ensure that the Licence will not be jeopardised by non compliance, we carried out an on site mock audit for the client, to test Client’s readiness to carry out Sponsor duties. We then organised a training session with the relevant personnel of the company to ensure they had full understanding of their duties and how to abide by them.
We continue to be retained by the client on ongoing basis to provide assistance and support, thereby ensuring that they will not fall short of Home Office expectations in respect of sponsor licence holders.
To find out more about how we can assist you with obtaining a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence or managing your compliance, please contact our London office on 020 3372 5125 or complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment. Find out more information on our fees here.