The latest report from Manpower Group demonstrates a growing skills shortage with three in four employers stating that they are finding difficulty in recruiting the expertise they need for their businesses. As the pool of skilled workers in the UK reduces companies will have to look further afield to fill vacancies.
A pro-active route to solving the problem and expanding your business is to apply for a Sponsor Licence to facilitate the employment of overseas workers that hold or wish to apply for a skilled worker visa. In order to obtain a Sponsor Licence, the business will need to be able to fulfil the criteria set out by the Home Office. There are two different types of Sponsor Licence and initially a decision must be made as to the type of Sponsor Licence that is most suitable for your business. The immigration lawyers in Giambrone & Partners suggest that the skilled worker visa enables the broadest scope of skills to be available.
Kavina Munja, immigration department, commented “many businesses will already have some of the provisions in place that are required by the Home Office for the application of a Sponsor Licence, such as an unblemished record with no criminal offences for both the business and the key employees tasked with implementing, overseeing and managing the skilled workers, having a proficient human resources department and having genuine vacancies.” Kavina further commented “a business applying for a Sponsorship Licence will be subject to period monitoring to ensure that the criteria are still being met. A business must meet both the eligibility criteria and the suitability criteria”
A business must be able to support an application for a Sponsorship Licence and provide the following:
- The business must be based in the UK operating as PLC, LTD, LLP or Sole Trader
- Evidence that the business is trading lawfully in the UK
- Be able to appoint honest employees to monitor the skilled workers visa holders in the capacity of Authorising Officer, Key Contact and Level 1 User.
- Be able to monitor your employees’ immigration status
- Hold copies of relevant documents relating to each skilled worker visa holder, including right to work information
- Be able to monitor and hold employee’s attendance records
- Maintain accurate skilled workers visa holders’ contact details
- Be prepared to report to UKVI any relevant changes such as an employee not coming to work without a valid reason
A business must decide the type of Sponsor Licence required and provide the appropriate documents to support the application. There are a number of documents that may be required, following is not an exhaustive list:
- Evidence that your business is both genuine and actively trading
- Evidence that you have a business bank account with a bank that is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority
- A VAT registration certificate
- Copies of contracts of business covering a 12-month period prior to the application
- Evidence of a business expansion programme in the UK
In order to implement the employment of skilled worker visa holders under a Sponsorship Licence the Home Office requires the appointment of an Authorising Officer which is expected to be a senior person within the organisation with significant experience with recruitment and human resources. The person in this role will be ultimately responsible for both the licence and for maintaining duties of the Sponsorship Licence.
In addition, a Key Contact who will be the primary contact for the Home Office must also be appointed. Generally, a legal professional is appointed to fulfil this role.
A Level 1 User, the person responsible for the routine daily management of the Sponsor Licence through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS), the online portal. Initially the person appointed must already be an employee of the business at the time of appointment. Once the Sponsor Licence has been approved and assigned, other individuals can be appointed including your legal representatives. Level 2 Users may also be able to take on certain limited tasks.
The individuals appointed to these roles must be of good character and have an untainted record with no criminal record or adverse engagement with the Home Office.
It is possible in certain circumstances at representatives from the UKVI may conduct a compliance visit at your premises in order to assess your ability to meet the sponsorship requirements
Kavina has considerable experience related to immigration applications and has a comprehensive range of knowledge and expertise. She has successfully dealt with complex immigration appeals in the jurisdiction of England and Wales.