So, your business is expanding and you need skilled workers from abroad. Let’s take a look at what to expect. Some immigrants in the UK obtain work permits and can enter the labor market freely. However, if you want to hire specific workers from abroad or students who are about to finish their studies, you will need to complete an application for sponsor licence. This is a digital licence from the Home Department to confirm that you can hire international workers.
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash
Would my company need a sponsor licence?
If you hire or plan to hire workers from outside the UK, you will need a licence. In the past, if you hired people for roles that were considered highly skilled, or certain professional industries, you needed a licence.
Going forward, the sponsor licence can be used for RFQ level 3 staff or higher, not just RFQ level 6 and up, which means more international workers can now be sponsored.
As many companies will no longer be able to rely on recruiting immigrants from the EU, it is recommended that businesses obtain sponsorship licences to meet staffing requirements. Once obtained, the licence is valid for four years and then needs to be renewed.
What documentation and setup do I need?
The Home Department would like to know a few things about your business:
• Do you have sufficient human resources procedures and personnel responsible for renewing and maintaining your sponsor licence?
• Evidence about how your company is organized and information about why you need to hire foreign workers.
• Proof of the most recent annual accounts, any permits required for your company’s operations, etc.
In some cases, the government will conduct an unannounced compliance visit to check whether your company’s facilities and procedures meet the description, so you want everything to be in order before you apply.
What happens when I obtain my sponsor licence?
Then you must apply to the Home Department for the distribution of a certificate of the sponsor. Each certificate represents the workers you can hire. When applying to assign a certificate to a candidate, the Home Department will need information about how the candidate is recruited and whether they are suitable for the position.
Once the certificate is obtained, the candidate must apply directly to the Home department. After this, they can work for you in the UK.
Am I now ready to employ foreign workers?
Almost. As a sponsor, you are responsible for maintaining clean and up-to-date records of your employees.
• You must ensure that you pay correctly.
• Employees must work in facilities approved by the Home Department.
Any major changes in job responsibilities, income, or unapproved absences must be reported. If the Ministry of the Interior believes that the employer has violated their licence, it can:
• Ask them to pay a large fee for an action plan to solve any problems
•Revocation of the licence and the sponsor would have to apply for a new licence.
These applications take time, so it is best to start considering obtaining a sponsor license as soon as possible.