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Sponsorship Licence for British Restaurant

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My restaurant was very popular but we were struggling because of staff shortages. I decided to employ foreign specialists fit for the job. However, when I started digging deeper, I realised it was not that easy to employ foreigners. In fact, you need to do loads of things. I got in touch with Imperial & Legal and the rest is history.

Edward Johnson, a 52-year-old
Restaurant owner
Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Edward Johnson is a restaurant owner in a Cheshire town. The coronavirus pandemic caused staff shortages. Unfortunately, most job applicants are either young specialists without any experience or not ready to commit long-term and move to Cheshire. They are also unfamiliar with the cooking techniques and spices that the restaurant is famous for.

Mr Johnson decides to search for new workers abroad, but he does not want to break any immigration rules. The restaurant has already been fined, under a previous owner, for employing foreign workers without a UK work permit. 

Our Client

Edward Johnson runs a fine-dining restaurant in Cheshire. Though it is quite remote, it is still very popular and is always fully booked. The coronavirus pandemic has hit Mr Johnson`s business hard. Now, he is looking for full-time qualified staff.

The Challenge

Mr Johnson contacted Imperial & Legal to get help with employing foreign specialists while avoiding mistakes made by the previous owner.

The Solution

Mr Johnson told us that he was looking for several specialists, including a restaurant manager, a floor manager and cooks. All UK-based candidates refused to move to Cheshire.

Mr Johnson was forced to look for staff abroad. It was important for him to find not only good specialists but also do it legally. The restaurant had already tarnished its reputation once, and Mr Johnson did not want the history to repeat itself.

Imperial & Legal’s experts reviewed the restaurant’s employment policy, with attention to what documents are requested before signing the contract, how personnel attendance is monitored and how the relevant documents are stored.

Mr Johnson did his best to comply with all the employment laws of the country. However, he still made a common mistake. He employed his staff based on their driving licence, and sometimes without any further document checks. 

Even though a person can look and speak like a British national, they are not necessarily UK citizens or have permission to work in the country. They could have just stayed in the UK for a long time without acquiring any official immigration status. To avoid unpleasant surprises during the Home Office’s inspections, an employer must ensure that job applicants are legal workers. An ID would normally suffice to establish this.

A driving licence is not a work permit in the UK; it only confirms a person’s address and says nothing about their citizenship or immigration status.

To learn more about employment procedures, Imperial & Legal advisors recommend referring to the official checklist on the government website. In this case, you will never be blacklisted by the Home Office.

Our advisors gave Mr Johnson recommendations on how to improve his HR management system so that he could get a sponsorship licence. As for employment procedures, we recommended Mr Johnson check his employees’ residence status as soon as possible and ensure that all the necessary documents are kept by the HR department both in paper and electronic formats. Imperial & Legal’s experts showed our client a special system for tracking foreign employees’ visa expiration dates and an online database for work permits available on the government website. These can help in dealing with authorities.

Imperial & Legal’s advisors prepared all the documents for obtaining a sponsorship licence and walked Mr Johnson through the key requirements of the sponsorship management system that each sponsor must adopt.

Imperial & Legal’s advisors collected and prepared the necessary documents (bank statements, tax registration certificates, audited annual accounts, etc.), filled in and submitted a sponsorship licence application. In the end, Mr Johnson’s restaurant was registered as a sponsor in 10 working days under an accelerated procedure.

Restaurant owner gets a British sponsorship licence in 29 days

16 August
Contacted Imperial & Legal
+2 weeks
Documents are prepared
under 10 working days via fast-track service
Sponsorship licence is granted
14 September
Mr Johnson gets the licence


With a sponsorship licence in hand, the restaurant is already looking for foreign specialists to employ them legally by issuing them certificates of sponsorship.

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