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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

Sponsorship licence

If you are a UK-registered company or education provider and you want to employ or accept foreign workers or students, you have to be licensed. “Foreign” here means non-EEA or Swiss nationals.

Imperial & Legal helps businesses and educators apply and obtain a licence, and make sure they are complying with their obligations as sponsors.

Tier 2 and Tier 5 Sponsor

Getting a sponsorship licence is a first step in the process of hiring a skilled foreign worker, either long-term or temporarily. However, it does not guarantee they will be allowed to come and take employment in the UK. That’s a question of obtaining Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas where we can also help.

We will advise your company on which documents to prepare and submit, on how to make your organisation eligible and how to fulfil your obligations once you get licensed.

Applying for a licence

We will assist you in preparing all necessary documents and make sure you pay the correct fee, in particular the immigration skills charge. At least four pieces of supporting evidence must be submitted with the application such as bank statements, letter from a bank, audited financial accounts, registration with the HMRC, letter from a regulatory body, etc.

The government officials may come to visit your business just to confirm you are a reliable sponsor. So, it is extra important to prepare all paperwork in due manner and have all systems and policies in place.

Eligibility

A potential sponsor applying for a licence has to have clean criminal and immigration records. If you have been licensed previously, you must have been satisfying all sponsorship requirements.

Moreover, you must have people in your business taking required management roles and managing the application procedure and sponsorship system. They are an authorising officer, key contact and level 1 & 2 users. They must be suitable for the positions, have no criminal or other offences, etc. We can help with training and filling some positions for your company.

Obtaining a licence

Once your application is approved, you get an A-rated licence and are included in a register of sponsors. You can issue certificates of sponsorship and employ foreign nationals. If you fail to fulfil your duties as a sponsor your business may be downgraded to B-rating and have limited possibilities. Your duties include assigning CoS to suitable workers, monitoring your employees and report any changes.

The person you wish to employ must have certain skills and experience to be able to work for you. You must also offer them a minimum level of salary for their position.

Labour market test

Prior to a skilled foreign national applying for a visa to come to the UK and work for you, your company must conduct and pass a labour market test. You must demonstrate that you have not been able to find another suitable person to fill the advertised job among those who are already settled in the UK.

Tier 4 Sponsor

An educational institution that is legally operating in the United Kingdom to acceptable quality standards can be registered as a licenced sponsor and accept foreign students for studies at one of their sites.

Applying for a licence

A potential sponsor is required to appoint key personnel and provide their contact details. If you are not planning to teach foreign students at all of your sites, then you need to mention at which one you intend to do so. You have to determine how many foreign students you propose to accept for studies in the first year.

We will assist you with filling in an online application, paying the correct fee and sending the relevant documents. You are required to show you are based in the UK and are operating there lawfully, have all registrations and permissions, etc.

Eligibility

Education providers must pass an Educational Oversight inspection by relevant bodies. The inspection is either statutory or can be applied for, based on the type of an establishment.

Besides, providers must conduct fire-risk assessments, register for VAT, if required, and obtain all required permissions. Their key personnel must have no criminal or other offences.

Obtaining a licence

Once your application is approved you get your licence number under which you are listed in a register of sponsors. You can issue Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies based on how many have been allocated to you.

If you fail to meet your duties as a sponsor, various actions will be taken against your institution which may lead to licence revocation. Your duties include keeping records about the institution itself as well as students, reporting about any changes, etc.

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