United Kingdom employers can employ non-EEA nationals in their companies under point-based systems such as Tier 2 category. To employ one, UK employers need to sponsor the worker and in order to do this; they need to obtain a sponsor license from the UKVI – Home Office. Tier 2 sponsorship license is granted for a period of 4 years initially. Employers must apply for the renewal of the license to continue to employ non-EEA nationals before the expiry of the licence. Companies must apply for renewal ahead of sponsor license expiry.
The Tier 2 renewal process
License Expiry date can be seen on the summary page of Sponsor Management System (SMS). Summary page also tells you the date on which you can apply for the renewal of sponsor license. Generally, as advised by UKVI – Home Office, a sponsor can apply for license renewal up to three months in advance of the sponsor license expiry date. An application can be submitted via the online Sponsor Management System.
Sponsors need to submit a request via the SMS and pay the appropriate fee for renewal. The application fee is different depending on the size of companies such as small, medium or large. At the time of initial sponsor application for Tier 2 sponsorship license, a company may be small but in due course of time it might have become medium or large and so at the time of renewal application current size of the company is considered.
Size of the company is determined by UKVI as per the Companies Act 2006 classification. The renewal fee for a small company and a company with charitable status is £536 and the fee for medium or large sponsors are £1,476. If the sponsor fails to pay the correct fee, then the renewal application will be rejected.
All sponsors seeking renewal of its sponsor license should apply well within the time else the application may be rejected. In case an application is rejected before the actual date of license expiry, the sponsor can submit a new renewal application. The initial license continues until a decision is made on a fresh application of renewal.
If a sponsor misses the application deadline or their application is rejected after the license expiry date, their name will be removed from the register of sponsors. They need to make a new application if they wish to retain their sponsor license.
UKVI – Home Office Procedure
UKVI will check for following to analyze the suitability of sponsor to be granted renewed sponsor license;
- if applying is operating legally in the UK;
- is applying company still suitable to be a licensed sponsor; and
- whether the company meets the compliance and reporting requirements at the level UKVI – Home Office expect from them;
Compliance visit by Home Office
Home Office may make a site visit when there is a renewal application. This is a routine exercise. Applicant sponsor must make sure before making their renewal application that everything is in place and they are ‘match-fit’ for a site inspection in case it is requested.
Sponsor’s current compliance with their duties will be checked during the visit by Home Office officials. These duties include record-keeping, key personnel appointments, migrant worker, etc. If there has been any breach and it is found during the visit it can result in refusal of the renewal application.
There are further factors considered by Home Office such as whether a civil penalty has been imposed on the sponsor for employing illegal workers and so on. If only everything matches right with appropriate documents submitted with the renewal application, the sponsor will be granted a sponsorship license and retain Tier 2 Sponsorship license.
If you need assistance with the sponsor licence application contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261