What do you need for your Skilled Worker sponsorship licence application to be successful?

From 1 January 2021, EEA nationals arriving in the UK will be subject to the UK's new points-based immigration system. There will be a "one size fits all" approach for hiring EEA and non-EEA nationals from this date.

If you are not currently an approved sponsor but think that you are likely to need to sponsor skilled migrant workers from 1 January 2021, you will need to apply for a sponsorship licence. The detail below explains the key requirements for a sponsorship licence application to be successful.

How do I evidence we are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK?

You can prove this by providing certain documents, as listed in Appendix A of the guidance for sponsors. Find out more in our article here which provides guidance on supporting documents.

Do I need an appropriate HR system in place?

Yes, before you submit your application.

One of the many duties of a sponsor is the ability to monitor its employee's immigration status and comply with certain timeframes. As such, you must have an HR system and recruitment practice in place that lets you track and record employees' attendance, keep employee contact details up to date, keep copies of relevant documents and report to the UKVI if there is a problem.

Who will be responsible for the sponsorship licence?

This depends on who you appoint as your key personnel to manage the sponsorship process for your business. You will need to appoint an Authorising Officer (who is a senior and competent person with overall responsibility), a Level 1 user (responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence) and a Key Contact (your main point of contact with the UKVI).

Can I appoint the same person as Authorising Officer, Level 1 user and Key Contact?

Yes, if you choose too.

However, we recommend that you appoint more than one Level 1 user to ensure access to your sponsorship management system is always available i.e. in case of holidays, illness etc.

Are there specific requirements on who should hold the key personnel roles?

Yes, your allocated staff will be checked to make sure they are suitable for these roles. For instance, if anyone suggested has an unspent conviction, is based outside of the UK, is a contractor or has previously been reported to the UKVI, your licence application is likely to be rejected. The full guidance on appointing key personnel can be found here.

Will I need to evidence that I can offer genuine employment that meets the Skilled Worker level and appropriate rate of pay?

Yes, you will need to show that you will be able to offer genuine employment skilled to level RQF3 or above (i.e. A level or equivalent). You may wish to do this by explaining how your current vacancies align with the Standard Occupational Classifications ("SOC") code and Appendix J of the Immigration Rules (subject to the new rules post January 2021). 

Should I include information about our anticipated recruitment plans for 2021?

Yes. You should provide as much information as you can on how many migrant workers you are likely to employ during the first year of your licence, including any you wish to sponsor at RQF level 3 or above, from 1 January 2021, under the new Skilled Worker route.

What happens if our organisation has unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or crimes, such as fraud or money laundering?

The UKVI are likely to refuse your application, as you won't be deemed an honest and reliable organisation that can be trusted. 

Will the UKVI visit our premises before or after the sponsorship licence is granted?

As soon as you make your sponsorship licence application, you must be prepared for a UKVI visit, as this could happen before or after your licence is granted.

Next steps

For more details on applying for a sponsorship licence including key requirements and costs, please click here or get in touch. You can also ready our other Q&A articles below.

Key Contacts