All employers who wish to recruit foreign national workers have been required to register for a Sponsorship Licence with the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA). Registration is mandatory if you wish to be eligible to recruit from the foreign labour pool.

Visalogic is fully qualified to manage all of your Points Based System employer licensing and sponsorship requirements. To find out how we can ensure the success of your organisation’s application for sponsorship licensing and registration, please contact us.

Before an employer can sponsor a migrant worker a Sponsorship Licence must be approved in advance by the UKBA.

Under the point based system only licensed sponsors will be eligible to issue potential migrant employees with a Certificate of Sponsorship. Migrants seeking to come to the UK will need to obtain entry clearance - a Certificate of Sponsorship issued by a licensed employer before an entry clearance application can be made. Furthermore, each potential migrant worker must also satisfy the points based assessment criteria for the visa category under which they are applying.

Please note that a potential employee’s Certificate of Sponsorship does not in any way guarantee or secure their visa if the supporting documentation for an application cannot be verified independently.

How long is a sponsor’s licence valid for?

Licences are valid for four years, starting from the day it is issued or the day that applications start for the relevant tier of the points based system, whichever is the later.

Sponsorship licensing requirements

For your organisation to successfully apply for a licence and be added to the register of sponsors you must prove that you meet the following criteria:

  • you are a legitimate organisation working within the law in the United Kingdom;
  • there are no reasons to believe that you are a threat to immigration control; and
  • your organisation is committed to fulfilling its sponsorship duties.

When your application is approved you will be awarded an A-rating or a B-rating on the register.

As a licensed sponsor you are required to notify the UKBA if migrant employees do not comply with their immigration conditions, and you must also comply with a number of other sponsorship duties or you will risk losing your licence.

Licensing and sponsorship costs

Employers seeking a licence and acceptance on the register of sponsors for the Tier 2 (general) skilled worker category will need to pay a fee of £310 (if you are a small sponsor) through to £1,025 for all other sponsors.

In addition to the licensing fee outlined above, each Tier 2 (General) - skilled worker certificate of sponsorship costs £175.

Under what circumstances will a licence be withdrawn?

Circumstances in which a sponsor will normally have their licence withdrawn include:

  • If it ceases to trade or operate, whether as a result of insolvency or for any other reason
  • It ceases to be accredited or registered with any body that it needs to be accredited/registered with in order to obtain a licence
  • If the prospective sponsor or another appropriate agency is an undischarged bankrupt, or legally prohibited from becoming a Company Director.
  • If the sponsor has provided forged, falsified documents or information to the UKBA
  • If the sponsor does not have adequate facilities to cope with the increased staff and no evidence has been provided regarding expansions.

What penalties will apply for illegally employing migrant workers?

In line with the unveiling of the Points Based System, a new penalty system relating to the employment of illegal migrant workers will also be introduced. The new penalty regime consists of a civil penalty for employers who employ illegal migrant workers as a result of negligent recruitment and employment practices, and a criminal offence for those employers found to be knowingly employing migrant workers illegally. Each penalty carries a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine.

Use of representatives for licensing and sponsorship

Sponsors can elect to use an immigration service provider to handle its PBS affairs with the UKBA, provided that the immigration service provided is registered with the OISC or Law Society.