Services for Corporates
UK Immigration Services provides comprehensive UK immigration solutions to employers and their employees in the UK and worldwide.
Employers who wish to employ a migrant workers may only do so if they hold a Sponsor Licence.
We provide a number of services, as described below, to help identify and implement the optimum approach for your company and your employee.
UK Immigration Services provides comprehensive immigration solutions to employers and their employees in the UK and worldwide.
Employers who wish to employ a migrant worker from outside the UK, this includes citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020, may only do so if that worker already has unrestricted permission to work in the UK. Permission can be identified by viewing their passport or Biometric Residence Permit. If they do not have permission to work in the UK, then the employer must obtain a Sponsor Licence.
We provide a number of services, as described below, to help identify and implement the optimum approach for your company and your employees.
As a first step we would normally recommend an audit of your existing migrant employees and premises to ensure that your company meets the relevant requirements set out by the UKVI to qualify for a Sponsorship Licence.
Depending on the nature of your business a Sponsorship Licence can be applied for in the following categories:
Types of licence
The licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:
- ‘Workers’ - for those with long-term job offers
- ‘Temporary workers’
You can apply for a licence covering one or both types of worker.
A ‘Worker’ licence will let you employ people long-term or permanently. It is split into:
- Skilled Worker - the role must meet the job suitability requirements
- Intra-company visas - this includes Intra-company Transfer and Intra-company Graduate Trainee, for multinational companies which need to transfer established employees or graduate trainees to the UK
- Minister of Religion - for people coming to work for a religious organisation
- Sportsperson - for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK
Temporary Worker licence
A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence will let you employ people on a temporary basis. It is split into:
- Creative or Sporting Worker - to work as a high-level sportsperson (up to 1 year), entertainer or artist (up to 2 years)
- Charity Worker - for unpaid workers at a charity (up to 1 year)
- Religious Worker - for those working in a religious order or organisation (2 years)
- Government Authorised Exchange Worker - work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge
- International Agreement Worker - where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, for example employees of overseas governments
- Seasonal Worker - for those coming to the UK for up to 6 months to do farm work
You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence.
The main tool they’ll use is the sponsorship management system (SMS).
The roles are:
- authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
- key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
- level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS
These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.
You can also appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 user, for example they cannot withdraw a certificate of sponsorship.
You and your staff will be checked to make sure you’re suitable for these roles. You may not get your licence if anyone involved in sponsorship has:
- an unspent criminal conviction
- been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months
- been reported to UKVI
- broken the law
- been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
- failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
You and your allocated staff must also:
- be based in the UK most of the time
- not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
- not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
- not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements
Your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff, or office holders.
The application process is done online for which we can either complete on your behalf or provide the support required. The questions are complex and require a detailed assessment of records and data of your company before proceeding. Once the online application is complete you will need to pay a licence fee, the fee depends on the type of licence you’re applying for and what type of organisation you are. Your documentation must be submitted to the UKVI within 5 working days.
If all requirements have been met, you will normally receive a decision within 8 weeks. You’ll get an A-rated licence if your application is approved. An A-rated licence lets you start assigning certificates of sponsorship. Your business will be listed in the register of sponsors.
UKVI may visit your company before reaching a decision. It is essential that all employees, paperwork and records relating to your company are available on the date of inspection. We would advise you on compliance to ensure that this goes smoothly.
A Sponsorship Licence is currently issued for 4 years.
You must assign a certificate of sponsorship to each migrant worker you employ. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa.
When you assign the certificate to a worker, they must use it to apply for their visa within 3 months. They must not apply for their visa more than 3 months before the start date of the job listed on the certificate.
These are for people applying on a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK.
You must apply for defined certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS). You’ll get access to this when you get your licence.
When you get the certificate
Applications are usually approved within one working day. It may take longer if UKVI need to carry out further checks on the information in your application.
Defined certificates will appear in your SMS account once they have been approved. You can then assign them to a worker.
These are for Skilled Workers applying from inside the UK, and applicants on all other visas.
When you apply for your licence you’ll be asked to estimate how many undefined certificates you’ll need for Workers and Temporary Workers in the first year.
Certificates are free for citizens of the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
For other citizens, you need to pay for each certificate.
Type of certificate
Cost per certificate
If you assign a certificate of sponsorship to a worker on a Skilled Worker or Intra-company Transfer visa, you might also need to pay the immigration skills charge.
Immigration Skills Charge
You might have to pay an additional charge when you assign a certificate of sponsorship to someone applying for a Skilled Worker or Intra-company Transfer visa. This is called the ‘immigration skills charge’.
You must pay the immigration skills charge if they’re applying for a visa from:
- outside the UK to work in the UK for 6 months or more
- inside the UK for any length of time
The amount you need to pay is based on:
- the size of your organisation
- how long the worker will work for you, using the start and end dates on their sponsorship certificate
Small or charitable sponsors
Medium or large sponsors
First 12 months
Each additional 6 months
If the worker will be in the UK for longer than 6 months but less than a year, you must pay for at least 12 months.
You can sponsor a worker if the job they’re going to do has a suitable rate of pay and skill level, or meets the other criteria needed for their visa.
Disclaimer: The information provided above only provides general guidelines on Immigration Law and these rules change regularly (last update March 2021). It is highly recommended that you call our office for more in-depth advice and assistance.
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Services For Individuals
The Immigration Rules for the categories below are becoming increasingly complex and frequently change. Seemingly simple applications can often prove to be far more complex so we strongly advise you consult an expert before attempting these applications yourself. We frequently see cases where costly mistakes have been made either by people attempting applications themselves or by inexperienced representatives. Such mistakes are not just costly but in some cases may destroy the possibility of getting a visa in the future.
The safest and normally most cost effective option is to allow an experienced specialist immigration lawyer to make the application on your behalf.