Sponsor Licence Application Process
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A quick look
Sponsor Licences are valid for 4 years – it is possible to renew.
Most applications are processed in under eight weeks. UK Visas & Immigration may visit the premises of an applying business during this period.
There is a fast-track option for an additional fee; £500 to get a decision within 10 working days. The fast-track service is limited to a small number of applications, each working day.
The documents required by UK Visas & Immigration will depend on the kind of workers an applying company aims to employ.
A business that wishes to employ unskilled workers on a seasonal basis, will need to provide a different set of documents to those that wish to employ skilled workers on a long-term contract.
Documentation requested may include financial statements, tax records, insurance cover, and endorsements from related governing bodies.
Should a Sponsor Licence be refused by UK Visas & Immigration, there will be a six-month cooling-off period before a business is able to re-apply. This is triggered from the date of refusal – not the application date.
Should a company believe that a mistake has been made, it may be possible to apply for a pre-sponsor error correction.
Sponsor Licence Application
Businesses can apply for a Sponsor Licence online.
Once an application has been completed, with all supporting documentation, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will carry out various checks, which may include a visit to an applicant’s premises.
Most applications are processed in under eight weeks, with a fast-track option for an additional fee; £500 to get a decision within 10 working days. The fast-track service is limited to a small number of applications, each working day.
The documentation required by UKVI, when processing an application, will depend on how a sponsor intends to use their licence.
Here are just two examples, showing how varied requirements can be when applying for a Sponsor Licence.
Businesses intending to sponsor workers under a Seasonal Worker Visa will be required to provide an endorsement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), among other documentation.
Businesses that aim to sponsor individuals under a Secondment Worker Visa need to provide evidence that they have been awarded a services contract through open tendering, among other documentation.
Other required documentation might include:
- Notarised affidavits or statements
- Audited accounts and annual reports
- Proof of funds
- Certified agreements/contracts
- Lease agreements or proof or purchase of land or property
- Planning permission
- Insurance cover
- Endorsement from a related governing body
The Genuineness Test
The Genuineness Test has three tenets. An applying business must prove that they:
- Are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK
- Have a genuine vacancy
- Can offer genuine employment.
Essentially, businesses must assure UKVI that their intentions in hiring foreign workers are completely above-board.
Rejections of Sponsor Licences are usually the result of your application being found to be invalid. A rejection could be due to a number of minor issues, such as missing documents or a discrepancy with the application fee. If this is the case, your application will often be refunded soon after rejection.
There is no appeals process for a rejected application. You are free, however, to make a fresh, revised application.
If your application for a Sponsor Licence is refused, it will be because of significant issues with your application. In these cases, you are unlikely to get a refund and your business may need to go through a cooling-off period before a fresh application can be made. Reasons for refusals include submitting incorrect, falsified, or late supporting documents.
There is no appeals process in the case of a refusal.
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