Skilled Worker Licence
Before your business can sponsor skilled overseas workers in the UK, they must have applied for and been granted a Sponsor Licence.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
You can apply for a licence covering one or both types of worker.Skilled Worker licence
A ‘Skilled Worker’ licence will let you employ people long-term for up to six years. It’s split into:
Temporary Worker licence
- Skilled Worker - the role must meet the job suitability requirements and be at the right skill level
- 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
A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence will let you employ people on a temporary basis. It’s 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
In order to obtain a Worker Sponsor Licence, the organisation must demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that it is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, that it has relevant HR processes and systems in place and that it has a genuine need for a the Licence.
In order to assess whether an organisation has a genuine need for a sponsor licence, UKVI will either expect to see evidence of future plans that involve the need to recruit individuals with specialist skills that are not always locally available, or it will expect to see evidence that there is a genuine vacancy.Worker Sponsor Licence Application:
In order to apply for a Worker Sponsor Licence, the potential sponsor must complete an online application form.
This form is supported with a number of documents which demonstrate that the organisation is genuine and trading in the UK.
Examples of documents that can be submitted include:
- bank statements
- VAT certificate
- PAYE tax reference number
- employer’s liability insurance certificate
- evidence of premises such as a lease or freehold document
- annual accounts
- (for much of the hospitality sector) – evidence of registration with local council to serve hot food
- evidence of registration with a regulatory body, if applicable – for example for Care Homes – Care Quality Commission registration
All supporting documentation must be sent to UKVI within five working days of the online form being submitted.
Also, the organisation is required to provide UKVI with some general information about their company and a rationale to support the licence application.Compliance visit
UKVI may visit the organisation in order to carry out a compliance inspection in order to determine if the organisation can offer genuine vacancies to overseas workers and will be capable of carrying out its sponsor duties.
As part of a compliance visit, UKVI carries out a number of checks, including a review of the organisation’s current practices, policies and HR procedures in order to ensure that it has suitable systems in place.
Following such a visit, UKVI will either grant the licence or if they have any concerns, the application can be refused. It is therefore essential that you review all relevant HR systems and processes before you submit a sponsor licence application.How we can help?
We specialise in supporting applications for Sponsor Licences from all types of business, with emphasis on assessing the validity of the application, guidance on relevant company documentation, and reviewing/developing HR systems that meet the UKVI requirements and working with the applicant business to develop understanding and implementation of current guidance on preventing illegal working, record keeping, monitoring sponsored migrant activity and right to work checks.