Employers in the UK are legally required to apply for a sponsor licence if they wish to employ a skilled worker from overseas. There are a number of important steps which must be taken during both the application process and the subsequent employment, and you must ensure that the category of sponsor licence correctly corresponds to the type of job for which you are hiring.
Types of Sponsor Licences
There are just two types of sponsor licences available, and the licence you need to apply for will be determined by the type of job in question.
Firstly, the Worker Licence is aimed at skilled workers who have gained the right to work in the UK on a long-term basis – this is at least 3 years, but normally 5. Within this Worker Licence, there are a few subcategories to be aware of:
- Sportsperson Visa
- This is for international sportspeople or qualified coaches who will be contributing to developing the sport while in the UK.
- Minister of Religion Visa
- This is for those wishing to move to the UK to work full-time as a religious missionary or religious worker.
- Employees may work for up to 3 years with this visa.
- Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
- This is for foreign workers who need to come to the UK in order to work for a UK branch of their employer overseas.
Secondly, the Temporary Worker Licence is aimed at skilled workers moving into temporary employment. There are 6 sub-categories that are applicable to this licence:
- Creative Worker Visa
- This is for those wishing to come to the UK as a worker in creative industries such as film, music, television, and arts.
- Eligible to work for 2 years.
- International Sportsperson Visa
- Eligible to work for 1 year (or 2 years as an artist or entertainer).
- Charity Worker Visa
- Eligible to work for 1 year.
- Religious Worker Visa
- Eligible to work for 2 years.
- International Agreement Worker Visa
- This is for those coming from overseas to conduct work that is covered by international law.
- Government Authorised Exchange.
Requirements for Eligibility
In order for an employer to be eligible for a sponsor licence, they must not have a criminal record of any offenses relating to immigration or other crimes such as fraud, and they must have never previously failed to deliver on sponsorship responsibilities. The employer will be required to provide supporting documentation for the application, although the specific documents will depend on the type of organization as well as the type of job in question.
Once the sponsor licence has been granted to the employer, they must then ensure that a Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned to every necessary foreign worker.
The Responsibilities of a Sponsor
There are certain duties that must be upheld as an employer of a foreign worker. If these responsibilities are not fulfilled, this will affect your right to employ more workers from overseas in the future. As a sponsor, you are required to:
- Make sure your foreign workers are adequately skilled and qualified to fulfill their role.
- You will need to provide documentation as proof of qualification.
- Only sponsor foreign workers for roles that are suitable for sponsorship
- Contact the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) if the worker is not fulfilling the terms of the sponsorship visa.