Holding a valid UK Sponsor Licence
A UK-based business must hold a valid UK Sponsor Licence in order to employ migrant workers within their organisation. Holding a Sponsor Licence comes with a strict set of commitments which must be adhered to at all times.
The commitments you agree to when you apply for your Sponsor Licence will allow your company to ensure that they are in compliance with UK immigration rules, and that they are not facilitating illegal working within their business.
The Sponsor Management System (SMS), is a bespoke online tool set up by the Home office which allows your organisation’s licence to be managed seamlessly. The SMS system allows you to assign new Certificates of Sponsorship accordingly, and communicate with the Home office when you need to.
It is essential that the UK Sponsor Licence holder uses the Sponsor Management System as set out in their compliance responsibilities as this is how the Home Office will track your overall compliance.
What is the Sponsor Management System used for?
The Sponsor Management System (SMS) is s multi-functional system which allows an organisation’s licence to be managed fully by a bespoke management system. The Sponsorship Management System allows you to do the following:
- Create and assign Certificates of Sponsorship to workers who will be joining your company subject to a successful visa application
- Apply to increase the number of Certificates of Sponsorship that your company can issue to new workers
- Submit and track Sponsor Licence renewal applications- typically an organisation must renew their licence every four years
- Report any changes to the Home office- for example, reporting a change in circumstances for one of your sponsored employees
- Track and view the action plans that you may have in place if your licence has been downgraded
- View the Home Office message board for any important updates that you should be aware of
Issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship
You will be required to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to any prospective employees that you wish to employ in your company.
The Certificate of Sponsorship is a digital document confirming the proposed job role that a migrant worker will be taking on once they have been granted the relevant UK visas.
There is a limit to the number of Certificates a company can issue, however, it can be requested that this number is increased should you need it to be.
A level 1 user can access the Sponsor Management System to create and assign a CoS to a prospective employee. This is generate a unique reference number that can then be used to apply for a worker via.
There is a cost for each Certificate of Sponsorship issued via the Sponsorship Management System.
The roles of key personnel
The key personnel you assign within your company play a vital role in the daily running of your Sponsor Management System. These key responsibilities should be allocated to staff members within your organisation as an additional job role.
The key personnel roles are:
The authorising officer is a person responsible for the recruitment and onboarding of overseas workers and the tracking of migrant activity. In addition, the authorising officer should oversee the management system and ensure all of your Sponsor Licence responsibilities are being met.
The key contact will take on the role of being the main point of contact for the Home Office, should you need to liaise with them in any way.
Level 1 User
Your level 1 user will be the person to carry out any daily sponsorship duties on the Sponsor Management System, including any assigning of CoS and updating the system with changes of circumstances for any sponsored workers.
Level 2 User
The level 2 user will have a similar role in the Sponsor Management System to the level 1 user but they will have fewer permissions. For example, they may be able to assign a Cos but not update personal circumstance changes. Nonetheless, they are still vital key personnel to the running of the system.
How to assign your Key Personnel
Those who you assign key personnel roles within your Sponsor Management System to meet the requirements of your Sponsor Licence should be subjected to the correct suitability checks.
At the point of applying, you will need to nominate and name your authorising officer, key contact and level 1 user on your Sponsor Licence application form- you will be able to add a level 2 user after you have been approved as a sponsor.
You are able to have more than one level 1 and 2 users within the company who will have access to the Sponsor Management System.
Furthermore, you are able to assign the same person to more than one key personnel role. For example, your key contact can also be a level 1 user so that they have access to the Sponsor Management System.
Failing to use the Sponsor Management System correctly
Non-compliance with your Sponsor Licence requirements can result in serious consequences for your company and its workers. If the Home Office have grounds to believe you are not adhering to the commitments in place, they can take appropriate action against you.
The penalties in place include:
- A £20,000 fine for each worker found to be working illegally in your organisation
- Having your Sponsor Licence downgraded
- Having your Sponsor Licence revoked
- Having to pay for an action plan with the Home Office
Each of these penalties will have an impact on your ability to employ migrant workers under the points-based immigration system.
How can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers help?
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers have extensive knowledge in Sponsor Licences and the Sponsorship Management System.
Whether you require guidance in applying for your first Sponsor Licence, renewing your current one, or, managing your licence, our expert team of lawyers are ready and waiting to help you today.
For more information on how we can help, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530 for immediate assistance. Alternatively, you can fill out our contact form.
Last modified on September 27th, 2023 at 10:08 am
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