Sometimes, the individual qualifies for a visa based on their family or ancestry but in most cases the organisation has to act as a sponsor. This is known as a Tier 2 visa, and the organisation needs to hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence in order to use this visa category.
I regularly advise organisations making these licence applications and here are my top tips for making a successful application:
- Understand the type of licence you need
There are two main types of Tier 2 licence:
- A Tier 2 (General) licence, which is for bringing people to the UK permanently; and
- A Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) licence, which is for bringing existing staff members, from connected companies abroad, to the UK for temporary assignments of up to five years.
It is important an organisation correctly identifies the type of licence that matches their requirements as otherwise there is a risk of refusal, or of having to restart the process at a later date when the mistake is identified.
It is possible to apply for both licence types at the same time, and if a company qualifies for both, I would usually recommend they do this even if they only intend to use one type of licence in the immediate future.
- Identify the correct supporting documents for the licence application
The Home Office guidance contains a list of possible supporting documents for an application. You must send at least four documents in order for the application to be successful. However, it is not always that simple and some documents may be mandatory depending on your circumstances.
- Consider the sponsor obligations
One of the main concerns for clients going through this process is the obligations placed upon registered sponsors. There are numerous obligations, but they can be summarised as:
- Monitoring the attendance and personal details of sponsored workers;
- Reporting key changes to the Home Office;
- Keeping records to demonstrate they are complying with the Home Office guidance;
- Compliance with the law; and
- Co-operating with any requests from the Home Office.
Many of the obligations imposed on registered organisations can be easily met if relevant staff are made aware of them and robust policies are put in place. I always recommend that clients consider these obligations at the outset of the process, as if the Home Office carries out a pre licence inspection and have concerns they can refuse the licence application. If an application is refused on this basis there is a mandatory six month period where any fresh application must also be refused, so it is vital to give consideration to how you will meet the obligations before applying.
How can we help?
We offer a range of fixed fee services to organisations applying for a sponsor licence, including:
- Providing details of the type of licence most suitable to your circumstances;
- Providing a list of the supporting documents needed for your type of application;
- Preparing licence applications on your behalf;
- Reviewing supporting documentation before submission of the application;
- Providing covering letters for applications;
- Advising on policies and procedures that can help you meet your sponsor obligations;
- Carrying out compliance audits to assess your systems; and
- Providing a retainer service to advise you on your obligations once the sponsor licence has been granted.
If you are considering applying for a sponsor licence and would like further information on how we can assist, please do not hesitate to get in touch.