Securing UK visa sponsor credentials for your company will allow you to open up your recruitment to the whole world. Whether you are hiring skilled workers or seasonal workers, your company could benefit from a global recruitment pool.
The process for becoming a UK visa sponsor can be complex. Despite the many benefits, the Home Office reports that only 3% of UK organisations hold a sponsor licence. Cost and complexity are often cited as the reasons for this low uptake.
Since the UK left the EU, freedom of movement for EEA workers has now ended. This means employers must become visa sponsors if they wish to hire workers from the EU and beyond.
If your organisation is thinking about becoming a UK visa sponsor, read on to learn our top tips for submitting a successful sponsor licence application using the priority service.
Who is eligible to become a UK visa sponsor?
Most UK employers are eligible to become UK visa sponsors. Provided the directors of the company do not have any unspent criminal convictions and you have not had a sponsor licence revoked in the past 12 months, you should be able to secure your UK visa sponsor status.
The Home Office will carry out checks to ensure that you have the systems in place to monitor employees and ensure they are staying within the restrictions of their visas. You will also need to nominate someone to manage the sponsorship process. This would usually be an HR professional, but it could also be a company director or similar.
Overall, the Home Office wants to confirm that your organisation is trustworthy and capable of carrying out the duties of a responsible sponsor. They will also look out for signs of immigration fraud and abuse of the system.
Since a skilled worker visa is a path to indefinite leave to remain, it’s important that only those with legitimate work opportunities are able to secure a sponsorship licence.
How do you apply to become a UK visa sponsor?
The application form is completed online. After filling in and submitting the form, you will be sent a payment link to pay your fee. After this, you will have five working days to submit your supporting documents.
It’s vital that you pay close attention to the required documents and ensure they are submitted in the correct format. The documents you need to submit will depend on the type of organisation you operate and the visa route you would like to sponsor. If you’re unsure which category you fall into, we would recommend seeking expert advice on your application to avoid mistakes.
Documents required for the UK visa sponsor application
Once you have submitted your application and paid the fee, you will then have five working days to submit your supporting documents. If you fail to submit your documents in this timeframe, your application will be declined and you will need to submit a new one. The Home Office will not chase you for your documents.
You can see the full guidance on documents you will need to provide here. In most cases, you will need to submit at least four documents. To navigate which documents you need to send, start with Table One. This table will tell you instances where you do not need to send four documents. Examples of this include organisations that are Government departments or agencies.
If you aren’t listed in Table One, then look at Table Two. This includes guidance for organisations like start-ups, franchises and charities. Once you have the relevant mandatory documents from this section, look at Table Three.
Table Three refers to the available routes. Look for the route you are applying for and make a note of the relevant documents you need to supply.
If, by the end of this list, you haven’t identified four documents to send in support of your application, then it’s time to look at Table Four. Table Four outlines a list of documents you can provide to bring your total up to four.
Acceptable formats for your supporting documents
If the information is not available online, then you should provide a scan or picture of your documents. This should be provided in a .PDF, .PNG or .JPG file. Note that some phones will save photos in .HEIC format, which is not supported.
When submitting your documents, you will need to provide the submission sheet. This needs to be signed and dated by your authorising officer. You must then attach all mandatory documents outlined in the submission sheet.
If your documents are not in English, you will need to provide certified translations.
How to speed up your application decision
There are several ways to streamline the application process and increase the chances of a positive outcome. The first is to pay for the priority service, which will reduce your waiting time from eight weeks to just 10 days. The cost for this service is an additional £500, on top of your application fee.
Paying this fee will not guarantee a positive outcome, nor will it guarantee that your application will be processed in 10 days. Your decision could still be delayed if there are issues with your documents or the verification process.
The other way to help speed up your application is to ensure you have provided the right documents in the correct format. So many delays to applications arise from incorrect or incomplete documentation. This is why we recommend working with a specialist immigration advisor to prepare your application.
We know precisely what the Home Office agents are looking for in their checks. With this information in mind, we can prepare your application in a way that will maximise your chances of success. We will ensure that all mandatory documents are included, in their correct format, and with all necessary translations and certifications.
If you’re thinking about becoming a UK visa sponsor and want to know how we can help support your application, get in touch with our team today. Checkout Best Immigration Lawyers in London UK