So, you’ve decided you would like to take on employees from outside the European Economic Area, and you’ve decided you’re eligible to apply for a licence from the Home Office. You’ve decided which is the most appropriate licence and you’ve allocated roles in order to manage the licence. You now need to apply for the licence.
Compliance with the sponsorship licence
First things first, compliance, compliance, compliance. We cannot stress enough, that it’s not enough to really want to employ Mr X. Or to really need a specialist to fill a role you haven’t been able to fill from the resident labour market. In having a Tier 2 licence, you will be trusted by the Home Office to monitor migrants coming into the UK to work, and in order to do this, you will be expected to have policies and systems in place that allow you to do this. Do not skip on compliance or rely on someone else to have it covered. It is the Authorising Officer’s responsibility to monitor this, and you will besmirch your name if you fail to take this aspect of being a licence holder seriously. On top of that, you are unlikely to ever be trusted to hold a licence again, and you may also end up with a hefty fine.
Advertise the role first
It is Westkin policy that best practice is to advertise the role you need to fill first. It shows that you need to fill this role and during any visit by the Home Office, you’ll usually need to show screenshots that the advertisement has taken place.
What documents do you need to provide?
Once the advert is posted, we can start to prepare the licence application. You need to gather four of the documents listed in Sponsor Guidance Appendix A of the Immigration Rules.
These should be original documents or certified copies and vary in form, dependent on the history of the business and the type of business. The licence application is submitted online, and the original documents will need to be sent to the Home Office casework address within 5 days of the submission.
It’s usually important to get together all the documents needed prior to submission of the licence application. Along with original documents, you will need to sign and submit the ‘submission sheet’ by post.
How long does the application take?
The licence application process usually takes around eight weeks. The process often includes a visit from a Home Office representative to the firm’s address. The Home Office representative will usually want to speak to the authorising officer and will ask questions to ensure they are aware of their duties. They will also regularly be asked to see documentation to ensure that proper records are being kept. If you don’t have documents at the visit, it may be possible to send these documents subsequently; however, it’s good practice to ensure that all documents are available to the Home Office officer at their visit.
Receiving a decision
A decision on the licence application is usually obvious when the level I user is sent their login details. The level I user will receive an email with part of the login details and a letter from the Home Office will usually arrive a few days later with the other part of the login details contained within it. At this point, the level I user will be able to log onto the system and request an additional level I user to be added.