Sanwar Ali: Sponsor Licence applications in 2022 after COVID-19

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By Sanwar Ali:


The UK system requires you to have a sponsor licence to employ migrants from abroad. This is part of the expensive and bureaucratic UK visa system. 

There are a number of issues that you may need to deal with after applying for a sponsor licence, which you will only find out about after you apply.  Perhaps smaller businesses and businesses sponsoring relatives are more likely to face additional questions from the Home Office, compared to other businesses.


Do you need to advertise?

The Resident Labour Market Test no longer exists.  However, it may be worth advertising anyway some of the time.  The Home Office may ask for details of recruitment procedures you have used to fill the vacancy.  You may need to explain in more detail why you need to employ a particular overseas worker.

If you advertise then you can show that you have taken steps to fill the vacancy and have a recruitment procedure.  This should still be easier than the previous Resident Labour Market Test.  There were strict requirements for the contents of the advert and where the advert should be placed.


Increase in site visits by the Home Office

Almost all COVID-19 restrictions have been removed in the UK.  The Home Office has now started site visits for some sponsor licence applicants ahead of issuing the sponsor licence.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was in effect easier to obtain a sponsor licence.   The following are issues that may be raised either in a compliance visit or via email or both in person and via email:


Additional documents that you may need to provide to Home Office:

  1. You should understand sponsor roles such as Monitoring Immigration Status, Maintaining Migrant Contact, Recruitment and Recordkeeping, and Migrant Tracking and Monitoring.  Further details can be found in the guidance from the Home Office.

  2. A full staff list confirming the full name, date of birth, nationality and position held within the organisation

  3. Detailed job descriptions for all roles that you wish to sponsor.

  • The duties and responsibilities of the role 

  • The skills, qualifications and experience required for the role

  • SOC code and salary

4. Current or prospective employment contract.  The following things may need to be covered in the contract.  

  • The work start and end dates
  • Details of the job, or work that the migrant has been employed to do
  • The hours and days the migrant will work. Care needs to be taken to ensure that the salary meets the minimum requirements.
  • The location(s) at which the migrant will be required to work 
  • How much and how often the migrant will be paid.


Further details of processes that may need to be provided to the Home Office:             

1. Procedures to check right to work in the UK

You should verify that the applicant has the correct permission to work in the UK. These could be documents such as a British passport, an immigration status document confirming that the person has indefinite leave to remain, or a document showing leave to remain and right to work in the UK.  Further details are in the link below.


2. A record of right to work checks is retained.

The following requirements are in the Home Office guidance.  You must copy and retain copies of

1. Passports: any page with the document expiry date, the holder’s nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details, photograph and any page containing information indicating the holder has an entitlement to enter or remain in the UK (visa or entry stamp) and undertake the work in question (the front cover no longer has to be copied).

2. All other documents: the document in full, including both sides of a Biometric Residence Permit, Application Registration Card and a Residence Card (biometric format).

All copies of documents taken should be kept securely for the duration of the worker’s employment and for two years afterwards. The copy must then be securely destroyed….


3. How visa expiry dates will be monitored

You could use a program such as Zoho people, Google Calendar, etc.

Contact details for employees kept such as …UK residential address, personal email address, telephone number (mobile and/or landline)…

4. Ensure that contact details for employees are correct and up to date.

You could ask for evidence of address details such as a rental agreement, a letter from the bank, doctor, etc.  Ask employees to update us of any changes on a regular basis.


5. What happens with previous contact details for employees

Probably best to save in the relevant directories on the computer network.  Each employee should have their own sub-directory.


6. Attempts to recruit from the settled workforce.

You should provide full details of attempts such as advertising, etc to try and find someone locally to fill the vacancy.  This is one reason why it may be an idea to advertise the vacancy.  


7. If you wish to employ a particular person, why you think the person is suitable for the role.

You should detail why the person who has applied is the most suitable for the role.  Perhaps based on experience and, if relevant, qualifications.  Any unusual skills needed for your business should probably be mentioned.

8. How you record/will record absences for your employees/workers

Software such as Zoho HR or say Google Calendar can be used.

9. The conditions a sponsored migrant will be entitled to (such as holidays, sick pay, accommodation, allowances, pension, etc)

These will most likely be covered in the employment contract and handbook.

10. Confirmation that the email address(es) you have provided is secure and can only be accessed by the named key personnel. can help with Sponsor Licences

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and help to apply for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice on Sponsor licences, please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)