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  • Sponsorship Licence Experts | Skilled Worker (Tier 2)

    Branch Austin McCormick are a Legal 500 recognised firm and registered with the Department for International Trade. The firm is based in Mayfair, London and represents entities ranging from start-ups and SMEs to larger multi-national and listed companies

    Owing to the global nature of the employment market for companies across the industry spectrum, it is imperative that organisations can hire employees from all over the world, particularly where the skillset of an individual is linked to the success and growth of a company. Sponsorship permits a business to tap into a wider pool of talent which can fill skills gaps across a wide range of sectors and bring fresh perspectives into the workplace.

    The UK Home Office devolves its power to business owners to self-regulate their licence and employ individuals from outside of the UK. With constantly changing law and policy guidance it is imperative that employers stay up to date. As a result, the corporate immigration field in the UK is complex and, in many cases, unclear, leading to entities being unaware of the relevant process and failing to comply with applicable legislation.

    At Branch Austin McCormick we provide an end-to-end solution in accordance with your business needs, ensuring you are prepared with all of the information needed to be compliant.

  • What is a Sponsorship Licence?

    A company must hold a sponsorship licence to hire foreign workers from outside of the UK, or from within the UK where the individual requires a visa to work legally. The company must apply to the Home Office (UKVI) to secure their status as a licenced sponsor and offer sponsorship to prospective or existing employees.

    Under the UK’s points-based immigration system, the common visa routes for non-UK residents wishing to work in the UK are:

    • The Skilled Worker visa (successor to the Tier 2 route)
    • The Senior or Specialist Worker via (successor to the Intra Company Transfer visa) under the new Global Mobility rules
    • The Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa
    • The Scale-Up visa
  • How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence and Sponsor Workers

    Sponsorship is a 3-stage process: (1) Licence application, (2) CoS application, (3) Visa application.


    Stage 1: Licence Application

    The licence application is made via an online form including submission of mandatory supporting evidence and information. Processing times are up to 8 weeks and subject to Home Office delays, especially if the Home Office conduct a compliance audit. A 2-week priority service is offered and subject to availability.

    We can assist by providing the following services:

    • Preparing all application forms on your behalf
    • Provide a full checklist for the application and detailed information on the full process
    • Review and advise on documents required as per Home Office specifications
    • Prepare a cover letter to accompany the application
    • Communicate with the Home Office on your behalf
    • Assist with expediting the application processing
    • Ensure your company is complying with all sponsor duties
    • Review Key Personnel and advise on their individual duties
    • Review the company’s HR processes as per Home Office requirements
    • Conduct mock audits in preparation for Home Office’s compliance checks

    The Home Office fees for the licence application are either £536 for a small company or £1476 for a large company. An optional 2-week priority service is available for £500, but subject to availability.


    Stage 2: Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

    Once your licence is granted, you will have access to a Sponsorship Management System (SMS). It is via this system that you can request for CoS on an individual basis. Each CoS has to be requested and then assigned to the specific worker. There are different types of CoS depending on whether the applicant is inside or outside the UK and this affects the processing times of the CoS request. From outside the UK these are usually decided within 2 working days but can take up to 18 weeks. From inside the UK these can take up to 18 weeks however a 5-day priority service may be available for additional fees. We can assist by providing the following services:

    • Assist with requesting certificates and expediting these requests
    • Assist with assigning certificates
    • Review migrant’s qualifications and suitability for the role
    • Review specifications of the role in line with the requirements
    • Advice on recruitment process requirements
    • Conduct checks to ensure the company is complying with their sponsor duties
    • Assist with reporting employment changes to the Home Office

    The Home Office fees for the CoS application are £199 per worker plus an Immigration Skills Charge of £364 per year of sponsorship term (in advance) for a small company. For large companies this is £1,000 per year. For a CoS from inside the UK, an optional priority service is available for £200. The sponsor company must pay for these fees and cannot charge the worker, or they risk their licence being revoked.


    Stage 3: Visa Application

    Once the CoS is granted and assigned, the migrant may proceed with their visa application. We can assist by providing the following services:

    • Prepare all visa application forms
    • Provide full checklist on visa application requirements
    • Review and advise on migrant’s documents
    • Prepare a legal representations letter to accompany the application
    • Advise on processing times and options to expedite
    • Book biometrics appointments and prepare applicants for their appointment
    • Communicate with the Home Office
    • Review decisions and advise on work timeframes
    • Assist with any family members wishing to join the applicant and their own applications

    The Home Office fees for the visa application under the Skilled Worker route are £625 per person for a term up to 3 years, and £1,235 for a term of more than 3 years. The fees are higher if applying from within the UK at £719 and £1,423 respectively. Health and Care visa applications are £247 for a sponsorship term up to 3 years, or £479 for a term over 3 years. Health and Care workers are exempt from Immigration Health Surcharge (NHS) fees.

    If the job role is listed as a shortage occupation, the fees are also reduced.

    In both cases, there may also be additional fees for a biometrics appointment depending on location and other services. Applications from outside the UK take 3 weeks to process and from inside the UK up to 8 weeks. Optional priority services may be available for an additional cost depending on location (5-day priority from outside the UK: £250. 5-day priority from inside the UK: £500. Next day priority from inside the UK: £800). In certain circumstances, a next day priority from outside the UK may also be available where necessary.

    Migrant workers may also apply for their dependant spouse and children to come with them to the UK. The same visa application fees apply. Please note the CoS fees only apply to the worker and not their family members. The applicant may pay their own visa application fees depending on their agreement with the sponsor company.

    Please note fees are correct at the time of writing and are subject to change. When applying from outside of the UK, UKVI fees may also be subject to currency conversion rates as can be payable in local currency or USD in some cases.

  • Our Clients

    As we are a full-service practice, we advise corporate clients and companies on immigration solutions for their workforce in the United Kingdom as well as on their employment and corporate related matters. We have experience in developing a customised strategy specific to our client’s needs.

    We possess expertise including commercial awareness and knowledge in a wide range of industries, which is integral when advising companies holistically.

    Our team have acted for clients in various industries, including the following:

    Care Homes and Domiciliary Care
    Media & Advertising
    Banking, Finance & Hedge funds
    Professional Services
    Marketing and PR
    Technology including EdTech, FinTech and IT
    Hospitality and Boutique Hotels
    Oil & Gas and Renewable Energy
    Sports & Leisure including sportspersons
    Creative & Design
    Industrial Transportation
    Titanium Suppliers and Manufacturers

    Branch Austin McCormick are trusted advisers to highly regarded international brands and multi-national corporations, where we assist in facilitating the acquisition of new staff and the transfer of existing employees across office locations. We possess an in-depth knowledge and wide range of experience which means we are able to provide concise, practical and clear advice to our clients and guide them smoothly through the entire process. This enables us to retain a very high rate of success for our clients and develop a strong returning client base.

  • What should I do now?

    Speak to our team of specialist corporate immigration lawyers who can assist your company with the acquisition, management and maintenance of your licence at a reasonable fixed fee. Please get in touch today for a free consultation with one of our qualified lawyers.

    Contact us using the enquiry form below or on immigration@branchaustinmccormick.com.