The UKBA introduced the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence system in November 2008 which replaced the previous Work Permit system. Companies were duly required to submit a Sponsor Licence application.
A granted Sponsor Licence is valid for 4 years and thereafter, should the organization continue to require their Sponsor Licence, a renewal request can be made for a licence period of a further 4 years. Many sponsor licences will therefore fall for renewal this November.
To submit a renewal application, the Sponsor must do so online via the online Sponsor Management System (SMS). Once the request has been submitted a ‘Submission sheet’ will be generated which will need to be completed, signed and sent to the Sponsor Licensing Unit. The UKBA will assess the Sponsor Licence details and history. Should further documentation be required then the Sponsor Licensing Unit will write to request any information or documents and will have to be sent to them within 7 calendar days. If the documents are not submitted then the UKBA can refuse the application and the fee will not be refunded. A further application can be made before the Sponsor Licence expiry date.
Visit by the UKBA
The UKBA may want to undertake a visit in connection with the application. The UKBA can then either;
a) grant the application to renew your licence
b) downgrade the licence to a B rating
c) revoke the licence
Sponsors cannot submit the application more than 3 months before their Sponsor Licence is due to expire, unless they have been given a special invitation by the UKBA (please see below for further details). Renewal applications can take up to 3-6 weeks to be granted therefore we would advise that a request is made as soon as it is possible in order to receive confirmation in advance of a Sponsor Licence expiry date.
Sponsor Licence Renewal Government Fees
Premium Scheme – Large Enterprises – £25,000
Premium Scheme – SMEs – £8,000
Tier 2 Large Sponsor Licence – £1,500
Tier 2 Small Sponsor Licence – £500
Tier 4 Sponsor Licence – £500
Tier 5 Sponsor Licence – £500
Tier 2, Tier 4 &/or Tier 5 Licence (where sponsor currently holds T4 or T5 licence) – £1,000
Special Invitation to renew in advance of the 3 month renewal period
The UKBA have started to contact Sponsors which have recorded frequent and high usage of the SMS. Notifications have been made to the relevant Authorising Officer/Level 1 user to offer an earlier renewal request and fast track treatment of the application. This special service has been offered in order to show the Sponsor the benefits of paying the higher Premium Scheme fees of £25,000 or £8,000 in order to obtain a range of additional services.
The renewal applications received as part of this early invitation exercise will be assessed by the Premium Service support team, who will notify sponsors within 7 days if the application is valid. Following confirmation of a valid application, the team will complete all the checks required as part of the renewal review process. Secondly, they will also consider any outstanding change requests such as changes to key personnel and organisation details. Finally, the licence will be extended for a further 4 years from the day after the current licence expires. The UKBA have not confirmed how long this process will take.
Sponsors who have been offered this special service will be able to submit a renewal request an extra month before the usual 3 month window for making the request on the SMS.
Failure to renew Sponsor Licence
If the licence expires at the end of this period and is not renewed, sponsors will no longer be licensed. This means that:
a) They cannot assign any more CoS; and
b) The UKBA will reduce the leave of any migrants you are currently sponsoring to 60 days, during which time they will be allowed to find a new sponsor. If they do not make a further application before their leave expires they must leave the UK or face enforced removal; and
c) The company details will be removed from the online public register of licensed sponsors.
To prepare for the renewal of an organisation’s Sponsor Licence we would advise that thorough checks are made to ensure that all details on the Sponsor Licence are correct and that all sponsor duties have been complied with. Where an audit has not been carried out for a long period of time, we would recommend that you contact us for further information to prepare for a visit by the UKBA. Should there be any updates required then we would advise that a request is made via the SMS in advance of your Sponsor Licence Renewal.