The need to acquire a sponsor licence to employ someone to work for your company from outside the UK is not a new thing, but since Brexit, it is required for citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland as well as other areas of the world. However, some groups are exempt, such as Irish citizens, those with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

To get a sponsor licence in the UK, you need to apply online and pay the licence fee, which varies depending on the size of the business.

The Home Office can refuse applications for businesses to become a sponsor including for those employers who have unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences (or other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering) and those that have had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months. There are cooling off periods however and therefore specific advice should be sought on individual circumstances.

A sponsor will also need appropriate governance to monitor sponsored employees and a specific individual assigned to manage sponsorship in the business.

If your business is eligible, you will also need to make sure the job you intend to sponsor an employee for is suitable. The job must be of an appropriate rate of pay and skill level, as well as meeting the other criteria needed for their visa.

Different types of job have varying requirements to fulfil around levels of pay or skill level, so you may need advice to be sure that the job role you are looking to sponsor an employee for meets all the criteria.

As an example, for health and care worker visas, the annual salary can be a minimum of £20,480 provided certain criteria are met. However, there are other job roles within the health and care sector that require different pay levels.

This complexity of different jobs needing to meet different criteria means that it can be a huge advantage to have legal assistance to make sure your application for a sponsor licence is completed correctly and will deliver the results you need.

Ellisons has a team of Immigration and Employment specialists able to guide you through the process of acquiring and maintaining a sponsor licence, to ensure your business objectives are achieved without fuss and complication. Or, if you find yourself with an ongoing issue around a sponsor licence application, Ellisons can help find a resolution or help with challenging a sponsor licence suspension or revocation.