Home Office Guidance on Tier 2 Sponsor Licence


(This article was updated on 09/07/2020)

A ‘Sponsorship Licence’ is the licence granted by the Home Office to UK based business organisations and educational institutions to bring to the UK, skilled employees (under the Tier 2 and 5 of the PBS category) or students (Under Tier 4 of the PBS category) from around the world (outside the EEA).

In the extremely competitive global business economy, it has become a necessity for UK organisations to recruit international talent.  Let us consider Tier 2 Sponsorship licences for the present instance. Tier 2 sponsor licence allows the organisations holding the licence to recruit international skilled migrants under the hereinafter mentioned sub-categories.
The requirements of each are as follow:

Tier 2 Sponsor (General) Licence

This allows organisations to hire recruits from abroad to fill positions, in their UK entity, that cannot be filled by the local workforce (available within the UK). This requires the company to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and evidence to the Home Office the unavailability of personnel in the UK to fill the positions in their organisation.

Tier 2 [Intra-company transfer (ICT)]

This allows multinational organisations to transfer employees already recruited by an overseas branch of the said organisations to their UK entities. Since there is no new recruitment, in this case, the requirement of the RLMT may be dispensed with by the company.

Tier 2 (Minister of religion)

This allows charity and/or religious organisations in the UK to recruit ministers of religion from outside the EEA either for a short time or on a full-time basis.

Tier 2 (Sportspersons)

This allows sports enterprises and organisers in the UK to recruit and sponsor international sportspeople (players and coaches) to come to the UK as their employees.

An organisation may apply and secure a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence for one or more of the abovementioned sub-categories, as applicable to them. If an organisation has a group of companies or subsidiaries in the UK all of which are looking to recruit international talent, a single application may be made to include all the subsidiaries of the same group or separate applications may be made, as suitable to the organisation’s interests subject to approved certificate of sponsorship.

The Home Office requirements and expectations from the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applications vary based on the sub-categories under which an organisation is applying for a licence.

If the applying organisation is not a public body or local body as recognised by the UK government or listed on the London stock exchange then the Home office requires at least 4 documents to support the organisation’s application for the licence.

The basic information which the Home Office is looking for from a Sponsorship Licence application under Tier 2 (General and ICT) of the PBS (Points Based System) category is as follows:

  • The organisation under the purview of Tier 2 Sponsor List Companies is a legally established entity in the UK and holds the required licences to conduct its business operations. This may be evidenced through documents like; Companies House registration, VAT registration, listing on the national or international stock exchange etc.
  • The detailed nature of the business of the said organisation (Sector of business).
  • Evidence that a need for recruitment of skilled migrants from outside the EEA exists.
  • The hierarchy chart (detailing owners, directors and board members) for the organisation and where the positions looking to be filled fall in the organisational hierarchy.
  • Recruitment model for the organisation and the mechanisms in place to follow the SMS (Sponsorship Management System) procedure.
  • Evidence of current account of business with a UK financial institution (letter from the financial institution confirming their dealings with the organisation, account statements etc.)
  • In the case of Tier 2 (ICT) – evidence a direct link between the UK entity and the overseas entity from which the employee is intended to be transferred.
  • You may also submit the most recent set of audit reports

The application for a Tier 2 Sponsor licence entails a fee, if the Home Office thinks that the application is incomplete or invalid then the fee will be refunded to the applicant.

Once the application is granted, the Home Office also puts a burden of responsibilities on the Sponsorship licence holders, the failure on the part of these licence holders to fulfil their duties/ responsibilities results in the suspension of their licence or revocation thereof. These responsibilities are as follow:

  • Keep documentary evidence as to the circumstances of the migrants being recruited by them i.e. ensure that they meet the immigration requirements for the time that they are employed with the organisation.
  • If the circumstances of the employee(s) or the organisation itself change, the Home Office is to be immediately notified through the SMS system that is in place.

It is important for the organisations looking to hire international talent to submit a valid Tier 2 Sponsor licence application form along with the right documents in support of the same.

Immigration experts at TheSmartmove2UK have been helping companies smoothly secure their Sponsorship licenses for almost a decade. For help with your applications, please fill in your details in the form below and one of our experts will contact you at the earliest. For a quicker response, give us a call on +91 22 2850 9857 or +91 9819 025 362 or email us at info@smi.legal.

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