Sponsor licence holding organisations are able to apply to UKVI to add another tier to their sponsor licence. The ability to add tiers to the licence can allow for greater flexibility when seeking to recruit. Associate Irfan Ali explains how a new tier can be added to an existing sponsor licence.
Tiers that can be covered by a sponsor licence
When an organisation initially applies for a sponsor licence, it must state which tier(s) it is applying under.
The main tiers are:
- Skilled Worker
- Global Business Mobility (with the subcategories Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, UK Expansion Worker, Service Supplier and Secondment Worker)
- Ministers of Religion
- International Sportsperson
- Charity Workers
- Creative Workers.
The organisation will need to meet the relevant requirements for each tier and provide the relevant supporting documents with the application.
Reasons for adding a new tier
Once the sponsor licence is granted, the organisation can add further tiers to the existing licence.
There are many reasons why this may be needed and one of the most common we see is where the company holds a Skilled Worker licence but needs to transfer overseas staff to the UK who are unable to meet the English language requirement.
Example: Techstar Ltd holds a Skilled Worker licence secured to sponsor its new CEO. It now realises that it needs to transfer workers from its new Polish branch to the UK on a short-term basis. Many of the workers are highly skilled but are unable to meet the English language requirement of the Skilled Worker route. Techstar Ltd can apply to add the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker route to its licence which will allow it to sponsor the overseas workers without them needing to meet the English language requirement.
It is also important to consider any future plans of sponsored individuals because some routes do not lead to settlement. This could mean that the individual may need to switch routes to reflect their circumstances, providing they meet the relevant requirements.
Starworks Plc originally obtained a sponsor licence under the ICT route (which has been replaced by the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker route) so it could quickly transfer its Operations Director, Ben, to the UK without having to meet the old resident labour market test. Ben has spent two years in the UK and he and his wife have decided that they want to live here permanently and would like to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is not possible under the current route, so the company will apply to add the Skilled Worker tier to its licence so it can sponsor Ben under the Skilled Worker route, which will allow him to apply for ILR once he has completed five years in the UK under the route.
Process for adding a new tier
The process to add additional tiers to an existing licence is similar to the main sponsor licence application process.
First of all, the registration process here must be followed. Then the process to add the new tier can be followed and this requires the sponsor licence number and Level 1 Users details to be inputted. The application form to add a tier is shorter than the original application because many of the details about the sponsor are already known. A fee may need to be paid depending on factors such as the tiers to be added, size of the organisation etc.
Once the application has been submitted, the relevant supporting documents for the new tier, as specified in Appendix A to the sponsor guidance, will need to be submitted to the Home Office.
It is important that the relevant documents are in order prior to submitting the application as the Home Office provide a short window to submit the documents.
How our immigration solicitors can help
We are experienced in preparing sponsor licence applications and adding tiers to an existing sponsor licence and will provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.
If you require legal assistance or would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.