A simple step-by-step guide to help you handle the sponsorship application for Tier 2 sponsors and employers, written by an employer having successfully applied to it 🙂
To apply to the sponsorship licence, it will take you a bit of time to read and understand the rules (1), a bit of hassle to gather the right documents and having them certified (2), a bit of internet connection to fill out the online form by UKBA (3), and a lot of patience (count two months) to wait for the sponsorship to be approved.
1 – Get ready to eat your
It is not just a friendly advice; it is necessary: read the whole sponsorship guidance and know it by heart.
What’s in the Guidance? Basically you will be told
- why you have to apply for sponsorship & why it is a serious process. UKVI is outsourcing to your employer the authority and responsibility to play the border control officer. Big role, big time. This is why they don’t play around when they ask for specific HR code of practice and come to your office to check them. However, don’t get me wrong; they are no evil and if you are being collaborative, UK Visa & immigration case workers will very much be as well.
- what you will need to apply: you will need documents that are specific to your group (startup or ltd or charity) + to pay specific fees for SMES + and will have to assign responsibility of who in the office will be responsible for the sponsorship (surely not you)
- What kind of sponsorship you can have and want. This is detailed in the guidelines. Basically you can apply for Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship. They are two different kind of sponsorship that defines the type of migrant worker the company is allowed to hire. In short, Tier 2 is for full-time work and generally for managers or senior workers. Tier 5 is often for temporary work, young people and has stricter rules on the time the worker can stay. You will also have to signal if you want unrestricted or restricted COS (that means your employer can employ more migrants if they want)
- what is a valid job position: Pick the job description that corresponds best to your future job, the SOC code and the minimum salary that goes with it (you can still be paid more off course ;-).
Once you have read that, I would advise you to put down all the questions you have left to be answered by a solicitor or on www.migreat.com to clarify any doubts you have. You really don’t want to end up two months later after having applied and paid with a “NO, your application is refused because you have forgotten a paper. Please apply and pay again”
2 – Gather the damn documents
In the guidelines, it is written that only 4 documents needs to be sent (all A rated docs compulsory and B rated documents that are relevant and C rated to complete). From solicitors feedback, it is good to have more documents for a simple fact: if the case-worker find a document they don’t recognise as valid they can swap it for another one that is valid.
How do you like it? Original or copycat?
Take extra care in having them certified the right way, by the right person, and in the way described in the guidelines. If your certifier is certifying the pile with one page at the front, it is better to make sure he/she includes the number of pages and that the documents are bundled together properly.
Pick the Right Office Guy
Assign who is going to play chief border control at the office (authorising Officer and Key contact).
If your are not the one who will play the authorising Officer, I would recommend you spend an hour or two around a coffee with the person in the office that will be in charge of representing the company to the UKVI. Brief that person on the guidelines orally, have her ask questions, do this in presence of your solicitor perhaps (if you have) and especially, give that person the guidelines to read. This person will be asked questions by the Home Office if they do a visit to your offices. You want to make sure that in terms of HR practice they are fully competent and brief. Throw question at him/her.
3 – Fill the online application
You can start the online application as soon as you want. I would suggest you start while you gather documents and save it online at each time without completing it. It helps to gather docs and act as a reminder of the rules. You will be provided with a list of documents you will need to include in your application. That is again a nice and useful reminder. The online application will also question the specifics of your application. It will help you double-check your understanding of the guidelines. Pretty much like an exam, it is a good exercise to realise how much you rock at knowing the rules by heart. In our constant attention age, isn’t it a good feeling to realise you can still memorise things that are important? You, who can never remember an address, number or name without having to google, Facebook or check your phone – hehe.
4 – And when ready: Pay
If there is one thing that has been made fairly easy, it is probably that.
I got the sponsorship for the company in 11 weeks. That was more than the average time it takes but apparently if you are helped by a solicitor, you can get it much faster returned. I am not a solicitor so you can’t take my guidance for legal advice. The below is a guidance post from experience and what experts shared with me. Being pro-active is what helped me most. Again, there is nothing simple and automatic with application to the UKVI, each case is considered individually. If you have technical questions, I would recommend you seek for legal advice and help from experts from friends or from our visa and immigration forum. Many friends and people have various experiences with the UKVI, and you can never think that your situation is exactly like the one of your friend.
***** DISCLAIMER *******
This post is about how an employee can contribute to help his/her company apply and get a UK sponsorship licence to sponsor their visa. It is based on experience and immigration rules of as of last October 2013. Every effort is made to make sure the accuracy of the information provided. However, no guarantee or representation is given that the information and materials contained in it are complete or free from errors or inaccuracies and any information is not to be looked upon as advice from Migreat. Always read the UK Border Agency policy guidance, the Immigration Rules and our Para-legal Content to find information about all the requirements you must meet. You can find links to this information at Migreat and The UK Border Agency. To the extent permitted by applicable laws, Migreat accepts no liability for any loss or damages or expenses of any kind by the use of this content. Content on this blog is protected by copyright and you may not make alterations or additions to it or use it for commercial purposes without Migreat’s written consent.