Navigating through the sponsor licence process
Having been through the sponsor licence process ourselves, at K2, as well as helping many clients through this process, we are best placed to help you navigate through the application and assist you if needed. Learn what we did right, but also where you might meet delays or potential issues, through our documented experience below.
A bit of background: New Points Based UK Immigration System
From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and the UK will introduce a new points-based immigration system. The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and transform the way in which all migrants come to the UK to work.
Seeing as all employers will need a sponsor licence if they want to recruit EU and non-EU citizens under most of the work routes, here at K2 we needed to obtain a sponsor licence ourselves, in order to be compliant with the new regulations.
We have now obtained our licence and are able to help you with your sponsor licence application process, step-by-step, and can give you all the information your business needs to be ready for these changes.
K2’s Sponsorship Licence Application Experience
As a global company, K2 employs many European citizens, who live and work with us in the UK. This means that K2 needed to obtain a Sponsorship Licence if we were to continue to be able to employ new EU national colleagues past January 1st, 2021.
The process of obtaining our Sponsorship License was a little tricky at times, so we have created a timeline story to document our experience for you, hoping that you will pick up some key hints and tips, and your application process will be as smooth as possible.
As always, if you have any additional questions, or if you would like assistance with this application process, we are here to help. Please just get in touch and we would be glad to assist.
Timeline of our application
STAGE 1: Starting the process - Internal sign off
Start canvassing/investigating internally who is going to fulfil your 3 critical sponsorship roles: Authorising Officer, Key Contact and L1 User (this last one is easy if we are your immigration partner)!
We would suggest starting to gather documents and information for the application ahead of getting internal sign off. Do not let the internal sign off process hold you back.
Not only could this save you time later on in the application but means that you are in a great position to get started when you do receive sign off.
Additionally, when starting this process on behalf of your company, be prepared to own it. By this, we mean, be clear and prepared to counsel all your stakeholders from the start, on what you need from them and keep everyone updated on the progress throughout.
- Get started as soon as you can: Do not let the internal sign off process hold you back!
- Own it! Be an internal champion for this process
STAGE 2: Getting your documents ready
For the application, there are lots of documents that you will need to provide, and lots of information you will need to be ready to share. Getting these documents ready can be a lengthy process and can be very time consuming. For us, there were a few bumps in the road that slowed our progress, and we have shared these with you below, to help you avoid having the same issues.
Try and get your house in order as early as possible
The earlier you can sort out your files and get everything ready for the application, the better. Here are some key things to look out for when starting this process:
- HR audit: Audit the files of your existing staff and ensure you have their immigration status, day one joiner checks etc on file.
- Job descriptions: Make sure you have prospective job descriptions on file.
- Internal processes documents: Check that impacted processes are documented and current (including recruitment, absence etc) in employee handbook, HR system.
Try and plan for as many eventualities as possible
When planning for this application, and when sorting through all the company information to try and get organised, unforeseen circumstances (like a global pandemic!) or situations that have not been planned for, can really affect your timeline.
To help mitigate some of these issues for you, here is some wisdom we would like to share with you from our experience obtaining a sponsor licence for our clients and ourselves:
- Company restructure: Is your company going through any restructures, is there someone you can ask to check ahead of progressing your application? Any company restructuring might impact any T2 ICT application status.
- Contingency time for absences: Are you factoring in contingency time for key people who may be on leave? You do not want to waste valuable time waiting for people who you did not know would be absent.
- Additional entities: Are there any additional entities that you will need to add? It is worth noting that some entities can be added at a later point if not ready all together, but DON’T WAIT!
- Documents getting notarised: It is really important that you factor in time for getting documents notarised (via Zoom currently), as this can be time consuming for all involved
You can use the government website to find, and update company information. Such as Company Number, Registered Address, Signed Office Lease Agreement and more.
- Try and get your house in order as early as possible.
- Try and plan for as many eventualities as possible.
- Book out the time, in advance, with key personnel.
STAGE 3: Submitting the application online
Then we were ready to submit our application online!
This was a slow process. It took us 80 minutes to submit approximately 10 pages (for reference, ideally this should have only taken around 10 minutes). This was mostly due to connectivity issues, the government website having errors, and us not being able to navigate the page easily. These bugs on the government website may now have been fixed (we hope so)!
Once we completed the submission, the confirmation of the application does come through immediately, which does give peace of mind!
Fundamentally, we can help you with the submission of your application, either fully, or just by having us on the call with you as you make the submission, to ensure you are completing it correctly, especially if you are concerned, or if you do not have the time… or the patience!
After 3-4 weeks, we then received our approved application - which is fantastic!
Please be aware that this licence does only last for four years, so hopefully the renewal process will be quicker; we will let you know!
K2 can help!
As always, if you have any further questions, or concerns, please get in touch and one of our dedicated immigration team will be able to support you.
We are also helping clients to complete their sponsor licence applications, so if you would like assistance with this process, we are here to help, and as you have read, we’ve been through it ourselves.
Additionally, if you would like to have a virtual coffee with any of our immigration experts, please contact us we would be happy to arrange this.