Home Office seeks sponsor licence cost information

Recently in April 2021, the Home Office conducted a survey wherein more than 34,000 UK employers were asked to undertake a survey about the time and cost invested to gain a sponsor licence, hire skilled overseas staff and fulfill sponsorship duties.

The aim of the survey was to gather the information to be used by the Home Office of developing an ‘improved sponsorship system’ for workers while allowing the Home Office to evaluate the new system once it is launched.

The survey was to be completed by respondents no later than 12 noon on Monday, 24 May 2021. The survey took approximately 30 minutes to complete. 

The Home Office’s view 

With a grand vision to increase skilled worker mobility from across the globe, the Home Office is in the process to simplify and streamline the Sponsorship system for the ease of both the employers and employees.

The Home Office earlier issued a statement, “ We want to understand the experiences of employers after receiving recent sponsorship licences. The findings of the survey will be used to illustrate the time and costs spent by organisations in managing sponsorship to help the Home Office understand the impact of reforms.”

Areas addressed in the survey 

The survey is seeking feedback in six specific fields involved in the process of sponsorship and licence compliances :

  1. General details of the company sponsor’s size, sector and the type of sponsor licence held.
  2. The time invested and cost of the third parties to support the sponsor in its everyday activities – for example, immigration advisers and HR consultants.
  3. The time taken to understand sponsor guidance and feedback on using the sponsorship management system
  4. The time and resources allocated for and assigning Certificates of Sponsorship 
  5. The time and resources used to collect, compile and submit evidence of significant changes to the sponsor organisation – for example, a merger, takeover or adding or removing a branch.
  6. The company infrastructure to comply with sponsor record-keeping duties.

Procedure and cost involved with skilled worker sponsorship

Organisations willing to sponsor skilled workers will first of all need to make an application to the Home Office to secure a Sponsor Licence.

Once an organisation gets a sponsor licence it will then be able to sponsor non-EEA nationals and EU citizens to work as skilled staff in their organisations.

The initial cost is the Sponsor Licence application fees that the employer must bear. This amount varies depending on whether an organisation is considered to be a small or a medium or large company.

Section 382 of The Companies Act 2006 outlines the grouds to consider whether the organisation is small, medium, or large. To reconfirm the same, two of the following requirements must be met:

  • The company must have a turnover of or equal to £10.2 million.
  • The company must have a balance sheet total of no more than £5.1 million.
  • There must not be more than 50 employees working for them.

If an organisation meets at least two requirements, it will be classed as a small company, otherwise, it will be required to pay the higher sponsor licence fees when applying for a sponsor licence. An organisation will also automatically be classed as a large company if it is a:

  • insurance company
  • public company
  • banking company
  • an e-money issuer.

The current sponsor licence fees for small companies to obtain a sponsor licence is £536 and  £1,476 for large companies.

The application process can be expedited if you are pressed for time at an additional cost of £500.

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