Renewing Your Sponsor Licence: Get Your House in Order First
Many sponsors will shortly be renewing their sponsor licence for the second time. It is essential that you check that your house is in order before you apply for renewal.
Sponsor licences were introduced back in November 2008. As you have to renew your sponsor licence every four years, many sponsors will have received, or will shortly be receiving, notification from the Home Office that they need to renew their licence. The notification triggers a three month window to apply for renewal. If you fail to renew the licence before the expiry date, you will no longer be able to access the Sponsor Management System account, and all current Tier 2 or 5 sponsored workers’ leave will be shortened to 60 calendar days. After that, they will no longer be authorised to continue working for your company.
With the renewal function on the Sponsor Management System being a straight forward process, you might think that renewal is as simple as clicking a button and making the payment. However, a sponsor must always ensure that the information on the licence is up to date and that the necessary housekeeping is done prior to renewal:
- Make sure that details of your key personnel users (Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 and Level 2 Users) are up to date. They are the people who will receive the renewal reminder from the Home Office (and only a Level 1 User can action the renewal). In addition, a bounce back email from the Authorising Officer could be detrimental to the licence. A sponsor must have an Authorising Officer at all times and a failure to do so is a severe compliance breach.
- Make sure that details of Tier 2 and 5 sponsored migrant workers are up to date on the system and that their personnel records are up to date.
- Make sure that information about the company and any linked entities is also up to date. A renewal could trigger a compliance visit, and/ or the Home Office requesting information. If you have not notified the Home office of a change of address, an unannounced visit to the previous address could lead to your licence being revoked. Similarly, ensure the company has a record of documentation used to support the initial sponsor licence application to refer to, to ensure the information the Home Office holds about the company is up to date. It will also be useful in the event of the Home Office requesting information at the time of renewal, as they normally only allow the sponsor up to five working days to provide specific documentation.
Whilst sponsors should not wait for renewal to ensure these updates are done, renewal is a good time to check that your house is in order. If you have questions regarding the renewal process, or you need assistance with the licence renewal or with compliance support, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the business immigration team.