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Sponsor Licence Renewals UK

From April 2024, new regulations mean Sponsor Licences no longer need to be renewed every four years. Instead, licences will remain valid as long as holders comply to Home Office guidelines. 

Those with Sponsor Licences which expire before 6 April 2024 must still apply to renewal their licence and will need to pay the appropriate fee. 

We are a team of professional immigration lawyers who can offer advice and support to both employers and employees. Call IAS on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help & assistance with a Sponsor Licence. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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    Overview of Sponsor Licence Renewals

    A Sponsor Licence renewal allows current licence holders to continue enjoying the benefits of employing foreign nationals. Failure to renew a licence is a serious offence and could lead to significant penalties.

    Renewals can be made up to three months in advance of the current Sponsor Licence expiry date and employers are notified about the upcoming need to apply for a renewal via the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

    The application for an extension of a licence can be done online but it is important to ensure when submitting a renewal that all details of current employees are up-to-date and accurate.

    Companies must also ensure they are continuing to maintain compliance with immigration and employment laws before applying for a Sponsor Licence renewal.

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    Do I Need to Apply for a Sponsor Licence Renewal UK?

    Companies with a Sponsor Licence approaching expiry need to apply for a renewal if they want to continue employing staff from overseas. A Sponsor Licence does not automatically renew so it is very important to apply otherwise it could have a serious impact.

    Employers would no longer be able to issue new Certificates of Sponsorship or continue sponsoring existing workers. This means unless current staff from overseas are able to find a new sponsor they would have to leave the UK within two months.

    If an organisation continues to sponsor migrant workers without a valid Sponsor Licence then it could face significant financial penalties for immigration breaches.

    You should seek legal advice immediately if your Sponsor Licence has already expired but you are continuing to employ foreign workers.

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    Applying for a Sponsor Licence Renewal

    Without a valid Sponsor Licence, the permission to sponsor workers will be withdrawn and this could have life-changing consequences for current employees. Therefore, it is important to apply for a renewal correctly and promptly.

    The first step is to apply for the licence renewal via the SMS and pay the appropriate fee, which will vary depending on the size and nature of the business.

    A key part of the renewal application is to ensure that all the details registered with the SMS and the Home Office are accurate.

    Employers should check the designated Authorising Officer and Level 1/2 roles correspond to the person actually carrying out the duties. This is especially important if there has been a change of staff or ownership within the company in recent months.

    Applicants should also double-check that all UK-based offices and sites are registered with the SMS and that all current sponsored workers have accurate records including up-to-date contact information, relevant job descriptions and accurate salaries.

    The renewal could be rejected if the information is not correct so ensure you have reported any recent changes, including absent or dismissed staff.

    Once the Sponsor Renewal Licence has been made via the SMS and the fee paid, a submission sheet will be issued. This should be printed out and kept with other important HR records.

    This process is the same regardless of the type of Sponsor Licence being renewed including the Student Sponsor Licence.

    For help with the application for a renewal of a Sponsor Licence reach out to our team of immigration experts who can provide support in ensuring the process is followed without mistake.

    Our expert immigration lawyers can assist with your sponsor licence renewal application. Contact Us

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      Once the Sponsor Licence has been submitted, the Home Office will review the application to check that the requirements for holding a licence have been met.

      This can include assessing all Certificates of Sponsorship which have been issued for current employees as well as checking a company’s HR procedures to ensure workplace regulations are being followed.

      It is important to respond to any queries from the Home Office to avoid potential delays or even refusal of your Sponsor Licence renewal.

      The requests could include supplying more paperwork or giving more information about your procedures for carrying out Right to Work checks on potential staff members. Usually, you are given five working days to provide the requested documentation.

      The Home Office does not limit how many times a Sponsor Licence can be renewed. As long as the licence holder continues to meet the requirements and complies with immigration and employment laws then they are eligible to renew and employ workers from overseas.

      Benefit from the Streamlined Sponsor Licence Renewal

      Some organisations may be able to benefit from the Home Office’s streamed Sponsor Licence renewal which involves fewer checks and an overall faster processing time.

      To qualify, Sponsor Licence holders must have at least two approved licence renewals in the past and that there are no other concerns about their compliance.

      A streamlined licence renewal means the UK immigration service will not conduct the following as part of the renewal process:

      • Licence structure reviews
      • Certificate of sponsorship usage reviews
      • Risk profile reviews
      • Outstanding change requests reviews
      • Accreditation and registration details checks
      • Visit history reviews
      • Compliance visit referrals
      • Company and insolvency checks
      • Other trading checks

      All of the above checks are likely to be conducted following a Sponsor Licence renewal if the applicant is:

      • Currently suspended
      • Subject to an official action plan
      • Is involved in an ongoing investigation for non-compliance
      • Facing security service concerns

      Cost of Sponsor Licence Renewals UK

      The cost of renewing a Sponsor Licence varies depending on the size of the organisation but will usually be the same as the fee paid when initially applying for the licence accounting for any increases in UK government processing fees.

      For a company with an annual turnover of less than £10.2 million and no more than 50 employees plus a balance sheet lower than £5.1 million, the renewal charge will be £536. Larger firms and non-charities are required to pay £1,476 at the time of renewal.

      If sponsoring only temporary workers then the fee is £536 regardless of size and all fees must be paid at the time of applying for the licence renewal.

      Processing time for Sponsor Licence Renewals

      In the majority of cases, the Home Office will process a Sponsor Licence renewal within 8 weeks.

      However, if more information is requested or you need to provide additional documents this could delay the decision. Therefore, you should respond promptly to any requests from the Home Office, especially if your existing licence is expiring very shortly.

      It is possible to pay for a priority service to get a decision within ten working days. This costs £500 but there are only a few fast track slots available each day on a first come first served basis.

      Find out how we can assist with your sponsor licence renewal application. Contact Us

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        What Is A Renewal Compliance Visit?

        As the Home Office has the power to carry out a compliance visit before renewing a licence, it is possible your company will be subjected to one, especially if there has not been an inspection within the past four years.

        It is important to have all records up-to-date and accurate ahead of the visit as the inspectors are entitled to turn up unannounced.

        The aim of the compliance visit will be to assess if there are the correct procedures and processes in place to meet the responsibilities of being a Sponsor Licence holder. You may be asked to provide evidence of the following during the inspection:

        • Copies of personal and other HR policies and documentation
        • Proof of reporting any staff changes
        • Paperwork to demonstrate Right to Work checks are being conducted

        The visit may also involve interviewing existing sponsored employees to check if the information on their corresponding Certificate of Sponsorship is correct and accurate.

        It is important to comply with all aspects of a compliance inspection otherwise your Sponsor Licence could be revoked.

        What If The Sponsor Licence Renewal is Rejected?

        If a Sponsor Licence renewal is refused by the Home Office then you should consider seeking legal advice from an immigration specialist as the decision will mean you are no longer able to employ migrant workers.

        Once you have been notified of the refusal you can request a review of the decision if you feel a mistake has been made or the case officer has neglected to take into account certain documents.

        You should request a review of the decision within 14 working days of being notified of the rejection.

        It is possible to submit a new Sponsor Licence renewal application if you believe you can correct any errors that were included in the original application.

        Unfortunately, it is not possible to appeal a decision and if the Home Office does not renew your licence it means all existing sponsored workers will have 60 days to find employment with a new sponsor, change visa or return to their home country.

        Reach out to IAS for advice if your application to renew has been refused. Our team of experts can help provide you with the next steps and provide support.

        Call us for further assistance with your sponsor licence renewal. Contact Us

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          What Are the Common Grounds for a Sponsor Licence Renewal Refusal?

          There are a number of reasons why a renewal request for Sponsor Licence could be rejected and it is important to understand why, especially if you plan to reapply.

          Common reasons for the Home Office rejecting the application include:

          • Not complying with sponsor responsibilities
          • Paying an incorrect application fee
          • Not reporting changes
          • Failure to keep accurate information on sponsored staff members

          IAS offer a personalised audit to ensure you are in compliance with all the duties attached to being a Sponsor Licence. This service could prove invaluable if you plan to reapply and tackle any of the issues highlighted by the refusal.

          How can IAS Help?

          Although renewing a Sponsor Licence should be a straightforward process, many businesses face unexpected problems when applying and can be surprised by a refusal.

          Our team of expert immigration lawyers can help you through the renewal procedure and double-check your application to prevent any potential issues. This is particularly important as the fees associated with renewal are non-refundable even if the application is rejected by the Home Office.

          As well as offering compliance audit visits, IAS lawyers can guide you through the SMS part of the renewal to ensure a successful result so you can continue to benefit from the skills of foreign workers.

          To learn more about the services we can provide for you, contact us today by calling +1 844 290 6312 or using the online chat.

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                    Related pages for your continued reading.

                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Yes, each CoS does have an expiration date that is linked to the contract offered to the migrant worker. The exact date when the certificate ceases to be valid is listed on the electronic record.

                    No, a CoS can not be renewed. However, a new certificate can be issued if the worker’s contract is extended with a new expiry date.

                    An employer needs to pay the appropriate fee when issuing a CoS but the exact costs depend on the type of worker being sponsored. For a skilled worker, it costs £239 and £25 for a temporary worker.