United Kingdom: Tier 2 Sponsors Should Begin Preparing to Renew Their Sponsorship Licenses
A high proportion of employers holding licenses to sponsor non-EU workers under Tier 2 of the Points Based System must apply to renew their licenses before they expire on November 27, 2012.
Employers that sponsor non-EU workers under Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS) should begin planning for the renewal of their Tier 2 sponsor licenses. A high proportion of Tier 2 sponsor licenses will expire on November 27, 2012.
A company must have a valid Tier 2 sponsor license to employ non-EU workers. Tier 2 sponsors that fail to renew their licenses will be unable to sponsor new non-EU workers, and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will notify a sponsor’s current non-EU employees that they have 60 days to find a new sponsor or settle their affairs and leave the UK. Non-EU workers who leave the UK and have their immigration status canceled may also be subject to cooling off periods that would prevent them from re-entering for work for 12 months.
The Tier 2 Sponsor License Renewal Process
Tier 2 sponsors, or their representatives, renew sponsor licenses using the online Sponsor Management System (SMS). The license renewal fee for most companies is £1,500; for small companies it is £500.
Before beginning the renewal process, a sponsor must ensure its license is up to date, for instance, confirming that the correct contact information is listed for staff who are designated as Key Personnel in the SMS and that its license reflects any recent mergers or takeovers that involved non-EU workers.
Up to four months before a sponsor license expires, the UKBA will email renewal instructions to the sponsor’s SMS Key Contact. The renewal process can only be completed by individuals who are Level 1 SMS users.
When using the SMS to renew a license, sponsors must be very careful at every stage of the process – for example, if they click the button to decline a license renewal, even if by accident, they will permanently lose the ability to renew their license.
The UKBA aims to process license renewal applications within 14 calendar days of receipt. If a sponsor’s license expires while the application is pending, the validity of its license will be temporarily extended. The sponsor’s Tier 2 employees would be able to continue working during this period and the sponsor would be free to continue issuing Certificates of Sponsorship for new non-EU workers.
License renewal applications will be denied if a sponsor fails to pay the correct fee, if the electronic fee payment fails for any reason, or if the details of the sponsor’s license have changed and the sponsor has not amended its license in the SMS. If a license renewal application is denied, the UKBA will move to shorten the immigration status of any current non-EU sponsored workers. The sponsor would then be required to submit an initial Tier 2 sponsor license application, which currently takes approximately 12 weeks to process.
Fragomen’s London office has developed a tiered renewal package to provide employers with the legal and practical advice they need. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or the Fragomen solicitor you work with most often for more information about the PBS sponsor support we can provide.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to email@example.com.