UK Employer and Study Sponsor Licences

The Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) are responsible for the issuing of sponsorship licences, grading sponsors as A or B grade and conducting site visits and audits to monitor and enforce immigration regulations. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to ensure that the conditions of the UK immigration sponsorship licence are continually met.

Takeoff Visa Services provide expert guidance and compliance services to sponsors or potential sponsors who wish to sponsor non EU nationals. As a leading authority on UK immigration law we are fully equipped to provide expert immigration solutions under the points based system and tier 1 to tier 5 UK visas.

Our dedicated team of specialist immigration lawyers, ex-immigration officers and highly qualified consultants provide immigration compliance and audit services for all types of organisations.
Some of the key issues of sponsorship under the Points Based System are examined in brief on our site.

For more detailed information on how the PBS sponsorship system will work regarding immigration to the UK, and the requirements associated with it, complete our easy enquiry form for one of our friendly and professional immigration consultants to contact you and discuss your requirements in confidence.

Ten Things to be Aware of:

A sponsor must demonstrate they have the relevant processes and procedures in place to ensure ongoing compliance with the immigration law

  • If a sponsor is deemed as issuing a sponsorship certificate in error all non EU people they sponsored may be told to stop work and be given 28 days to leave the UK
  • If found to be in breach of any immigration laws, the responsible person within the sponsoring organisation will face a fine of £10,000 or two years in prison
  • A sponsor must judge who is worthy of sponsorship; no official feedback is provided until an audit is conducted which could be months or years later
  • If a sponsor has been granting sponsorship outside of the PBS rules their licence will be suspended or revoked, all overseas nationals will have their leave in the UK curtailed to 28 or 60 days to leave the UK and a fine may be imposed
  • A representative's office can be the place registered by sponsors for Immigration Officials to attend when conducting a 'site' visit. This reduces the interference to the business and allows all immigration records to be presented in a compliant way with expert representation
  • A sponsor for employment will have to ensure an overseas qualification is comparable to a UK NVQ level 5 or above and that advertising for the post is acceptable under changing immigration criteria
  • Only those registered with OISC and solicitors on the roll of the Law Societies of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are allowed to provide UK immigration advice under the UK immigration PBS law. If in doubt a person must confirm what advice they are allowed to provide to overseas nationals
  • The person who is sponsored will still have to apply for Entry Clearance and may be refused a UK Visa if the Entry Clearance Officer is concerned about the case
  • An application that is refused has no right of appeal!

What Does Sponsorship Mean for Me?

The UK Immigration tier 1 to tier 5 Points Based System means, with the exception of those in tier 1, all migrants, not including those coming to the UK through family based immigration require a UK sponsor before they can apply to live and work in the UK.

The UK visa sponsor may be a British company, a college or university or another establishment such as a church or mission.

In every case, having a sponsor is the first step in applying for a PBS UK visa.
All non-EU nationals also require a biometric identity card if they are staying longer than six months.

For UK businesses, this means greater responsibility and more accountability with sponsors ensuring that they comply with the requirements for sponsoring non-EU citizens and continue to do so.

They will also continue to be responsible for the conduct of the people they sponsor. If the UK Border and Immigration Agency believes a sponsor does not have the relevant processes and procedures in place to ensure absolute UK Immigration Compliance their sponsorship licence will be revoked.

How Will Sponsorship Work?

Sponsorship is based on two key principles, that firstly UK institutions who benefit most from skilled migration shoulder the responsibility for helping to prevent abuse of the system.
Secondly, the system aims to ensure that those coming to the UK are eligible to do so, and that they have a genuine offer of a place of work or study and therefore sponsorship.
In the first instance, a prospective sponsor will apply to the Border and Immigration Agency in order to be granted a licence. When successfully licensed, a sponsor can apply for a number of certificates of sponsorship, which they can then present to their people whom they intend to sponsor.

Once a prospective employee has been allocated a certificate of sponsorship, he or she will be eligible to apply for UK entry clearance. 

It should be noted that a successful grant of a sponsorship certificate does not constitute the right to enter the UK; rather, it fulfils the prerequisite of sponsorship, allowing a candidate to progress to making a visa application.
Once a person is present in the UK, their sponsor will be obliged to take responsibility for them. 

This extends from keeping sufficient records of each person through to informing the Home Office Border and Immigration Agency in cases where a person does not turn up for work or study and takes absence without permission for a significant time.

Immigration Compliance

The requirements outlined above are enforced by the Border and Immigration Agency who monitor sponsors through immigration compliance checks; visits to the sponsor's premises, whether pre-arranged or not to review the sponsor's conduct in relation to their obligations of holding a licence. 

The Border and Immigration Agency also review sponsor activity through 'hard' or 'soft' review points based on numbers of certificates. 

In cases where sponsor behaviour is found to be below the required standards, a civil or where appropriate, criminal prosecution will be imposed. 

Takeoff Visa Services are qualified to represent sponsors during this process and register our offices as the place where Immigration Officials attend it they wish to conduct a "site" visit.

Sponsorship Ratings

Sponsors will be rated in one of two categories, A or B. The majority will be A rated, however, in some cases the Border and Immigration Agency may only award a B grade based on its risk assessments. 

Sponsors can also be demoted to a B rating if the Border and Immigration Agency feels that it is not fulfilling its obligations or poses a threat to UK immigration. 

In cases of demotion, sponsors will be given an opportunity to argue their case, however, as a B rated sponsor they will be given a time limited 'action plan' to regain A-status.
Penalties for non-compliance will be issued where appropriate and cases will be treated as civil or criminal depending on the circumstances. 

Civil penalties will be imposed in situations where the law is broken through negligence or inferior employment practices.
How Takeoff Immigration and Visa can help you

We look at all of the relevant information surrounding your case, putting all the pieces together. Every case has its own merits, therefore, it is of the utmost importance that they analyse and assess your individual circumstances before they take your case forward. Only then, will they fully inform you on what they will do next and you are allocated a Senior Legal Caseworker.

The collation of documents is the back bone of your case, as it helps to strengthen and validate your UK Visa application. Our  Senior Caseworker will give you unrestricted access to a unique Case Management System, so you can raise any concerns you may have. It will also allow you to send important documents from the comfort of your home or office, 24 hours a day. No need for appointments.

Once the documents have been collated, the Senior Caseworker will then apply legal representation, applying the latest immigration rules to your application. This alone could be the difference in your application being rejected or granted. It's in these very important legal representations that our Barristers will use the expertise that they have honed, through submitting thousands of successful UK Visa applications, in presenting your case.

The Home Office makes their decisions based on the documents and legal representations that are presented to them. In most instances they don't get to meet you in person, hence the importance that the documents that our Senior Case Worker submit to them, contain relevant facts about your case that are further validated and strengthened by applying current UK Immigration Law.

It does not stop there. Once your application is submitted, our Senior Caseworker  will closely monitor the progress of your application with the deliberating body until a decision has been reached. They will then notify you of the outcome, so you are up-to-date on any information regarding your UK Visa application.

Contact a member of our Team  0203 283 8742  or via the form below.