UK Companies who employ non-EEA foreign nationals should check whether they will need to renew their Sponsor Licences soon, to avoid accidentally becoming ineligible to continue employing foreign workers under Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS).
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) will be sending e-mail reminders to UK companies who are registered users of the Sponsor Management System (SMS), advising that they arrange a timely Sponsor Licence renewal application.
The PBS and Sponsor Licence system was introduced nearly four years ago in November 2008. Four years is the current life cycle of a Sponsor Licence and therefore many organisations which registered as sponsors when the PBS was introduced will soon be required to renew their licences.
The SMS allows sponsors to renew their licences up to three months before the date their current licence expires. Renewal applications are submitted online and there is no requirement to send in any supporting documents when lodging the application.
However, the UKBA has the discretion to request documents or information which similar to those submitted in support of the initial licence application. If such additional documents are requested, sponsors have only seven calendar days to provide them to the UKBA, or the entire application will be refused.
We would advise all companies to make a note of the date their current Sponsor Licence will expire, and accordingly plan to submit a renewal application in good time. Companies should also be aware of their duties as a Sponsor Licence holder and ensure full compliance with these obligations.
Any company who has queries regarding the renewals process, or who is unsure of their sponsor obligations, should seek professional advice.