A Guide to Supporting
Documents for your
Sponsor Licence application

From 1 January 2021, the UK will implement its new points-based immigration system and end the free movement of workers from the EU. Under the new rules, any UK business wishing to employ EU or non-EU workers must hold a valid Home Office sponsor licence.

With this in mind, many businesses are now looking ahead to 2021 and preparing for new recruiting practices by applying for a sponsor licence.

Although the online application form itself is relatively straightforward and should only take around 20 minutes to complete, one common pitfall of the application process is supplying the required supporting documents. Every organisation applying for a sponsor licence is required to submit supporting documents to evidence their suitability to sponsor overseas workers and prove they meet the eligibility criteria.

Many sponsor licence applications are refused on the basis of missing or incorrect supporting documents. If you do not follow the Home Office guidance on required documentation, your application will be automatically rejected.

To help your business save time and money when applying for a sponsor licence, it’s important to get your application and supporting documentation right first time.

What supporting documents do I need?

A full list of documents you must provide can be found in Appendix A of the Home Office’s guidance for sponsors. In most cases, you will need to provide at least four supporting documents from the list included in Appendix A.

The documents you will need to send typically includes the following:

  • Signed lease or rental agreements for office premises
  • Corporate bank statements
  • The business’s VAT registration certificate
  • Your business’s latest annual accounts
  • Your employer’s liability insurance certificate

However, the exact documents you will be required to submit depends heavily on your organisation type, the type of sponsor licence you are applying for, and the type of roles you are looking to sponsor overseas workers in.

For example, if your organisation is a recognised public body such as a local authority, or if your company is listed on the London Stock Exchange Main Market, you may not need to supply four supporting documents as the Home Office will be able to make some of the necessary checks online.

In contrast, businesses that have been operating for less than 18 months will be subject to more rigorous documentation requirements. The best way to ensure you can meet the requirements on supporting documentation is to consult an experienced advisor who will be able to help you identify the necessary documents for your organisation.

All documents must be sent within five working days of submitting your online application. Usually the documents submitted must be original or certified copies, however due to the current Coronavirus situation, this rule has recently been relaxed and the Home Office is now accepting PDF documents by email. It is not yet clear if this will become a permanent feature of the application process.

What happens if I do not send the right documentation?

If you fail to provide the required documentation, your application could be significantly delayed or refused entirely.

In this instance, the Home Office may contact you to request further evidence, however this is at the discretion of the decision maker. Where requests are made for further evidence, you must supply this within the given timeframe or your application will be refused.

Common grounds for refusal based on supporting documentation includes cases where the supplied documents are out of date, incomplete or uncertified, or have not been submitted within the required timescale. With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters would recommend businesses check the validity of each document ahead of submitting them to the Home Office.

Get help with your sponsor licence application

Smith Stone Walters has helped hundreds of companies submit successful applications for a sponsor licence. Our team will work with you throughout the entire process to ensure you can provide the correct supporting documents and submit the strongest application to the Home Office.

If you have any questions about the process or need some support with your application, we’d be delighted to help. Contact us today for a friendly discussion with one of our immigration experts.

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