Sponsor Licence: Which
should employers keep?
7 January 2021
Now that the Brexit transition period has officially come to an end, every foreign national coming to the UK for work must apply for permission in advance under the UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System.
This means that employers can no longer rely on Freedom of Movement from the EU to recruit European citizens into skilled roles within their business. Instead, any employer wishing to hire a EU or non-EU citizen must hold a valid Home Office Sponsor Licence, which will enable your business to recruit talent from anywhere in the world.
Hiring skilled workers under the new rules
Once you have successfully applied for your Sponsor Licence, you are legally obliged to uphold certain responsibilities in relation to the maintenance of your licence. These requirements are known as sponsor duties.
To help employers understand the sponsorship process, the Home Office has published a series of guidance documents which set out the Sponsor Licence application process, how to sponsor a skilled worker and how to comply with your sponsor duties.
Removal of the RLMT requirement
Under the previous Tier 2 (General) route, employers were required to complete a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) before recruiting an overseas national for a UK role. The purpose of this was to prove that the business was unable to fill the role with a candidate from the resident UK labour market.
Under the new points-based system, employers are no longer required to carry out a RLMT when hiring a migrant under the Skilled Worker route. However, the Home Office’s guidance for sponsors states that employers must still retain certain documents relating to their recruitment practices for the jobs in which they are sponsoring workers.
Retaining this layer of regulation will come as a surprise to many sponsors. However, observance across the guidance set out in Appendix D is essential if employers are to fulfil their sponsorship duties.
Which recruitment documents should be kept?
With the RLMT requirement removed under the Skilled Worker route, employers no longer face the lengthy process of having to advertise a role for a period of 28 days before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), as was the case with the Tier 2 (General) route. However, if you did not advertise the role you must be able to explain why an advertisement was not deemed necessary, and how you identified that the hired individual was suitable for the role.
If you have advertised the role, there are a number of documents and other evidence you must retain to demonstrate the recruitment process to the Home Office. These include:
- A copy of the job advertisement as it appeared in its given medium, including:
- The job title
- The location of the job
- The main duties and responsibilities
- The required skills, qualifications and experience
- An indication of the salary package or salary range
- The closing date for applications.
- Evidence of the date in which the vacancy was first advertised, such as:
- A copy of your advert in any newspapers or professional journals, clearing showing the title and date of the publication
- A screenshot from any website hosting your job advert, taken on the day it was first advertised.
- A copy of any letters or invoices from publications or websites in which your advertisement was hosted.
- Documents relating to the internal recruitment process, including:
- All job applications shortlisted for final interview in the medium they were received (e.g. – Emails, CVs, application forms), showing the applicant’s name, address and date of birth.
- The names and total number of applicants shortlisted for final interview
- For each settled worker who was rejected or did not take up the offer of employment, interview notes or other documentation showing the reasons why they have not been employed.
Further information about the types of documents sponsors must retain can be found in Appendix D of the Home Office guidance for sponsors.
Expert advice on business immigration
If you need support with maintaining compliance under the UK’s new immigration system, Smith Stone Walters is here to help. If you are applying for a Sponsor Licence for the first time, our video guide sets out the application process and what you need to know before applying.
For more information, or to speak to an immigration advisor about your specific requirements, please contact us today.