Important changes to the
sponsor licence priority
service from 21 June

From 21 June 2023, the Home Office is introducing some changes to the pre-licence priority service for organisations applying for a sponsor licence.

The pre-licence priority service is an optional service which allows organisations to pay for a faster decision on their sponsor licence application. Previously, applicants wishing to use this service were required to send an email to the Home Office after successfully submitting their licence application online and paying the application fee. The applicant would then be required to make a further payment if their request to use the priority service was approved.

From 21 June the process for requesting priority service will be incorporated into the online form used to apply for a sponsor licence. This means that an organisation can now request and pay for priority service at the same time as they pay their sponsor licence application fee, delivering a more streamlined service for both the applicant and UKVI.

Organisations will now also be able to request and pay for priority service after submitting their application, if it is not already under consideration, by accessing their sponsor licence application account and paying the priority service fee.

What is the pre-licence priority service?

The pre-licence priority service allows eligible organisations to prioritise their application for a sponsor licence by paying an additional £500 fee. The service ensures your application will be considered within 10 working days, rather than the standard processing time of 8 weeks.

The following work and temporary work routes are currently eligible to use the priority service:

  • Skilled Worker
  • GBM – Senior or Specialist Worker
  • GBM – Graduate Trainee
  • Minister of Religion
  • International Sportsperson
  • Charity Worker
  • Creative Worker
  • Religious Worker.

The priority service is limited to a small number of applications every working day, and faster decisions are allocated on a first come, first served basis. A maximum of 30 priority service requests are available each day across all eligible routes. Requests can only be made between 9:00am and 23:59pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Applicants should note that using the priority service does not guarantee that your application will be approved.

How to request priority service

Under the new system, eligible applicants will be presented with the option to request and pay for priority service when submitting the online sponsor licence application. You will receive confirmation of your payment on your submission sheet.

If you have already submitted your application and paid your application fee but you now wish to upgrade your application to priority, you will need to need to log back into your sponsor application account using your username and password and select ‘Finish incomplete applications’. It is therefore vital that make a note of your user ID and password because if you forget it, you will not be able to log back in to make your request for priority service.

In some cases, you may not be presented with the option to request priority service on your sponsor licence application. This could be for several reasons:

  • You are applying for an ineligible route
  • The maximum daily limit of requests has been reached
  • You have submitted your application outside of the service operating times
  • Your application is already in progress.

Support with your sponsor licence application

The new, simpler process for requesting priority service will be a welcome change for those employers with a need to obtain a sponsor licence quickly. However, as slots are still limited to 30 per day, applicants wishing to use the priority service are advised to submit their request promptly when the service opens at 9:00am each morning.

If you require support with your sponsor licence application or any other aspect of immigration compliance, Smith Stone Walters can help. To discuss your requirements with a member of our team, please contact us today.

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