Who is a Level 1 User?
A level 1 user is a person who is responsible for the day-to-day management of an organisation’s licence through the use of the Sponsorship management system.
The functions of a Level 1 user in an organisation include but are not limited to:
- Viewing information and updates about their license, and notifying the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of changes in their organisation.
- Carrying out sponsorship activities such as assigning and withdrawing Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS).
- Requesting for additional allocation of certificates.
- Reporting changes in the circumstances of migrant workers.
Eligibility criteria for Level 1 Users
Level 1 users must meet all suitability checks as defined by the Home office to avoid the company’s application for a licence being refused.
A company’s licence application may be refused if persons nominated for any of their key personnel role including the level 1 user has:
- Been reported to or fined by the UKVI in the past 12 months.
- An unspent criminal conviction (i.e. a conviction or caution that is still in their basic criminal record) applicable to sponsors.
- Broken the law or failed to pay VAT or other excise duty at any time.
- Had been a key person with a sponsor who had his/her licence revoked within the past 12 months.
Prospective SMS level 1 users must:
- Be based in the UK most of the time and not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements.
- Not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project.
- Not be under a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking.
What is the Sponsorship Management System (SMS)?
The Sponsorship Management System (SMS) is an online tool used by sponsors for a range of sponsor-related activities such as withdrawing and assigning certificates and reporting necessary changes in the circumstances of migrant workers in compliance with immigration rules.
UK employers use it to meet their requirements while sponsoring people on Temporary Worker or Worker visas. Education providers, as well, use it to fulfil their Home office requirements while sponsoring people on Student or Child Student visas.
The SMS is used to:
- Manage key personnel and licence details.
- Renew allocations and apply for additional CoS/CAS.
- Manage and renew the organisation’s licence and services.
- Create and assign certificates of sponsorship to prospective employees (for UK employers).
- Provide Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies to prospective students (for educational institutions in the UK).
- Report withdrawal of sponsorship and change in the circumstances of sponsored employees or students.
- Report changes in the circumstances, such as change of ownership or location, of the licensed sponsor.
- Apply for premium customer services if needed.
- Pay for and track the progress of action plans.
- Track premium, Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS), and licence renewal applications.
- Apply for student sponsor status.
Steps to Get a Sponsor Licence
The steps applicants must take to apply for a sponsor licence include:
- Check to ensure that their business is eligible
- Check that their job is suitable for sponsorship.
- Determine the type of licence they want to apply for.
- Determine those who will manage the sponsorship process within their business.
- Apply online and pay the required fee.
The licence is valid for four years and holders may lose it if they do not meet their responsibilities as a sponsor.
How Do I Add a Level 1 User to My SMS?
Employers who apply for a sponsor licence must nominate competent people to manage the organisation’s SMS. These persons will fill roles such as authorising officer, key contact, and level 1 user.
They, as well as the applicant, will go through all suitability checks by the Home office to determine their eligibility. The level 1 user must be an employee or office holder.
When a sponsor licence is approved, the authorising officer receives the first login ID (to the SMS) by post while the password is sent directly to the email address of the nominated Level 1 user.
The authorising officer is tasked with providing the login details to the level 1 user who will proceed to log in with these details to have access to all applicable functions of the SMS relevant to the route in which they are licenced.
Employers can appoint a level 2 user or multiple level 1 SMS users with at least one of them being a paid staff member or office holder. An SMS user role can also be filled by a UK-based legal representative or an employee of a third-party organisation who provides HR services to the organisation.
All sponsorship roles except the authorising officer role may be filled by a UK-based legal representative who is qualified to give immigration advice or services. Level 2 users have fewer permissions than level 1 users and can be filled with a temporary member of staff provided by an agency.
The authorising officer is a senior and competent person within the organisation responsible for overseeing the activities of level 2 and level 1 users and must be set up as a level 1 user to have access to the SMS. This role and that of the level 1 user can be filled by the same person.
How IAS Immigration Lawyers can help You
If you require assistance with employing migrant workers, with the efficient operation of your sponsorship management system or with compliance obligations, our team of professional immigration advisers are available to help.
Chat with us online or get in touch with us today on 0330 311 6351 to discuss your specific case with an experienced immigration expert who will work with you to achieve your desired outcome.
Last modified on March 31st, 2023 at 3:02 pm
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A key contact of an organisation is the person who serves as the main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This role may be filled by a staff member or a UK-based representative.
Sponsors should always be ready for a compliance visit. Sponsors should always ensure that the list of level 1 users is kept updated, as well as records such as the contact details of their authorising officer and key contact.
They should also have level 1 users log in at least once a month as recommended in the guidance.
While they do not make immigration decisions, immigration advisers are legal representatives who can help you with most things that are immigration-related.
You may use the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Adviser Finder to locate a registered legal adviser based in the UK.
You may instead, opt to employ the services of Immigration Advice Service (IAS), UK’s leading OISC-accredited immigration specialists with ample experience and expertise to help fulfil your sponsorship requirements.