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Level 1 User SMS – Sponsor Management System

A Level 1 User is the person in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Sponsor Management System (SMS). Aside from processing the Certificate of Sponsorship application for new employees, they can also update them and perform various functions.

Get in touch with us for assistance with processing a sponsor licence or hiring foreign workers. Call 0333 305 9375 or contact us online for immigration advice.


Who Can Access the SMS?

Sponsorship Management System is an online tool to manage the sponsorship licence. It keeps a record of every migrant worker while you serve as their sponsor. You also use the system to apply for new Certificates of Sponsorship(COS) and distribute them.

As part of the sponsor licence application, the organisation must select key personnels. They will receive varying access levels to the SMS after a licence is granted.

The Authorising Officer, usually a corporate director or a partner, is the first key personnel. This individual identifies how many employees require SMS access and their level of access.

Other key personnel roles required are Level 1 and Level 2 Users. Level 1 allows full access to the entire SMS functions. Meanwhile, a Level 2 User has limited access and cannot perform organisational-level tasks.

A Key Contact is also assigned as the main point person between the sponsoring company and the Home Office. This key personnel does not have automatic access to the SMS. However, the Authorising Officer may grant Level 1 or Level 2 access permissions.

What Are The Duties Of A Level 1 User?

The Level 1 User performs day-to-day management of the SMS. They can also create, assign, and withdraw certificates. Because of their crucial role, these key personnel must be proficient in using the system.

Level 1 Users can process additional users for the same level. They can also add or remove Level 2 Users. A Level 2 user can only be appointed after the sponsorship licence has been granted.

Renewing and tracking sponsorship licence applications is also the responsibility of Level 1 Users. However, if the licence is allowed to lapse, this will deny access to the SMS.

They also update the SMS with contact information for migrant employees. In addition, Level 1 Users report specific migrant worker activity including non-attendance, non-compliance, or disappearance.

Level 1 Users also pay for and monitor the progress of action plans set by the Home Office. For example, this happens if the sponsor licence rating has been downgraded due to previous violations.

What Are The Qualifications Of A Level 1 User?

At least one Level 1 user is required to access the SMS. If they work for a company, this key personnel is usually an employee from the human resources department.

Moreover, they must meet the following criteria:

  • A paid staff member in your organisation
  • Permanently based in the United Kingdom for the duration of the role
  • Not bound by a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, nor by a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
  • No history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements

An independent contractor, project-specific consultant, or temporary worker supplied by an employment agency is not permitted to become a Level 1 User.

Will Level 1 Users Undergo A Background Check?

SMS Level 1 Users may also go through suitability checks. The following criminal records may cause their disqualification:

  • Pending felony conviction.
  • Breached the law, been reported to UKVI, or been penalised in the last 12 months.
  • Became a key contact for a sponsor with a licence revoked in the past 12 months.
  • Have not paid VAT or other excise duty.

We can assist you if you need help with your sponsor licence application.

How Do We Nominate A Level 1 User?

Companies can only propose one Level 1 User in the initial sponsor application. This individual must be an employee or an office holder, such as a Director, Trustee, or Company Secretary.

Other staff members can be appointed as additional Level 1 User once the license has been issued. However, UKVI recommends keeping numbers bare minimum to run your firm effectively.

There may be more than one SMS Level 1 User, but at least one must be a paid member of staff or an office holder.

They can also be an employee of a third-party organisation that assists with an HR function. A UK-based legal representative is also an option.

How Can IAS help?

The Home Office is fining more firms for not complying with correct protocols when sponsoring workers. Thus, properly assigning Level 1 Users and training them in the proper use of SMS is crucial.

IAS has offered professional immigration services in the public, private, and corporate sectors for over ten years. We can assist you through our Sponsor Licence Training. This is designed to train businesses to ensure compliance when recruiting overseas workers.

You can get started with our “Sponsor Licence – HR, Compliance, and Right to Work Training”. This course will cover the following topics:

  • What are Sponsor Licences and the Skilled Worker Visa?
  • How can we conduct proper Right to Work checks?
  • What are the required HR processes?
  • What are the steps in assigning key roles?
  • How can users update information in the SMS?
  • How do we renew our licence?

Our legal team can further provide information about our training and related services. If you need expert advice managing your sponsor licence or hiring foreign workers, please call 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

Our professional immigration advice sessions are available in person at our offices, or via the phone.

Get in touch with us today for expert assistance with anything sponsor licence related.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Since you can only assign one user during the sponsor licence application process, the Authorising Officer usually holds Level 1 access. After the sponsor licence is approved, new users can be added through SMS.

Throughout the term of your licence, you must assign an Authorising Officer. Its key personnel role is to oversee all SMS users’ activity and ensure systems are in place. However, they do not automatically have access to the SMS, unlike Level 1 or Level 2 users.

Once your sponsor licence has been granted, there is no limit to the number of Level 1 Users you can add. If necessary, you can nominate other Level 1 Users after you have been approved for a sponsor licence.

However, minimise adding new users to the SMS. If you want to limit the number of Level 1 users, designate a Level 2 User instead.

The Authorising Officer can deactivate a Level 1 User who will leave your organisation. If this is the only person left for this role, nominate a new Level 1 User.

A Level 1 User has access to the entire functions of the SMS. A Level 2 User will have limited access and less authority to make changes.

Level 1 users should access their SMS account at least once a month. Checking your SMS account frequently allows you to review and update your license details on time. This will also help your business stay informed on the latest updates.

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