Overview of Sponsor Licence Priority Service
A sponsor licence priority service is an immigration application processing system that fast-tracks sponsor licence applications, significantly reducing your waiting time for a final decision. Priority service enables you to apply for a priority license on the basis of high importance or urgency, thus reducing the standard processing time.
A sponsor licence priority service is also known as a pre-licence priority service.
What Is Sponsor Licence?
A sponsor licence is a programme that authorises employers in the UK to employ foreign nationals living outside the UK. If you need to hire people from outside the UK, you need a sponsor licence from the Home Office that grants you a ‘sponsor’ status.
Under the sponsorship licence, you can only employ people who don’t have immigration permission to work in the UK. People you employ must have satisfied all your employment requirements and received a job offer before applying for leave to remain in the UK under the routes of a Worker or Temporary Worker.
You must issue them a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) upon granting them a job offer. The essence of a Certificate of Sponsorship is to:
- Prove that the certificate holder is under your sponsorship to fill a role in your organisation. Note that the role must be under the list of eligible occupations for the sponsorship work route.
- Confirms that you agree to take responsibility for sponsorship.
- Overview of Sponsor Licence Priority Service
- Who Does Not Need A Sponsor Licence?
- Who Is Eligible For Sponsor Licence?
- What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
- How to Apply for Pre-Licence Priority Service
- What Happens After You Apply For a Pre-licence Priority Service
- Required Documents For The Pre-licence Priority Service Application
- What Are the Processing Times?
- Application Fees For The Pre-licence Priority Service
- Benefits Of Obtaining Pre-licence Priority Sponsor Licence Service
- Overview of Sponsor Licence Priority Service
- Can Pre-licence Priority Service Application Be Rejected?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Settled workers have permission to work in the UK without restrictions, therefore not needing sponsorship. Nevertheless, make sure you assess their right to work and their duration of permission before offering employment.
Settled workers are persons who meet any of the following criteria:
- British citizen.
- Irish citizen.
- EU, EEA or a Swiss national.
- Family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss national with unrestricted work rights due to Citizens’ Rights Agreements.
- British overseas territories citizen (excluding persons from sovereign base areas in Cyprus).
- Commonwealth citizen with evidence of the right of abode in the UK ( right to live or work without immigration restrictions). Commonwealth citizens are:
- British Overseas citizens.
- British subjects.
- Citizens of countries listed in the British Nationality Act 1981.
- Commonwealth citizens with permission on the UK Ancestry route due to having grandparents born in the UK or Islands.
- Persons with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.
Persons with Immigration Permission to Work
Persons with immigration permission don’t need a sponsorship licence if:
- They have permission to enter or remain in the UK without work restrictions, especially for the roles you need to fill.
- They don’t need permission to enter the UK such as diplomats, government officials or senior officials of an international organisation, or frontier workers (EU, EEA or Swiss citizens).
You should assess their right to work and do follow-up checks if they have time-limited permission. Also, check if there are limitations to the type of work they can do before offering employment.
EU, EEA or Swiss Nationals without Work Rights Restrictions
EU, EEA or Swiss nationals or eligible family members do not require sponsorship if they meet any of the following criteria:
- They have been under your employment on or before 30 June 2021. During recruitment, you did the necessary right-to-work assessments in accordance with the guidance for employers. They have remained your employees since recruitment.
- They have pre-settled status (limited leave to enter or remain) and proof of it. Or they have settled status (indefinite leave to enter or remain) under the EU Settlement Scheme.
- They have proof of ongoing application for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and are waiting for the final decision. They must have a Certificate of Application’ (CoA).
- They are Irish citizens. Only Irish citizens with an international travel ban, deportation order, or exclusion decision are not eligible.
Who Is Eligible For Sponsor Licence?
Persons that do not meet the criteria above are eligible for sponsorship. They can only enter the UK with a certificate of sponsorship under Worker or Temporary Worker route.
EU, EEA or Swiss nationals that do not meet the above requirement require a sponsor licence for employment in the UK.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
The following are the eligibility requirements for pre-licence priority service:
- You must have completed the UKVI online sponsor application registration on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. After registration, you will be required to log into the UKVI’ Sponsor Application log in’ page. Once you log in, you will find the online application form; fill it out and submit the specified documents required to prove your eligibility.
- Your application request must be assigned to a caseworker or be in progress.
- You must submit a completed application with accurate information to the pre-licence priority service.
How to Apply for a Sponsor Licence
Before applying for a sponsor licence, it is important that you fully understand the conditions around sponsoring workers, your responsibilities, the type of licence that suits your business, and assigning Certificates of Sponsorship COS.
You can reach out to the IAS Immigration Lawyers for in-depth information on the full guidance for sponsor licence. We are available online and in person to assist in making your sponsor licence application a success.
The following are the steps to apply for a sponsor licence:
- Have all the documents required ready for submission during your application.
- Complete the online application form on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.
- Submit the application form along with your supporting documents.
- Pay the appropriate fee.
How to Apply for Pre-licence Priority Service
If your sponsor licence application is approved, you will get an email notifying you of an enhanced service to fast-track your application.
To access a priority service, you will have to make a priority request through email. To make a request, fill out the priority service – email request form and send it to the Home office via email.
The priority service operating schedule is Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. The operating time is 9 am to 5 pm. Your priority request will not be processed if you send it outside the working days and stipulated timeframe. The priority service takes 30 priority requests every working day. However, the number of requests has reduced due to recent events such as the Covid-19.
What Happens After You Apply For a Pre-licence Priority Service
Upon successful priority request, you will receive two emails from the priority service team to:
- Notify you of your request acceptance. You will also get further instructions on what to do next.
- Provide you with a Worldpay link. Make sure to give a valid email address and check your inbox or junk mail regularly.
The second email is to pay the appropriate fee for the enhanced service. Once you get a Worldpay link, you must make your payment within 72 hours, weekends inclusive.
Your priority request will expire if you delay paying the required fee beyond the payment timeframe. To access the service after expiration, you will need to apply again for request consideration.
Making your payment before expiration does not guarantee a successful request. Only eligible requests with successful payment are eligible for priority service.
The following are the reasons for unsuccessful priority requests:
- Your request does not fulfil the eligibility requirement for the service.
- They (Home Office) have reached their daily allocation limit.
- You did not submit your priority request within the service operating times.
If you do not get a response, it means your request is unsuccessful.
Required Documents For The Pre-licence Priority Service Application
The following are the required documents for pre licence priority service application:
- An electronically signed submission sheet.
- All the relevant documentation you submitted during your application for a sponsor.
What Are the Processing Times?
The processing times for priority request is ten working days or less. The processing times are a consideration period and start the working day after successful payment. In other words, if you made your payment on Friday, your ten working days consideration period starts on Monday.
Your priority request may extend beyond ten days if your submission sheet or required documents need thorough or extra review and may experience a delay in processing. Your request can also be elongated if your request is complex.
What happens if your priority request is complex or requires extra review?
The Home office will reach out to the Authorising Officer listed on your licence. The Authorising Officer is responsible for ensuring your compliance with your duties or responsibilities as an employer under the sponsor licence.
You may need to provide further information during your consideration period. Ensure to stay reachable to provide the information in due course. Late submission or response can result in priority request rejection.
You will not get a fee refund if your request is rejected unless the reason for the delay in consideration does not relate to the normal case working processes, such as a technical error.
To avoid rejection, stay in contact with the Authorising officer to ensure they check their email and junk mail regularly.
The Home office will send an email to your Authorising officer confirming priority request approval or rejection.
Application Fees For The Pre-licence Priority Service
The priority service fee is £500. If you are making multiple requests, you will pay £500 for each request.
Paying the £500 priority service fee will ensure your visa is processed within 10 working days. You will have to pay this fee on top of the application fee, which is
Benefits Of Obtaining Pre-licence Priority Sponsor Licence Service
The pre-licence priority service lets organisations speed up their sponsor licence application by paying an extra fee during online submission.
While this service ensures your application will be reviewed within 10 working days, it doesn’t guarantee approval.
A sponsor licence simplifies the process of hiring people with specific skills and expertise, especially when there’s a lack of such workers available locally, and the priority service enables employers to hire workers fast.
Overview of Sponsor Licence Priority Service
The Pre-licence Priority Service offers the option to speed up the processing of a sponsor licence application by paying an extra fee. If approved for this service, the sponsor licence application is usually resolved within a short span of 10 working days.
While standard sponsor licence processing takes about 8 weeks, the Pre-licence Priority Service, available for £500.00, usually delivers a decision within 10 working days, granting a 4-year licence upon approval.
To be eligible for the Home Office sponsor licence priority service:
- You must have applied for a sponsor licence in an eligible route(s) by completing the online application form on the Home Office Website.
- You must have paid both the application fee and the priority service fee.
- You should have submitted your submission sheet and all mandatory and supplementary documents for the work routes you are applying for within 5 working days of paying the priority service fee if you are submitting your application. If you are adding the priority service to an already submitted application, you must have already submitted these documents.
- If you want to add the priority service to an already submitted application, your application must not be in progress.
Can Pre-licence Priority Service Application Be Rejected?
If you can’t get a pre-licence priority service slot when applying for a sponsor licence, it could be due to these reasons:
- Your chosen route is not eligible for priority service, such as GBM Expansion worker, GBM service supplier, or Scale-up
- The Home Office has reached its daily limit for requests
- You submitted a request outside of the service operating times
- A caseworker is already reviewing your sponsor licence application
How Can IAS Help?
We understand the complex procedures of getting a priority service for sponsor licences. We are aware of the time and energy that goes into getting a sponsor licence to sponsor migrant workers.
We have experience and capable immigration solicitors to make sponsor licence application and pre-licence priority service an easier process for you.
IAS is a team of immigration specialists. Our years of experience and successful immigration outcomes make us the go-to reliable immigration specialists for UK employers or UK businesses.
We offer various services to aid your immigration needs. We provide legal advice on your immigration and Application Package for immigration, nationality and asylum applications. You can trust our Fast Track Application to submit applications and required documents before their deadline. You can use our Appeal Package if you are not satisfied with the Home Office’s decision on your application for a sponsor licence.
Last modified on September 7th, 2023 at 12:55 pm
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The period of sponsor licence application processing takes up to 8 weeks or less to get a decision.
It takes one working day to approve a Certificate of Sponsorship. However, there may be a delay if the UK Visas and Immigration UKVI sees the need for further assessments of the information in your documents.