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Adding a Branch to Sponsor Licence

Having a sponsor licence is key to being able to hire skilled workers and employees from overseas. Having a sponsor licence allows businesses to issue a certificate of sponsorship, which enables overseas employees to obtain a visa. Some businesses may find they need to add a branch to their licence, but is this possible, and how do you do it?

Dealing with sponsor licence and immigration law can be very complex. Having a lawyer or legal advisor help you through the process can reduce a lot of the stress and worry of dealing with this. Contact one of our legal teams at IAS today at +44 (0)333 305 9375, and we can get you started.

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    Reasons For Adding A Branch To Sponsor Licencing

    A business can add a branch to a sponsor licence, although it is not always easy to do. Typically, it is best to add all branches to the company when the sponsor licence is first acquired.

    Although, in some cases, a branch may be able to obtain a unique sponsor licence, it is generally easier for a company to manage a sponsor licence for all branches through a single sponsorship management system.

    A business may add a branch to a sponsor licence if they have recently opened a new branch of their business in expansion, or alternatively, if a business has acquired a company and wants sponsored employees to work in this subsidiary. In these cases, employing migrant workers via a skilled worker licence could be beneficial to the additional branch of the company.

    Things To Know Before Adding A Branch To Sponsor Licence

    Before adding an additional branch to a sponsor licence, it is very important to understand what documentation is required.

    To change the branches recorded for a sponsor licence, the sponsor needs to provide the following documents and information:

    • Addresses and names of the branches in full.
    • Where the sponsor may be adding said branches.
      • This includes any legal accreditation required by said branches.
      • Any evidence that the branches are linked to the licensed sponsor is necessary per Appendix A of the sponsor guidance.
      • Any recorded affidavits and leases.

    All documents need to be digitally submitted as pictures or scans of the originals, but note that original documents can be requested.

    However, if the sponsor does not provide enough evidence and information then UKVI may respond requesting the information and bring forward for 10 working days to relieve a response.

    Should the sponsor licence holder be adding a branch that has a different company name, an IMS check will be conducted. During this, there will be checks for special markers, a check with the company’s house, and a review for outstanding compliance.

    If all necessary evidence is received and there are no concerns about the IMS checks, all checks will be recorded, and the request to add or remove branches will be completed.

    Adding branches to a sponsor licence sounds like a change of circumstances, and this must be reported through the company’s SMS by their SMS Level 1 user.

    It is possible that adding a branch to your licence can take up to 16 weeks or longer to be processed and reflected on the company’s SMS system.

    How To Add A Branch To Your Sponsor Licence

    The first step for a company to add a branch to its sponsor licence is to ensure that it fits the relevant criteria. UK Visas and Immigration will not allow a company to apply to add a branch to a sponsor licence in any of the circumstances that follow:

    • If the branch already holds a sponsor licence and the current licence has been downgraded to a B- rating, or if the sponsor licence the branch holds has been suspended while UKVI investigates it.
    • If the branch held a sponsor licence previously, and their licence was revoked in the previous twelve months.
    • If the branch is unable to offer a genuine vacancy that meets the criteria and suitability for the issuing of a licence via the relevant route.

    This means that if the branch does not offer any genuine vacancies for the Skilled Worker route, which is the licence held by the company, then the application to add this branch will be rejected.

    If the branch does fit the relevant criteria to add a new branch, however, the process is very simple.

    Any chances of circumstances are managed by a Level 1 user of the sponsorship management system. The individual can add the branch using the SMS. The Level 1 user will be guided through the process of applying to add a branch, and they will be asked for any relevant information concerning this.

    Information will need to be provided, such as the branch name and address, as well as information regarding relevant vacancies and confirmation of the connection with the licence holder making the application.

    After this, the application to add a branch will be reviewed, and it may take up to 16 weeks to get a decision. If more information is needed, the Home Office may contact the business. It is also wise to expect a pre-licencing compliance visit if adding a new branch to a licence as well.

    Our immigration team can help you add a branch to your sponsor licence.

    How IAS Can Help You

    Sponsor licence holders who seek to add a branch to their licence may find it difficult to know what the sponsorship licence requirements are for adding a branch, what the sponsor guidance is for adding a branch, or if they should just apply for a new sponsor licence.

    Hiring sponsored workers for higher global business mobility in some companies can be very beneficial to companies. A UK entity that has sponsored workers and can hire migrants through genuine employment through many branches can find a lot of success in doing so.

    However, relevant documents and supporting documents are needed to ensure that the branch being added is relevant. Having many branches under one licence can be better than hiring a new authorising officer and having a separate SMS team per branch. It can be complex, and having a lawyer to help with understanding sponsor duties, a sponsor licence application form, and adding new branches Our lawyers at IAS can help you know what to provide and what documentation to provide so that your request is accepted. Call us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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