Sponsor Licence Rejected or Refused: The Difference
When you submit a sponsor licence application to the United Kingdom Immigration and Visas (UKVI), you’ll typically get either of the three possible responses. Your application is either approved (and given an A-rated licence), rejected, or refused.
A company can reapply immediately in the case of a rejected application. A rejected application is deemed invalid by the UKVI, and the application fee is usually refunded. In comparison, the case of a refused application is usually more complex and holds weightier ramifications. The application fee is lost, and the company cannot reapply immediately.
Reasons for Rejection of Sponsor Licence Application
Rejected sponsor licences, termed “invalid application” by the UKVI, are often caused by mistakes and omissions in the application process. Home Office may reject your application for any of the following reasons.
- Incomplete Application: When applying, ensure you fill out all parts of the application form and provide all required details. The application is invalid if portions of the form are not filled.
- Incorrect application fee: The sponsor licence application fee depends on your organisation’s type and size. Payment of a wrong application fee, such as paying less than is required for your organisation type, will lead to a rejection of your application.
- Non-submission of relevant supporting documents: You must print the submission and attach it to relevant supporting documents (as listed in Appendix A) before mailing it to UKVI. Failure to do so will make your application invalid.
- Authorising officer is not an employee of your organisation.
You can avoid these mistakes by seeking professional help with the application process. IAS lawyers are experts in UK immigration law and will ensure your sponsor licence application is error-free.
Refused Sponsor Licence Application
Refused sponsor licence application poses a bigger problem than a rejected one. The application fee is not refunded, and you can’t appeal for an administrative review. Home Office refuses an application when they find serious and fundamental issues with it.
You will have to wait for a 6 to 12 months cooling-off period to reapply, depending on the reason for the refusal. In extreme cases, the cooling-off period can last up to 5 years.
Incorrect Supporting Documents
Failure to provide correct supporting documents for a licence application is one of the commonest reasons for sponsor licence refusals. Organisations applying for a sponsor licence in the UK must provide at least four supporting documents from Appendix A. They prove that you are a legal business operating lawfully in the UK. Only large, government-recognised bodies and companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are exempt.
Supporting documents must be original or certified copies. You must include a certified translation if they are not written in English or Welsh. It’s essential to carefully review the requirements and categories in Appendix A to ensure you have the correct supporting documents in your application.
Late Submission of Supporting Documents
You must mail your supporting documents to the UKVI office within five working days of online application submission. Failure to do so within the stipulated time can lead to a refusal of your application.
Home Office might request further documents, depending on your business type and the category of licence you’re applying for. You must provide documentation within the given time limit, and failure to provide it will cause your application to be refused.
Failed Genuineness Test
To approve your application, Home Office must believe that you genuinely need a sponsor licence. You have to prove to them that the vacancy you’re sponsoring an immigrant worker to fill meets the required skill level and cannot be filled by a UK resident.
If you do not meet the test requirements, but Home Office believes your application is genuine, you’ll be asked to provide further evidence to prove that you need to hire the particular worker. In this case, you can reapply immediately.
However, Home Office will refuse your application if they believe you’re acting in bad faith. For example, if the role you want to sponsor a foreign worker to fill does not meet the required skill level, you presented false documents, or you want to use the licence to help foreign migrants enter the UK. You might be subject to a 6 to 12 months cooling-off period before you’re allowed to make a new application.
Submission of False documents
Home Office will refuse your application if they discover you submitted false documents. You will lose the application fee and be subject to a cooling-off period before reapplying.
Failed Home Office Compliance Visit
Before deciding on a sponsor licence application, Home Office officials carry out a compliance visit to your business premises. This is to ensure that you adhere to standard recruitment practices and have an adequate HR system to manage migrant employees. Home Office will refuse your application if they think your HR systems are insufficient for carrying out sponsor duties.
Key Personnel Issues
Key personnel appointed to carry out sponsorship duties must meet the required criteria. The UKVI will also run background checks on every sponsorship team member. Your licence application is prone to refusal if any key personnel or company directors/partners have a record of violating immigration policies or have unspent criminal convictions for certain offences such as fraud or money laundering.
Your application might also be refused if any member of your sponsorship team was key personnel in an organisation whose licence was revoked in the last 12 months.
Previous Immigration Offences
Home Office will not grant you a sponsor licence if your organisation has been charged with an immigration offence within the last 12 months. For example, suppose you have received a civil penalty for hiring illegal workers. In that case, you’ll be unable to apply for a sponsor licence until after one year from the payable date of the penalty.
An organisation’s sponsor licence can be revoked if it fails to keep up with Home Office sponsorship guidelines or does not adequately carry out its sponsorship responsibilities. When an organisation fails to carry out its sponsor duties, UKVI will downgrade its licence to a B-rated licence. The organisation has to pay a fee to UKVI for an action plan. And if it fails to meet the requirements at the end of the action plan, it’ll have to pay for another action plan.
An organisation must meet the requirements after a second action plan to maintain its license. Once a licence is revoked, the organisation will be subject to a cooling period of 12 months before it can reapply. Any application before the end of the 12-month cooling-off period will be refused.
A caseworker error is a situation where there is an error in processing your application on the part of UKVI. An example of a caseworker error is when relevant documentation is overlooked during your application review. Such an error can lead to a refusal of your licence.
You can request error correction if you identify a caseworker error as the cause of your application refusal. You must file this request within 14 days of receiving the refusal letter.
Appealing a Sponsor Licence Refusal
You do not have the right to appeal for an administrative review when UKVI refuses a licence application. You either accept the decision and reapply (after a cooling-off period where applicable) or look for alternative ways to challenge the decision. There are two ways you can challenge a license refusal.
- Filing a caseworker correction request
- Appealing for a judicial review.
Filing a Caseworker Error Correction Request
This is only applicable when the refusal results from a caseworker error. It is the best and most successful route in challenging a refusal decision. A caseworker error can be where the reviewing officer overlooks a relevant supporting document or the decision maker mistakenly classifies an original document as false, leading to the refusal of your application.
If your sponsor licence application is refused because of a caseworker error, you should file a “Caseworker Error Correction Request” with Home Office. The error application form can be set by email and must bear the signature of the authorising officer. You must send the correction request within 14 days of the date on the refusal letter.
The authorising officer will receive an email of the Home Office’s decision within 28 working days. You can reapply online if the request is successful. The second license fee will be refunded in full if the application is successful.
You can request a judicial review if you believe the Home Office’s decision is unlawful. A judicial review application must be submitted within three months of the refusal date. This process involves a judge reviewing the entire application process and how UKVI reached its decision.
It is a complex process that requires expert assistance. You’ll have to prove to the court that UKVI’s decision is unlawful and improper and that no reasonable body can make such a decision based on verifiable evidence. It is also usually not very successful.
Reapplying for a Sponsor Licence
While you can’t appeal for an administrative review, you may be allowed to reapply for a license immediately, depending on the reasons for refusal. You’d be allowed to reapply immediately if your licence was refused because you could not provide supporting documents within the stipulated time for valid reasons.
In the case of a caseworker error issue, you’ll be allowed to reapply once your error correction request is approved. If a cooling-off period applies to your refused application, you will have to wait for the period to elapse before you can reapply. The cooling-off period usually lasts between 6 and 12 months.
A sponsor license application can be time and resource-consuming and disrupts a company’s growth and expansion plan when unsuccessful. However, a successful application t can open an organisation to tremendous growth possibilities.
Many of the mistakes and errors that cause license application refusals are avoidable with professional help. Consulting experts will ensure you get your sponsor license in good time. It will prevent you from wasting time and resources on reapplying after rejection or challenging a refused licence application.
IAS lawyers are happy to help you through the process, whether you’re making a new application, reapplying, or challenging a refusal. We are available to help online, via the phone, or in person. Call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate assistance.
Last modified on September 6th, 2023 at 8:34 am
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There are specific requirements for getting a sponsor licence in the UK. It is not a difficult process if you meet the requirements and adhere to the guidelines.
A sponsor licence application takes eight weeks on average.
Yes, a sponsor licence application can be refused if you fail to meet the requirements for obtaining one.
Yes, you can reapply for a sponsor licence after refusal but how soon you’re permitted to reapply depends on the reasons for licence refusal in the first place.