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Sponsor Licence Personnel & Authorising Officer Duties

When applying for a sponsorship licence, members of your company or organisation must be given roles to oversee the sponsorship procedure. The Sponsorship Management System (SMS) of the Home Office, will be their primary tool to oversee this sponsorship process.

For more information about Authorising Officer sponsor licence guidance, general sponsor duties and the importance of adherence to immigration rules and regulations, reach out to us at IAS. Contact us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS for Your Sponsor Licence Needs

    Our dedicated UK corporate immigration lawyers deliver our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach suited to fit each business client that we work with.

    We can assist you in getting a UK Sponsor Licence, generating a certificate of sponsorship, and applying for a work visa for your employee. Whether this is your first application, your initial application was refused, or you were found to not be compliant in the past, we can help.

    With a successful track record, IAS eases the process for you so you can focus on other parts of your business. Here are more things you enjoy by working with us:

    Our lawyers will assess your Sponsor Licence case 1-1 to understand its unique aspects.

    We provide customised guidance for Sponsor Licence applications to increase chances of approval.

    We assist with maintaining compliance with the UK government’s rules for employing overseas workers.

    Our team offers detailed assistance in making any critical changes to the sponsor management system.

    Regardless of what your business immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    The Sponsor Licence Authorising Officer Role

    The senior and competent person in your company who oversees all SMS users’ activities and participates in recruitment must hold the position of sponsor licence Authorising Officer. This individual is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the sponsor licence are satisfied, such as keeping a system in place so that checks may be made.

    Throughout your licence duration, you will need an Authorising Officer onboard. They ensure that your company complies with immigration regulations, laws, and requirements of your company.

    They do not automatically have access to the SMS, in contrast to Level 1 or Level 2 users. After your company has been granted the sponsor licence, the Authorising Officer may be set up as a Level 1 or Level 2 user, or they can be listed in the sponsor licence application form as a Level 1 user and Authorising Officer.

    The Responsibilities of a Sponsor Licence Authorising Officer

    The Authorising Officer’s responsibilities are worth noting. They include:

    Recruitment of Workers

    The hiring of all migrant employees by your company should be the responsibility of the Authorising Officer, who should also ensure that you fulfil your sponsor obligations. This indicates that you are required to have a performing Authorising Officer (who meets Authorising Officer requirements) for the duration of your licence.

    First Point of Contact

    The UK Visas and Immigration’s (UKVI) initial go-to person in contacting your company will be the Authorising Officer. They will receive emails if the obligations of sponsors change, if Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) need to be renewed, or if the licence itself needs to be renewed.

    Authorise Changes to Licence

    The Authorising Officer helps to authorise most of the updates or modifications you can make to your licence, such as informing UKVI that you just opened a new branch. This may be done by signing the Submission Sheet, which is generated each time you send a change notification through the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

    Grants Access to SMS

    The person chosen to serve as the Authorising Officer will be in charge of determining how many employees require access to the SMS, what degree of authorisation they should have, and how all SMS users should behave.

    Ensure Compliance With UKVI Requirements

    You must set up a means for the Authorising Officer to monitor activities to guarantee that all SMS users abide by UKVI’s rules for utilising these online features. For instance, it is advised that the CoS given to migrant workers be reviewed at least once every month. Anyone you intend to sponsor must have a current CoS assigned to them before they can submit a visa application to UKVI.

    Consult with our immigration team today for tailored advice.

    The General Sponsor Licence Duties & Compliance

    The Key Personnel in your company must perform certain licence duties. They include:

    Record-Keeping Duties

    Your Key Personnel must keep the documents related to the migrant workers, your company sponsors, their current contact details, and proof of their right to work in the UK. They must also keep all the documents your company submitted during your application for a sponsor licence.

    Reporting Duties

    They are required to use the SMS to send certain information or events to UKVI within a given time frame, regarding any changes to a sponsored worker’s employment, such as if they are fired, or specific migrant worker behaviours, such as non-attendance, as well as any significant alterations to the organisation’s structure.

    Monitoring Duties

    Your Key Personnel must keep track of the absences and attendance of any migrant employees sponsored by the company, as well as their immigration status. This will help to prevent them from working illegally when they have a temporary permit to work lawfully in the UK.

    You could face compliance action if your sponsor licensing essential personnel obligations are not met. The activities of anyone put up as an SMS user, as well as those of your Authorising Officer or key contact, will be your responsibility if UKVI decides to take action against you.

    Therefore, you must make sure that anybody you choose to fill one or more of the key people positions is trustworthy and qualified. If you don’t fulfil your sponsor obligations, your CoS allocation might be reduced, unused CoS allocations might be taken away, or your licence might be downgraded, suspended, or revoked.

    Ensure compliance with the guidance and assistance of our legal experts. Contact us today.

    Other Sponsor Licence Personnel

    There are other sponsor licence personnel who play crucial roles in your company. They include:

    Level 1 Users

    These employees typically handle your daily immigration job. They can fully access the SMS, and by default, they can:

    • Carry out standard sponsorship tasks, such as distributing Certificates of Sponsorship, notifying authorities about migrant activity and changes in circumstances, requesting CoS, applying for and issuing restricted CoS, and applying to have your licence renewed.
    • View information about your licence and tell UKVI of any changes to your company.
    • Track the development of your licence renewal application.

    For the course of your sponsor licence, you must keep a minimum of one active Level 1 User onboard; otherwise, you cannot fulfil your sponsor obligations. This need is the same as for the other Key Personnel roles.

    Additionally, this person must be a worker, partner, or director. However, any extra Level 1 Users may be an employee who is not affiliated with your company, such as a UK-based legal representative or a worker for a company you have hired to perform all or some of your company’s HR duties.

    Because your Level 1 Users carry out the day-to-day management of sponsorship activities, they should be able to do the following through the SMS:

    • Let the UKVI know of any change to work addresses.
    • Change user details.
    • Assign CoS to migrant workers.
    • Withdraw CoS.
    • View information about your Key Personnel and sponsor licence.
    • Inform UKVI of any little changes to your information.
    • Inform UKVI of any changes to the situation.
    • Inquire about increasing your CoS limit, or the quantity of CoS you are permitted to assign.
    • Add Level 2 Users to the SMS and request new Level 1 Users, or remove them.
    • Report any employee activity to UKVI, such as a worker leaving the company, going missing, or being absent from work.
    • Access important remarks occasionally provided by UKVI.
    • Track the status of your sponsor licence renewal application.
    • Track the status of your application to receive premium customer service.

    Level 2 Users

    The Level 2 Users can also access the SMS but with some restrictions. Unlike the Level 1 Users, the Level 2 Users have limited access when using the SMS, such as not being able to withdraw a migrant worker’s CoS.

    Besides that, the Level 2 Users cannot report changes in your company, whereas the Level 1 Users are not restricted. However, once you have received your licence, you can add as many Level 2 Users as you want.

    The following actions can be performed by the Level 2 Users on the SMS:

    • Create and issue CoS to migrant workers.
    • Report the activities of migrant workers to the UKVI based on the CoS they have created and issued. Or based on the CoS given to them by a Level 1 User.
    • Report on CoS assigned by a Level 1 User.

    The Level 2 Users cannot get your company’s general licence information nor report any changes to your company.

    Key Contact

    The Key Contact in your organisation is the office holder through which the UKVI reaches out to your organisation regarding your sponsor licence. If the UKVI has questions regarding your sponsor licence application, the submitted documentation, or the payment, they will get in touch with your Key Contact.

    The Home Office may conduct a pre-licence compliance visit if they have any issues with your sponsor licence application. Or they may carry out a random immigration audit after you have been granted a sponsor licence.

    The Authorising Officer and the Key Contact will be important in either of these situations. Given that the Authorising Officer is in charge of managing the sponsor licence and making sure that the organisation complies with the sponsor licence Key Personnel obligations, it is common for the Key Contact and the Authorising Officer to be the same person.

    Additionally, the SMS is not automatically accessible to the Key Contact. They must be granted access to the SMS just as a Level 1 or Level 2 User if they need access to the system.

    Nominating Sponsor Licence Key Personnel

    You must consider certain factors in nominating sponsor licence Key Personnel, such as the personnel’s eligibility criteria. The Key Personnel must:

    • Not be a consultant or contractor for a particular project.
    • Be mostly based in the United Kingdom.
    • Not have a record of violating a sponsor’s requirements.
    • Not be under a debt relief restriction order or undertaking, or a bankruptcy restriction order.
    • Be paid employees or office holders. Unless they are an extra Level 1 or Level 2 User who works for another organisation and performs all or part of your HR job.

    Who Cannot Be Nominated As Key Personnel?

    Ensure you do not nominate Key Personnel who fall under any of the following:

    • Be based outside of the United Kingdom.
    • Hired for a particular project as a consultant or contractor.
    • Under a bankruptcy restriction order, or undertaking.
    • Under an undertaking or a debt relief restriction order.
    • Legally barred from serving as a director of a company.

    Remember that the UKVI may reject an application if any member of your Key Personnel worked for a sponsor organisation whose licence was revoked in the last 12 months.

    Don’t risk violations. Contact us to learn the procedures for nominating personnel for a sponsor license.

    The Process Of Changing Key Personnel

    A typical risk area for sponsors in a company is to ensure that the Key Personnel roles are always occupied and that their contact details are current.

    As an employer in a company, you must ensure that you find a suitable replacement for all vacant positions of Key Personnel and ensure they are reported on the SMS by updating their contact information. Situations that would make you update the SMS are if a selected individual switches jobs in the company and can no longer work in the capacity of Key Personnel. Or if a chosen employee leaves the organisation or takes an extended leave, such as maternity leave.

    You just have about 20 days to report and update the SMS regarding the changes in your company. Enforcement action may be taken if the change is not reported and the SMS is not kept current.

    According to recent guidelines published in 2023, requests made by the SMS to change the Authorising Officer or Key Contact and add new Level 1 Users would be immediately complied with, if certain requirements are followed.

    The criteria could be if the postcode of the sponsor organisation’s address or its head office address is the same with the postcode of the address for the new Authorising Officer, Key Contact or Level 1 User, and the postcode of a legal representative organisation that the sponsor has informed the Home Office is acting on its behalf.

    Additionally, the sponsor should be an A-rated sponsor and the licensing must be completely valid. If you do not meet these requirements, your request will typically be considered manually, and pertinent checks will be carried out before any decision will be made.

    How IAS Can Help You

    As an employer, you must understand how important sponsor licence personnel and an authorising officer are in your company. There are certain roles they must play to ensure that your company retains its sponsor licence.

    It is also crucial to understand how and when to take action in bringing your workers into the UK, especially as a sponsor licence holder. Because of this, you would need legal assistance to ensure you comply with the UK immigration laws.

    We recommend you reach out to our immigration lawyers at IAS for expert guidance. We are well recognised for our expertise in all immigration-related matters in the UK, including advising sponsor licence holders.

    We have helped several organisations by advising them on sponsor licence guidance part 1 to obtain their licences (for organisations seeking licences), bring their overseas workers to the UK and advise them on the best ways to retain employees and their sponsor licence. Let us help your organisation be more successful. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online for immediate assistance.

    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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    Frequently Asked Questions

    The ideal candidate to serve as an Authorising Officer is a senior person responsible for recruiting employees in your organisation. However, the post cannot be given to a third-party contractor or legal representative for a particular project.

    The Authorising Officer is a crucial figure in the Sponsored Management System. It’s a capable senior employee who is well-versed in the prerequisites for sponsoring a Skilled Worker visa

    The Authorising Officer could either be a British national or an employee who is based in the UK.

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