Sponsorship management roles: You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence. The main tool they’ll use is the sponsorship management system (SMS).
The roles are:
- authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
- key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
- level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS
*These roles can be filled by the same person or different people. You can also appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 user, eg they can’t withdraw a certificate of sponsorship.
Suitability checks: You and your staff will be checked to make sure you’re suitable for these roles. You may not get your licence if anyone involved in sponsorship has:
- an unspent criminal conviction
- been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months
- been reported to UKVI
- broken the law
- been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
- failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
You and your allocated staff must also:
- be based in the UK most of the time
- not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
- not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
- not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements
*Your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff, or office holders.
‘key personnel’ guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sponsor-a-tier-2-or-5-worker-guidance-for-employers
HR contractors and agency staff: You must have at least one level 1 user who is your employee. You can have other level 1 or level 2 users employed by third-party organisations contracted to provide you with HR services. Your level 2 user can be a temporary member of staff supplied by an agency.
UK-based legal representatives: You can allocate any of the roles to a UK-based legal representative, apart from the authorising officer role. Your representative must be qualified to give immigration advice or services.
Supporting documents: You need to send the correct supporting documents to prove that you’re a genuine business. Your application could be refused if you don’t.