You can employ a non-EEA worker

Your organisation must have a sponsorship licence. The primary immigration routes for non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants who wish to work in the UK are the Tiers 2 and 5 points-based routes. Non-EEA migrants must be sponsored by an organisation that holds a Tier 2 and/or Tier 5 licence.

You must have a sponsorship licence

A sponsorship licence is permits an organisation to employ a non-EEA migrant workers in its business. An organisation with a sponsorship licence is known as a sponsor.

You have a duty to prevent illegal working

All employers have a duty to carry out checks to prevent illegal working in the UK. Checks can be carried out in 3 simple steps. Changes to tighten and simplify the penalty for employers who partake in employing illegal workers came into force on 16 May 2014.

Sections 15 to 25 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) and sections 24 and 24B of the Immigration Act 1971 set out the law on preventing illegal working in the UK.

You must carry out the right to work checks

All employers must check a person’s documents to determine if they have the right to carry out the type of work the employer is offering. Under section 15 of the 2006 Act, an employer may be liable for a civil penalty if they employ someone who does not have the right to undertake the work in question.  The three key steps required are:

Step 1. Obtain the person’s original documents as specified in this guidance;
Step 2. Check the validity of the documents in the presence of the holder; and
Step 3. Make and retain a clear copy, and make a record of the date of the check.

You must meet four key criteria to apply for a licence

An organisation with a sponsorship licence a responsibility to act in accordance with the Immigration Rules. The Home Office has a duty to ensure that all sponsors discharge their responsibilities, and will take compliance action when it is considered that a sponsor has failed to do so. Your organisation must:

Be genuine and operate lawfully in the UK
Have a good history and background. The key personal named on your application involved in the day to day running of the organisation must are honest, dependable and reliable.
Be capable of carrying out its sponsor duties and evidencing its compliance in a timeframe and manner set out in the Sponsor duties. An assessment of your organisation’s current human resources and recruitment practices will be made to make sure that your organisation will be able to fulfil its sponsor duties

You may need to pay to employ a non-EEA worker

On or after the 6 April 2017, under the Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017, organisations may be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge each time they sponsor a worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The amount payable is dependent on the size of the organisation and the length of employment stated on the worker’s certificate of sponsorship. The skills charge is £1,000 per person, per year.

The skills charge applies to a Tier 2 worker assigned a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) in the ‘General’ or ‘Intracompany Transfer’ routes.

You can only sponsor a worker who is directly employed by you

Your organisation can only apply for a sponsor licence to sponsor a migrant worker who will be directly employed by the organisation in connection with the running of your business. Your organisation cannot sponsor a migrant if they will then be supplied as a labour, to another organisation, regardless of any genuine contractual arrangement between the parties.

How to make an application for a licence

The following are the steps needed to be carried out in order to apply for a licence. Your organisation must:

Complete and send the online sponsor application – this includes a declaration from your organisation that the organisation agrees to meet all of the duties associated with being a licensed sponsor
Pay the correct fee
Provide proof your organisation is based in the UK and provide original or certified copies of the documents listed in the relevant section of the Immigration Rules, to show you are genuine and operating or trading lawfully in the UK; an organisation is deemed to have been ‘operating or trading’ in the UK from the point at which it was incorporated
Meet the eligibility and suitability criteria
Your organisation may be required to provide evidence of holding the appropriate planning permission or Local Planning Authority consent to run the type/class of business at its trading address, if consent is required by your Local Authority
Your organisation may be asked to provide evidence of its registration with, or approval from its regulatory body where applicable.