For those of you who are already registered to sponsor migrants in the UK, some services have resumed following Covid-19 measures and licence renewal times have been brought forward.
Resuming sponsor priority service
The sponsor priority service will expedite certain changes to a sponsor’s circumstances normally within 5 days, whereas the standard requests take up to 18 weeks. This service was suspended during the COVID-19 measures. The priority service for considering sponsor change of circumstance requests resumed on 5 October 2020. The changes eligible for the service include changes to key personnel on the licence and requests for an increased allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS).
The capacity of the service has changed with only 10 requests being accepted each day compared to 60 before the COVID-19 measures. The demand is likely to be very high, especially when the service first resumes. Capacity changes are reported on the message board of the Sponsor Management System, and will be updated as the service is expanded.
To use the service, a level 1 user must submit the request in the sponsor management system and then email [email protected], with a completed Tier 2 and 5 priority request form as an attachment.
If successful you will be notified by email to make the payment of £200 per request. You normally get a decision within five working days, although we understand at the moment that may be taking a bit longer.
The Home Office is anticipating a huge increase in employers applying for a sponsor licence, in order to hire EU nationals under the new immigration system. In the meantime, they are trying to get ahead with renewals for existing sponsors.
If your sponsor licence expires between 27 November 2020 and 21 March 2021, you will be able to apply early to renew it and the renewal window should be open on the SMS Licence summary. Licence end dates are not affected and will retain the full four years from original renewal date. If you can apply early, you should do so.
If you would like support with your licence renewal, please contact [email protected].
IHS increase delayed
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is payable by all migrants who come to the UK for more than 6 months. The fee was due to be increased from 1 October 2020, however this has been delayed, in order to incorporate an exemption for migrants who are applying for a Health and Social Care visa.
The increase is likely to take affect towards the end of October. This gives a bit more time to get your visa applications submitted before the increase takes effect. The increase is fairly substantial rising from £400 to £624 per year of visa. A reduced rate of £470 will apply to under 18s, students and their dependants and Youth Mobility visa holders.
If you require any assistance with your sponsor licence, we offer an administration service which includes registering as a level 1 user on your licence, report any changes that affect your organisation or your sponsored migrants and set reminders for migrant’s visa expiry. Please get in touch with [email protected] if you would like more information.