When a Sponsor Licence is initially granted to an organisation, it will be valid for an initial period of 4 years, after which it must be renewed if the organisation wishes to continue to employ any sponsored workers. It is important for sponsoring organisations to note that migrants sponsored under the Skilled Worker or T2 Minister of Religion routes will usually need to reside in the UK on their respective visas for a period of 5 years to claim Indefinite Leave to Remain, necessitating their sponsoring employer to renew their Licence at year 4.
It is possible to apply to renew a Licence up to 90 days prior to the date the Licence is due to expire. It is imperative that organisations lodge the renewal application prior to the Licence expiring and, as such, it is highly recommended to have a robust, internal reminder system in place to ensure this important deadline is not overlooked.
The Home Office will write to the personnel listed on the sponsoring organisation’s Licence via email 120 calendar days before the Licence is due to expire to notify sponsors of the upcoming expiry. Further reminders will be sent out by the Home Office 90, 60, 30, and 14 calendar days before expiry.
The Licence is renewed via the Sponsor Management System (SMS), which is the online portal through which a Licence is managed, that an organisation is provided access to upon issuance of a Sponsor Licence. Upon lodging the renewal application, the Home Office will charge a renewal fee of £536 for small or charitable organisations, or £1,476 for medium or large organisations.
It is not necessary to submit any documentation with the application submission, though the Home Office retains the right to request to see further evidence whilst the application is being processed if needed. Renewal applications can, on occasion, prompt a Home Office compliance visit, so it is always advisable to conduct an internal audit prior to lodging the application, to ensure HR records and company processes are up to date, and meet with Home Office requirements.
Provided a renewal application is correctly lodged before the Licence has expired, the Licence will be effectively extended until the Home Office has processed the renewal application. It is, however, advisable to not delay the renewal submission if possible.