License applications and compliance are important roles as the home office considers that in this they are delegating parts of the immigration process to the employer.
The license application requires the appointment of an 'authorising officer' , 'key contacts', 'level one users' and 'level two users' . The application will be subject to suitability checks, must be supported by a business case, including company structure, detailed financial information, role descriptions, with supporting information legally certified. Employers are classified as either small/charitable or medium/large. The categorization has a large impact on cost, both in relation to the license fee, and also the cost of the 'immigration skills charge' for each nurse employed this way. License applications are typically processed within 8 weeks.
Certificate of Sponsorship
In order to sponsor a nurse the employer issues a 'Certificate of Sponsorship' to a nurse. These are in two forms under the social care visa, 'defined' and 'undefined'. In the case of the former it relates to a nurse requiring 'entry clearance' to the UK, whilst the latter is typically used for visa transfers or extensions. The 'defined' COS is requested individually, whilst the 'undefined' forms part of your annual license allocations, although additional allocations may be requested. The reference from assignment is used in the candidate visa application process. Upon assignment the employer is required to pay the 'immigration skills charge' and the 'COS fee' for the nurse applicant.
Sponsorship compliance is treated very seriously by the Home office, who have powers of sanction and audit. You are required to notify all leavers, contact information, and contract compliance matters. Sponsors are initially allocated an 'A-rated' license' , which may be downgraded to a 'B-rated' license if you do not meet your sponsorship duties. If this happens, you will no longer be able to issue new certificates of sponsorship, excepting to existing employees requiring extensions. In order to upgrade back to an 'A- rated' license an 'action plan' process will need to be entered into, at cost. In the case of continued non-compliance, a sponsorship license may be revoked.
In our experience Sponsorship can appear onerous especially to the smaller employer. Access to Home Office 'Premium Services' is often prohibitively expensive as well, in some cases. We try to assist wherever possible, in all aspects of the process from the license application, Certificate of Sponsorship assignment and allocation, together with compliance and ongoing management of your sponsor management obligations through the SMS.