If you are applying for the PBS Sponsor licence for the first time or you need to renew your licence the application can only be made online.
Being an online application the UKBA are stringent with the eligibility of supporting documents and likely to refuse the application if a document is incomplete, out of date, not the original document and not provided within the specified time after the application is made.
The current processing time for securing a sponsor licence is up to five months so there is no margin for error. This is due to many factors such the influx of applications from the back of recent changes to immigration rules in April and June and staff resourcing from the recent Olympics.
The most common difficulty is the time it takes to obtain the supporting documents.
The list of documents is found in the UKBA’s Appendix A- List of Documents. However, the most common documents are not always the easiest for HR to collate, particularly when they are located within a different business department such as finance.
This is where the communication and confusion begins especially when the information required is found on two separate documents. This is most common with proof of HMRC payroll registration and Company Tax documents. For proof of HMRC payroll the UKBA want to see the reference numbers for both the PAYE and the Accounts Office. Both reference numbers are always found on the front cover of the Employer Payslip Booklet and on the HMRC letter titled the New Employer Registration and Reference Numbers. Depending on the age and size of the company these documents may be archived and time consuming to obtain. Therefore quicker to obtain from two separate documents such as a HMRC notification to file and the employer/ employee filed return.
The next hurdle with collating the supporting documents is obtaining the original and when to certify a document. Certifying documents go beyond photocopies and apply to online printouts and PDF documents. The UKBA only accept certified documents by a practicing lawyer, a notary public or the issuing authority such as the bank. If documents require certification it is important to note that they must be certified in a certain way otherwise the entire licence application can be refused because the caseworker was unable to verify the certifier.
If you are about to register for the first time or your company need to renew its sponsor licence please do not hesitate to contact Davidson Morris for assistance.