ArticleMajor change in the UK sponsor licence renewal process

From April 2024, UK sponsor licences that are due to expire on or after 6 April 2024 will automatically be extended for an additional ten years from their original expiration date. For instance, a licence set to expire on 1 May 2026 will now be valid until 1 May 2036. This automatic extension eliminates the need for sponsors to undergo the sponsor licence renewal process and is indicative of the Home Office’s efforts to simplify administrative procedures for employers.

Confirmation via the Sponsor Management System (SMS):

UK sponsor licence holders can verify the extension of their licence by checking the licence summary page on their SMS. The new expiry date, reflecting the decade-long extension, will be visible there, providing sponsors with clarity and assurance about their licence status.

Guidance for Different Expiry Dates:
  • Licences expiring on or after 6 April 2024: For licences expiring on or after this date, no action is required from the sponsor for the extension to apply. The Home Office has also indicated that any sponsor licence renewal notices already received can be disregarded. If a renewal application has already been made, the Home Office will automatically update the licence with the extension and arrange for a refund of the renewal fee.
  • Licences expiring between 25 January 2024 and 6 April 2024: Licences falling within this period will still need to undergo the current renewal process, including the application for extension and payment of the relevant fee.
Surrendering a Sponsor Licence:

For those sponsors who no longer require a sponsor licence and had intended to let it expire, there is now a requirement to actively surrender the licence by notifying the Home Office. This step ensures that the licence does not remain valid unintentionally for an extended period.

This policy change by the UK Home Office is a welcome development for employers, significantly reducing the administrative burden and costs associated with the maintenance of a sponsor licence. Employers should familiarise themselves with these new provisions to ensure compliance and make the most of the streamlined system.

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