Due to the current staff shortage issues in the UK, many organisations have come to WorkPermitCloud Limited asking for assistance with the Sponsor License application. If companies hold a valid sponsor license, their hiring options become broader as they are able to access the global talent pool and hire skilled workers from all over the world to fill in their vacant positions.
As part of an organisation’s Sponsor License application, the organisation must appoint an ‘Authorising officer’ to be in charge of the sponsor license and perform all sponsor obligations.
What is an Authorising Officer?
According to the Home Office guidance, an Authorising Officer (AO) is a key person that an organisation must have when they apply for a sponsor license and when they hold a sponsor license. The AO is responsible for all the sponsor obligations, such as the actions of staff and representatives who use the Sponsor Management System (SMS).
Why do you need an Authorising Officer?
It is a requirement by the Home Office that organisations who are applying for a sponsor licence must appoint an ‘Authorising Officer’ during the application.
This person will act as the main point of contact with the Home Office. For example, the Home Office will contact the AO if they have any queries about their sponsor licence application, the documents sent, or the payment.
Organisations are still required to have an AO after they have successfully granted a sponsor licence. Simply put, organisations need to have an Authorising officer throughout the life of their license.
Failure to have an AO in your organisation might result in your Sponsor Licence application not being approved.
Who can be an Authorising Officer?
This individual could be a senior and competent person, a trustworthy employee selected by the employer, or someone who has good communication skills and understand the role of AO in the company.
This individual must pass all background checks required by the Home Office (no criminal convictions, no bankruptcy, and no previous penalties for hiring illegal migrants).
The AO must be permanently based in the UK for the period they fill the role. For example, someone who is a British Citizen or someone who has a valid resident permit in the UK which covers the duration of the period that they are appointed as an AO.
The AO should be a paid member of your staff and should be on the company’s payroll unless this person is an Office holder. An Office holder means someone who is the company registered director or secretary, board member of statutory bodies, or crown appointments. More details about Office holder can be found here.
You must have an AO in place throughout the life of your license. This person must be a permanent employee of the organization.
The nominated person must always meet the requirements of the AO.
If you fail to have an AO in place or have an AO who does not meet the requirements, your license application will not be approved, or your license will be suspended or revoked.
Who cannot be an Authorizing Officer?
The AO cannot be someone who is:
- not based in the UK.
- a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project.
- subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking,
- a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
- legally prohibited from being a company director
- have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements
Your UK based legal representative cannot be your AO, but they can be your key contact, level 1 or level 2 user. The legal representative must be qualified to give immigration advice or services. WorkPermitCloud Limited can be your legal representative as we are OISC regulated to give immigration advice.
Suitability checks on Authorising Officer
Home Office will conduct suitability checks on your company and the AO to ensure that this individual you appointed is qualified to be an AO in your company.
You may not get your Sponsor License if anyone connected in the sponsorship has:
- an unspent criminal conviction for an offence listed in the guidance for sponsors
- been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months
- been reported to UKVI
- broken the law
- been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
- failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
How many Authorising Officers can you have?
You can only appoint one AO at a time.
Can you change an Authorising Officer?
Yes, you can. you’ll have to change through the SMS, for more details please refer to the Home Office guidance SMS Manual 2: manage your sponsorship licence.
What are the responsibilities of the Authorising Officer?
The AO is in charge of ensuring that the responsibilities imposed on the employer under the sponsor licence are carried out. It is critical that the AO examines SMS activity on a frequent basis, that key staff are executing their roles, and that any changes in the regulations regulating licencing compliance are maintained up to date.
The AO is responsible for the actions of staff and representatives, and responsible for deciding how many of your staff need to have access to the SMS and what level of permission they can have.
The AO and Level 1 user can be the same person after your license is granted. Level 1 users will carry out any of the practical functions relating to sponsoring migrant workers.
The AO is expected to ensure compliance with UKVI rules, sponsor duties and keep updated on any changes in the rules of licence compliance. Sponsor duties include Record-keeping, reporting, and monitoring duties. To know more about Sponsor Duties, please read our previous article here.
How can we help?
WorkPermitCloud Limited have a team of OISC approved Immigration advisors, who are experienced in the process of appointing Authorising Offers during the Sponsor Licence Application, Sponsor Management System, and sponsor compliance. We provide professional advice throughout the process based on your specific situation, correspondent with Home Office, and assist you in the whole process with our one-stop solution to meet your organisation’s needs.
If you need help with sponsor licence compliance, please contact us at: email@example.com