As everyone in business knows, the new year doesn't really come until April. This rings true for the Home Office's sponsor licensing system. Many of our clients will already have had a slightly alarming email contact about renewing certificate allocations. A cause for concern? It depends. Remember that licences are valid for 4 years and a failure to renew the licence can have significant consequences, including curtailment of an employee's leave. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that the licence does not lapse.
The second issue is a renewal of the allocation of certificates. The first point to consider is whether your business is likely to require any further staff, recruited from workers already living here, in the forthcoming financial year. If so, then it is best to ask that your ability to issue certificates is renewed and to provide a figure of the numbers of certificates you will likely require. However in the event of recruitment from workers resident abroad then a different system applies where permission must be sought in each case that requires a certificate, taking the allocations from a national monthly limit.
Ultimately, despite the apparent importance of renewing certificate allocations, it is actually possible to ask for a renewal of the allocation during the year. The only issue is delay in processing, which might limit your organisations ability to adapt to urgent staffing needs. We have had several instances where employers have neglected to renew their allocations; this is usually rectifiable and can be done throughout the year.
The big issue is renewal of the licence itself. Not doing this can be very serious, your employees may have their visa curtailed and the process for putting a licence back in place is complex.
Our experience with employers is that many don't pay particular attention to this system. It is complex and difficult to understand. We specialise in assisting employers to get the staff they need and to retain them in compliance with the home office's relations.