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Academy Status – Effects on the sponsorship of migrant teachers

Through our experience of assisting clients in the education sector, it has become apparent that a large number of local authority schools are currently in the process of obtaining Academy Status. UKWP understands this to be complicated enough given the short time available over the summer break. Unfortunately, as many schools may not be fully aware, this will also have significant implications in relation to the school’s ability to sponsor migrant workers, who will often be in crucial teaching roles.

In order to sponsor a migrant worker a school must be covered by a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. At the moment, the vast majority of local authority schools can sponsor migrant staff using the Licence held by their Local Education Authority, or in London, the relevant borough council. Once a school acquires Academy status, it is then treated as a separate legal entity, and as such, cannot use the Sponsor Licence held by the local authority.

Where the school currently sponsors migrant workers and wishes for these staff to remain with the school after the switch to Academy status, it is imperative that:

  • The Academy applies for a Sponsor Licence within 28 days of acquiring Academy status.
  • If successful, the Academy then applies to the UK Border Agency to transfer the staff across to the Academy’s Sponsor Licence.

If the Academy’s application for a Sponsor Licence is refused, and the 28 day deadline has passed, the Academy will be required by law to terminate the employment of all sponsored migrant workers who will then have their visas curtailed by the UK Border Agency.


Academies should consider the following when making an application for a Sponsor Licence:

  • The UK Border Agency almost always takes more than 28 days to consider an application for a Sponsor Licence, adding further time pressures to the process.
  • The UK Border Agency interprets its rules and requirements incredibly strictly, and will reject an application that falls short on the most minor of issues.

Essentially, this means that you have one chance to make a successful application for a Sponsor Licence  and that unless you have read and understood the UK Border Agency’s guidance in detail, there is a high chance that your application will be unsuccessful.

With the risks associated with making an unsuccessful application so high, and the window of time in which Academies must submit their application so short, the value of seeking external, expert assistance with an application for a Sponsor Licence should not be underestimated.

UK Work Permits Limited has been helping employers, including many in the education sector, work with the Tier 2 system since it was introduced in 2008.  We also benefit from years of experience working with the old Work Permit system prior to 2008. We have helped a large number of employers gain a Sponsor Licence and hold onto their A-Rating, showing full adherence to the UK Border Agency’s HR compliance requirements.

We offer competitive fees, and a variety of services, ranging from assistance with the initial Licence Application to all-inclusive packages whereby we can act as an Academy’s representative in relation to the UK Border Agency.  Furthermore we can act as your first point of reference for all your immigration requirements.

Most importantly, UK Work Permits Ltd can help mitigate the risk of having a Sponsor Licence application refused and ultimately eliminate the potential consequences of losing highly valuable teachers and support staff in your school.

If you are looking for an outsourced partner who can offer you peace of mind by taking the stress and hassle out of a set of processes that for a lot of new Academies will be completely unfamiliar, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced consultants, who will be happy to talk you through the steps involved and how we can best help you!


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