As a UK business, you can apply to the Home Office, UKVI for a sponsor licence to sponsor and employ skilled migrant workers in your UK business.  The sponsor licence is issued by the Home Office UKVI to a UK employer/business and grants permission to the UK employer to sponsor workers in its business. Only organisations, not individuals, can be Home Office approved licensed 'sponsors'. The Home Office UKVI maintains an online register of licenced sponsors and all UK businesses holding sponsor licence appears in the register of licenced sponsors. Our immigration solicitors for sponsor licence can provide Fast Track Service for your sponsor licence application to get decision on your application within 10 working days.

Free Immigration Advice For Sponsor Licence Application

Our specialist team of immigration solicitors can provide one-off free immigration advice online in relation to your application for sponsor licence. Ask a question online to our specialist team of immigration solicitors for free immigration advice online or book an appointment online for a detailed immigration advice and consultation with one of our immigration solicitors conerning your application for sponsor licence.

 

Ask a question for free advice online

One-Off Service For Submitting Request For Sponsor Licence Priority Service

Our specialist team of fast track immigration solicitors can provide one-off service to submit your sponsor licence application through Priority Service. Under the Priority Service for Sponsor Licence application, the Home Office UKVI, will decide your application within 10 working days, instead of 8 weeks under the normal service. The Home Office UKVI would charge £500 additional fee for processing the sponsor licence application under the Priority Service.

It is possible to request Priority Service for sponsor licence either at the time of submitting your Sponsor Licence application or after you have already submitted the application through standard service and your application is pending with the Home Office UKVI.

We will act for you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) whereby we will issue the full refund of the fees paid to us, without any deductions, if we fail to submit your sponsor licence application through Priority Service within 48 hours of payment being made to us. If we successfully submit your sponsor licence application through Priority Service within 48 hours of payment being made to us, we will charge a fixed fee of £250 + VAT (£300 including VAT) on the basis of conditional fee agreement (CFA) signed between you and us. Read More

Specialist Immigration Solicitors For Sponsor Licence Applications

Our specialist team of immigration solicitors for sponsor licence applications can provide expert immigration advice and legal representations on fixed fee basis for all types of sponsor licence applications. As specialist fast track immigration lawyers, we are registered with the Home Office UKVI for providing fast track services for UK visa and immigration applications. We can prepare your sponsor licence application faster and get a decision on your sponsor licence application faster through Priority Service for the sponsor licence.

Our sponsor licence solicitors provide a wide range of legal services in relation to sponsor licence matters including application for a new sponsor licence, an application for renewal of sponsor licence, an application for a defined or undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Our sponsor licence solicitors can also help with challenging the refusal of sponsor licence application or suspension and/or revocation of the sponsor licence by the Home Office, UKVI.

Premium Solicitors are specialist UK immigration solicitors and the high quality of UK visa and immigration legal services provided by our best team of fully qualified and experienced immigration solicitors is self-evident from the 5-star Google Reviews rating by 99% of our clients.

Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Application

The skilled worker sponsor licence allows a UK employer / business to sponsor migrant skilled workers to work in the UK for the sponsor in an eligible skilled job. As a UK based business, you can apply for Skilled Worker sponsor licence to employ Skilled Worker migrants in your business from inside or outside the UK.

Skilled Worker” means a person who has, or had, permission under Appendix Skilled Worker, or as a Tier 2 (General) migrant under the rules in force before 1 December 2020. The UK immigration rules no longer require the employer to meet the requirements of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) as of 1 December 2021 for an employer to sponsor a migrant worker for a Skilled Worker visa.

You can apply for Skilled Worker sponsor licence if you wish to employ a skilled migrant worker and the job role meets the job suitability requirements.

Health and Care Worker Sponsor Licence

The Health and Care worker sponsor licence allows a UK employer / business to sponsor Health and Care workers to work in the UK for the sponsor's UK business in an eligible job in health and care sector. As a UK based business, you can apply for Health and Care Worker sponsor licence to employ Health and Care Workers in your UK business from inside or outside the UK.

A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care. An application for Health and Care Worker visa is made under Appendix Skilled Workers. To qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa, you must:

  • be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
  • work in an eligible health or social care job
  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do

Care homes in the UK can apply for sponsor licence to employ foreign care workers to provide adult care services in the UK. The care homes must be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all health and social care services in England.

The care workers and home carers are included on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to help filling staff shortages in the UK’s social care sector. care workers can be sponsored by care homes under SOC code 6145 for the possible job positions of care workers, carers, care assistants. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides the following job description for this occupation code:

‘Care workers and home carers attend to the personal needs and comforts of the elderly and the infirm with care and support needs within residential care establishments, day care establishments or in their own homes’.

T2 Minister Of Religion Sponsor Licence Application

You can apply for T2 Minister of Religion sponsor licence if you are a faith-based organisation or religious order in the UK and you want to employ a foreign Minister of Religion. T2 Minister of Religion route is for the recruitment of a person who has a key leading role within their religious establishment or organisation in the UK, such as a minister of religion, missionary, member of a religious order, or other religious workers in mainly pastoral roles. A minister of religion is a religious functionary whose main regular duties include leading a congregation in performing the rites and rituals of the faith and in preaching the essentials of the creed. As of 1 December 2020, there is no longer a resident labour consideration (or equivalent) for the T2 Minister of Religion visa route.

For T2 Minister of Religion sponsor licence purposes, a religious order is defined  as a lineage of communities or of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, and which must be part of a bona fide religious organisation. This includes, for example, a monastic community of monks or nuns, or a similar religious community involving a permanent commitment.

To be eligible for a Minister of Religion sponsor licence, you must be a bona fide religious organisation which:

  • has charitable status
  • is the structure for a faith-based community with a common system of belief and spiritual goals, codes of behaviour and religious practice, which exists to support and/or propagate common beliefs and practices and where beliefs:
    • include any religious belief or similar philosophical belief in something transcendental, metaphysical or ultimate
    • exclude any philosophical or political belief concerned with man, unless that belief is similar to religious belief
  • does not exclude anyone from your community on the basis of gender,
    nationality or ethnicity
  • receives financial and material support for your core religious ministry from your congregation or community on a voluntary basis, without promise or coercion
  • does not breach, or encourage others to breach, any UK legislation
  • does not work against the public interest, or have a detrimental effect on personal or family life as commonly understood in the UK

Scale-up Worker Sponsor Licence Application

The Scale-up route allows employers who are in a sustained period of high growth to recruit people to work in the UK in highly skilled roles. As a UK based business, you can apply for Scale-up sponsor licence to employ Scale-up Workers in your business from inside or outside the UK. The Scale-up route is for talented individuals recruited by a UK business that meets the definition of a qualifying Scale-up sponsor. The scale-up worker must have a high-skilled job offer from a qualifying Scale-up sponsor at the required salary level for a minimum period of 6 months.

If you wish to sponsor a Scale-up Worker, you must hold a valid sponsor licence for the Scale-up route. If you do not already hold such a licence, you must apply for one by completing the online application form, paying the relevant application fee, and submitting any required supporting evidence or information.

To fall under the definition of a qualifying Scale-up sponsor, you must meet both of the following criteria:

  • you must have an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3- year period based on either employment (your staff count) or your turnover
  • you must have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the relevant 3-year period

The Home Office UKVI will securely access Pay As You Earn (PAYE) information and/or VAT return information you have submitted to HMRC and apply rules to this data to automatically assess whether you meet the definition of a Scale-up sponsor.

International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence Application

You must hold international sportsperson sponsor licence if you wish to sponsor & employ elite sportspersons or qualified sports coaches who are internationally established and can make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at its highest level in the UK. If you do not already hold international Sportsperson sponsor licence, you must apply for one by completing the online application form, paying the relevant application fee, and submitting the supporting evidence specified in Appendix A to the sponsor guidance.

In addition to the general requirements for a sponsor licence to apply for sponsor licence, your organisation must be a UK-based sporting body, sports club, events organiser or other organiser operating, or intending to operate, in the sporting sector. You must also be endorsed by the relevant, Home Office-approved, sports governing body.

Senior or Specialist Worker Sponsor Licence Application

As a UK based business, you can apply for Senior or Specialist Worker sponsor licence to sponsor and employ overseas workers to undertake temporary work assignments for you in the UK, where the worker is a senior manager or specialist employee and is being assigned to you by a linked overseas business. To qualify for Senior or Specialist sponsor licence, you must be linked by common ownership or control or by a joint venture agreement to an overseas business.

You can show you are linked by common ownership or control to the overseas business by one of the following:

  • one entity controls the composition of the other entity’s board
  • one entity holds enough shares in the other entity to have more than half of the voting rights in that other entity
  • both entities have a common parent entity, and that parent entity (either by itself or through other entities) meets one of the two bullet points above
  • one entity is related to the other entity as both are party to a joint venture agreement
  • one entity is related to the other entity in that one is a party to a joint venture agreement and the other entity is formed by that joint venture agreement
  • one entity is related to the other by an agreement that would constitute a joint venture agreement other than for the fact that joint venture agreements are not permitted in the country of operation or one of the
    entities is not permitted to enter into joint ventures in the country of operation
  • one entity is related to the other in that one entity is party to an agreement that would constitute a joint venture agreement other than for the fact that joint venture agreements are not allowed in the country of operation or that entity is not allowed to enter into joint ventures in the country of operation, and the other entity is the entity formed by that agreement
  • where both entities are either accountancy or law firms, one entity is related to the other by an agreement which allows both to use a trademark registered or established under UK law and the jurisdiction
    of the other entity’s country of operation
  • where both entities are either accountancy or law firms, one entity is related to the other by agreement which allows both to run under the same name in the UK and in the jurisdiction of the other entity’s country of operation
  • in the case of unincorporated associations, the Home Office UKVI may accept that the UK entity is linked to the overseas entity if there is evidence (such as a written constitution or Articles of Association) to show that one entity controls the other – for example, a member of one entity has the power to appoint the other entity’s trustees

Where the link between the two entities between which the transfer will take place is that an individual owns shares in each entity, that individual must have a majority shareholding in each entity. You must provide
documentary evidence of your shareholding in terms of percentages held.

Where the link between you and the overseas business is through a joint venture, the Home Office UKVI must be satisfied that the worker will be working as part of the joint venture agreement before the UKVI accept that you can sponsor someone as a Senior or Specialist Worker.

There are many forms of joint venture and Home Office UKVI will ask you to provide evidence to show that the venture is in operation. To apply for the sponsor licence, you should supply as many of the following which are applicable to your circumstances:

  • if a new company has been formed, you should provide the relevant Companies House reference number or numbers and confirm which entities are involved in the joint venture and who are the owners of the new company
  • public announcements of the joint venture
  • a copy of an official letter from the overseas company (or foreign investor) to Ministers confirming their intention to invest in the UK, naming the entities involved in the joint venture
  • a copy of the binding contract or partnership agreement, signed appropriately, between the entities in the joint venture agreement – this must include the names and positions of the signatories, the
    investment or ownership agreement of the enterprise, and timescales and phases of the project
  • if the joint venture has a previous history of working with the Department for International Trade (DIT) or economic devolved government departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, UKVI
    may accept evidence via the DIT listing online of the joint venture

The above is not a complete list and we may ask you for further evidence to assess your circumstances.

The Home Office UKVI will not accept informal agreements of co-operation as sufficient evidence that a worker is required to be in the UK. The joint venture must already be operating and UKVI must be satisfied there is a requirement for the worker to be in the UK as part of the agreement before you can sponsor them as a Senior or Specialist Worker route.

Temporary Worker Sponsor Licence Application

You can apply for Temporary Worker sponsor licence if you are a UK business or organisation and wish to sponsor a Temporary worker to work in the UK under one of the Temporary work visa categories. Our specialist team of immigration solicitors for Temporary Worker sponsor licence can provide priority service for your sponsor licence application to get a decision on your Temporary Worker sponsor licence application within 10 working days.

A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people on a temporary basis, including for volunteering and job-shadowing. You can only get a Temporary Worker licence for specific types of employment and visas.

The Temporary Worker sponsor licence is split into:

  • Scale-up Worker - for people coming to work for a fast-growing UK business
  • Creative Worker - to work in the creative industry, for example as an entertainer or artist (up to 2 years)
  • Charity Worker - for unpaid workers at a charity (up to 1 year)
  • Religious Worker - for those working in a religious order or organisation (2 years)
  • Government Authorised Exchange - work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge
  • International Agreement - where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, for example employees of overseas governments
  • Graduate Trainee (Global Business Mobility) - for workers transferring to their employer’s UK branch as part of a graduate training programme
  • Service Supplier (Global Business Mobility) - for workers with a contract to provide services for a UK company (6 or 12 months)
  • UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) - for workers sent to the UK to set up a new branch or subsidiary of an overseas business
  • Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility) - for workers transferring from overseas to work for a different UK business as part of a high-value contract
  • Seasonal Worker – allows people to come to the UK and work in horticulture (for example, picking fruit and vegetables) for up to 6 months, or poultry from 18 October to 31 December each year

UK Expansion Worker Sponsor Licence Application

UK Expansion Worker sponsor licence is to sponsor overseas workers establishing a branch or subsidiary of their overseas employer in the UK. The UK Expansion Worker visa has replaced the (unsponsored) sole representative provisions of the Representative of an Overseas Business visa route.

Our Services Related To Sponsor Licence

As specialist immigration solicitors for sponsor licence, we provide wide range of legal services in relation to a sponsor licence application which include the following:

Initial Application For Sponsor Licence

You can apply for the sponsor licence online on the Home Office, UKVI website. Once you have submitted your online application, you must then send to the Home Office, UKVI all of the following to validate your application. A valid application must:

  1. contain the submission sheet, which has been signed and dated by the Authorising Officer (all pages must be sent); and
  2. contain all of the documents listed on the submission sheet as mandatory documents; and
  3. all be sent in together within 5 working days of completion of the electronic application.

To get a sponsor licence, you must apply to the Home Office, UKVI, supplying specified documents to prove that you are suitable and eligible. The Home Office, UKVI will carry out appropriate checks before deciding whether to grant the sponsor licence. The Home Office, UKVI considers an application to join the sponsor register by assessing whether you meet the relevant requirements. If your application for sponsor licence is accepted by the Home Office, UKVI, you will be issued with SMS login ID and password to manage your sponsor licence online. Your sponsor licence will be valid for 4 years and can be renewed online prior to the expiry of the licence.

Renewal Of Sponsor Licence

You can apply for renewal of sponsor licence normally within a month before the expiry of the sponsor licence. An application for the renewal of the sponsor licence is made online using the SMS Login details provided by the Home Office UKVI. A sponsor licence is normally granted by the Home Office UKVI for a period of 4 years and the Authorising Officer of the business holding the sponsor licence should apply online to renew the sponsor licence every 4 years. As a result of a successful application, the Home Office UKVI will renew sponsor licence for a further period of 4 years.

You can normally apply for renewal of sponsor licence one month before the expiry of your current sponsor licence. The Home Office UKVI will normally send you a few reminders by email about the expiry of the licence prompting you to apply for the renewal of the sponsor licence. You should apply for the renewal of the sponsor licence in a timely manner otherwise your licence may expire and you may have to apply for a new application for the sponsor licence and go through the entire process of getting the sponsor licence again.

Our sponsor licence solicitors specialists in dealing with applications for renewal of sponsor licence. As one of the best sponsor licence solicitors, our expert team of solicitors has wealth of knowledge and experience to provide fast, friendly, reliable and fixed fee sponsor licence renewal services. We have successfully helped thousands of sponsors with the renewal of their sponsor licence. The high quality of our sponsor licence services is self-evident from the reviews of our clients about the excellent legal services provided by our specialist immigration lawyers.

Our sponsor licence specialists can provide all the required help and guidance for renewal of your sponsor licence and carry out all the work until decision is made by the Home Office UKVI on the sponsor licence renewal application. As part of our professional legal services for sponsor licence renewal, our work will entail the following:

  • Advising you on the relevant criteria for the renewal of the sponsor licence;
  • Advising on the relevant procedures to be followed for sponsor licence renewal;
  • Helping you with the completion of the online form for renewal of the sponsor licence;
  • Helping with payment of the Home Office UKVI fee for the renewal of the sponsor licence;
  • Assisting you with Home Office Compliance visit, if the Home Office UKVI decides to conduct a compliance visit before deciding the sponsor licence renewal application;
  • Doing all the follow-up work until decision is reached on sponsor licence renewal application by the Home Office, UKVI.

Requesting Allocation Of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

To sponsor a migrant worker, you should have Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocated to you by the Home Office UKVI. If you do not have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocated to you by the Home Office, UKVI, you can submit a request for allocation of a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Depending on the circumstances, you have to either request for undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or defined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). An application for allocation of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can be made using Priority Service whereby decision on your allocation request will be made by the Home Office UKVI within 5 working days.

Our specialist team of sponsor licence solicitors can help you with your application for allocation of additional Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) through Priority Service so that you get a decision on your allocation request within 5 working days. We can help you with your application for allocation of additional Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) with a reasonable and affordable fixed fee.

Assigning Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) To The Migrant Worker

Once you have been granted a Skilled Worker sponsor licence you will be able to assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to migrants who wish to come to, or stay in the UK to work as Skilled Worker Migrants. For Skilled Worker workers, being assigned a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is an essential part of qualifying for entry clearance (if they are outside the UK) or leave to remain (permission to extend their stay while in the UK).

As specialist sponsor licence solicitors, we can provide the required help and support with correcting assigning of a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for a fixed fee.

Priority Service For Allocation Of Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Our specialist team of sponsor licence solicitors can provide fast track services for your application for allocation of an undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). A request for allocation of an additional undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is decided within 5 working days of making the payment of £200 to the Home Office UKVI for priority consideration of your request for allocation of additional Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

Legal Help For UKVI Sponsor Licence Compliance Visit

As specialist immigration solicitors for UKVI sponsor licence, we can provide expert immigration advice and legal help with Home Office UKVI sponsor licence compliance visit. The Home Office UKVI can conduct a sponsor licence compliance visit to decide whether to grant a new sponsor licence or continue an existing sponsor licence. The UKVI compliance officer will deal with 2 main types of compliance visits:

  • pre-licence assessment visit
  • post-licence compliance visit

Read More

Challenging The Refusal / Revocation Of Sponsor Licence

Our specialist immigration solicitors for sponsor licence can provide expert immigration advice and legal representations for challenging the refusal or revocation of your sponsor licence by the Home Office UKVI if the Home Office UKVI decision to refuse your application for sponsor licence or revoke your sponsor licence is unlawful. Our immigration solicitors for sponsor licence will fully assess the reasons for refusal or revocation as given by the Home Office UKVI and and advise you whether or not there are good grounds for challenging the refusal or revocation of the UKVI sponsor licence.

You can challenge the refusal / revocation of the sponsor licence by way of Judicial Review (JR) in the court. You must file Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) before you issue the Judicial Review (JR) proceedings to challenge the refusal / revocation of your sponsor licence.

Challenging The Refusal Of Sponsor Licence Application

You can apply to request a review of your application if you think it was refused because:

  • the caseworker processing your application made a mistake
  • your supporting documents were not considered

If the decision to refuse is maintained by the Home Office, UKVI as a result of the review and you believe that the decision to refuse the application is unlawful, you can challenge the refusal decision by way of Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) and Immigration Judicial Review (JR) against the Home Office UKVI. Our expert team of sponsor licence solicitors can provide the required legal help and assistance with challenging the refusal of your sponsor licence application.

Challenging The Revocation Of The Sponsor Licence

The Home Office UKVI would normally suspend the sponsor licence and require representations and evidence from the sponsor before a decision to revoke the licence is made. We can make representations to the Home Office UKVI giving reasons as to why your sponsor licence should not be revoked following the suspension of the sponsor licence. If the Home Office, UKVI is satisfied with the representations made to the Home Office following suspension of the licence, the sponsor licence will be reinstated otherwise the Home Office will revoke the sponsor licence.

The sponsor licence is normally refused due to non-compliance of the sponsor duties by the licensed sponsor. If the sponsor licence is revoked and we find that the decision to revoke the sponsor licence is unlawful, we can help you challenge such decision by way of Pre Action Protocol (PAP) and Judicial Review (JR). If the legal challenge succeeds, the sponsor licence will be reinstated and your business details will once again appear in the register of sponsors.

Our Fixed Fees For Services Relating To Sponsor Licence

Our fixed fees for various services relating to sponsor licence are as given in the fee table below:

Our Service Our Fixed Fees Range
Our services for an initial application for sponsor licence to cover all the work until you get decision on your sponsor licence. From £1,500 + VAT To £2,500 + VAT
Our services for renewal of sponsor licence to cover work until you get decision on your sponsor licence renewal request From £800 + VAT To £1,200 + VAT
Our services for requesting an allocation of a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from Home Office UKVI From £500 + VAT To £1,000 + VAT
Our services for assisting the sponsor with correctly assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the migrant worker From £500 + VAT To £1,000 + VAT
Our services for providing help and support with the Sponsor Licence Compliance Visit of the Home Office, UKVI From £1,000 + VAT To £2,000 + VAT
Representations To Home Office UKVI following Suspension Of The Sponsorship Licence From £1,200 + VAT To £1,800 + VAT
Request for Review of the refusal of the sponsor licence application From £1,200 + VAT To £1,800 + VAT
Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) Against Refusal/Revocation Of Sponsor Licence From £1,000 + VAT To £2,000 + VAT
Judicial Review (JR) Against Refusal/Revocation Of the Sponsor Licence From £2,000 + VAT To £5,000 + VAT

The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the volume of casework involved in the matter. In addition to our fixed fee, the applicant may also have to pay the Home office UKVI fees for the application, if applicable.

FAQs - Sponsor Licence

The cooling-off period to re-apply for the sponsor licence after the revocation of the previous sponsor licence is 12 months. The Home Office UKVI guidance requires that to get a licence as an employer, you must not have had the sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.

To get a licence as an employer, you cannot have:

You’ll need appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees and people to manage sponsorship in your business.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will review your application form and supporting documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.

The sponsor licence is issued by the Home Office UKVI to a UK employer/business and grants permission to the UK employer to sponsor workers in its business. Only organisations, not individuals, can be Home Office approved licensed 'sponsors'. The Home Office UKVI maintains an online register of licenced sponsors and all UK businesses holding sponsor licence appears in the register of licenced sponsors.

To get a sponsor licence, you should take the following steps:

  1. Check your business is eligible.

  2. Check if your job is suitable for sponsorship.

  3. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for - this will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor.

  4. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.

  5. Apply for the sponsor licence online and pay the fee for the sponsor licence application.

 

Your licence will be valid for 4 years and you should apply for renewal of your sponsor licence before the expiry of the sponsor licence.

You can sponsor a worker if the job they are going to do has a suitable rate of pay and skill level, or meets the other criteria needed for their visa.

The licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:

  • ‘Workers’ - for skilled or long-term employment
  • ‘Temporary workers’ - for specific types of temporary employment

You can apply for a licence covering one or both types of worker.

Worker licence

A ‘Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people in different types of skilled employment. The skilled work can be for a short time, long-term or permanent depending on the worker’s visa.

The licence is split into:

  • Skilled Worker - the role must meet the job suitability requirements
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility) - for multinational companies which need to transfer established employees to the UK, previously the Intra-company Transfer visa
  • Minister of Religion - for people coming to work for a religious organisation
  • International Sportsperson - for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK

Temporary Worker licence

A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people on a temporary basis, including for volunteering and job-shadowing. You can only get a Temporary Worker licence for specific types of employment and visas.

The licence is split into:

  • Scale-up Worker - for people coming to work for a fast-growing UK business
  • Creative Worker - to work in the creative industry, for example as an entertainer or artist (up to 2 years)
  • Charity Worker - for unpaid workers at a charity (up to 1 year)
  • Religious Worker - for those working in a religious order or organisation (2 years)
  • Government Authorised Exchange - work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge
  • International Agreement - where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, for example employees of overseas governments
  • Graduate Trainee (Global Business Mobility) - for workers transferring to their employer’s UK branch as part of a graduate training programme
  • Service Supplier (Global Business Mobility) - for workers with a contract to provide services for a UK company (6 or 12 months)
  • UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) - for workers sent to the UK to set up a new branch or subsidiary of an overseas business
  • Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility) - for workers transferring from overseas to work for a different UK business as part of a high-value contract
  • Seasonal Worker – allows people to come to the UK and work in horticulture (for example, picking fruit and vegetables) for up to 6 months, or poultry from 18 October to 31 December each year

You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence.

The main tool they will use is the sponsorship management system (SMS).

The roles are:

  • authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
  • key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
  • level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS

These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

You can also appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 user, for example they cannot withdraw a certificate of sponsorship.

You and your staff will be checked to make sure you’re suitable for these roles. You may not get your licence if anyone involved in sponsorship has:

You and your allocated staff must also:

  • be based in the UK most of the time
  • not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
  • not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
  • not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements

Your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff, or office holders.

HR contractors and agency staff

At least one level 1 user must be your employee.

You can have additional level 1 or level 2 users who are employed by third-party organisations that provide you with HR services.

A temporary member of staff supplied by an agency can be a level 2 user.

You can allocate any of the roles to a UK-based legal representative, apart from the authorising officer role. Your representative must be qualified to give immigration advice or services.

You need to apply online for your sponsor licence.

Once you have finished the online application, you need to send in:

Any affidavits or statutory declarations you send must be witnessed by a qualified, independent person - for example, a solicitor, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Oaths, or (in Scotland only) a Councillor.

You will get an A-rated sponsor licence if your application for sponsor licence is approved by the Home Office UKVI.

A-rating - full sponsor licence

An A-rated licence lets you start assigning certificates of sponsorship and your business will be listed in the register of sponsors.

If you are applying to sponsor a UK Expansion Worker

You will get a ‘provisional’ rating instead of an A-rating if your authorising officer is based outside the UK.

You’ll only be able to assign one certificate of sponsorship, which must be assigned to the authorising officer so they can enter the UK.

Once they’ve got their visa, you can upgrade your licence to an A-rating and request additional certificates of sponsorship using the sponsorship management system (SMS).

Downgrading to B-rating

Your A-rated licence may be downgraded to a B-rating at a later stage if you do not continue to meet your sponsor responsibilities.

If this happens, you will not be able to issue new certificates of sponsorship until you’ve made improvements and upgraded back to an A-rating.

You’ll still be able to issue certificates to workers you already employ who want to extend their permission to stay.

Upgrade to an A-rating

You need to follow an ‘action plan’ provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to upgrade your licence.

You have to pay £1,476 for an action plan.

You must pay the fee within 10 working days of the date UKVI tells you about the downgrade. If you do not, you’ll lose your licence.

At the end of the action plan

You’ll be upgraded to an A-rating if you complete all the steps and there’s nothing else you need to improve.

You’ll lose your licence if you do not complete all the steps.

If you need to make other improvements, you will be given another B-rating and will have to follow a new action plan. You’ll have to pay the fee again.

If you get a second B-rating

You can only have 2 B-ratings in the 4 years that your licence is valid.

You’ll lose your licence if you still need to make improvements after your second action plan.

You can reapply for sponsor licence after the revocation of the sponsor licence by the Home Office UKVI. However, you have to wait at least 12 months before reapplying if your sponsor licence was revoked by the Home Office UKVI. You need to start a new application when you reapply for the sponsor licence.

As an employer with sponsor licence, you must assign a certificate of sponsorship to each foreign worker you employ in your UK business. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a migrant worker can use to apply for a UK visa.

These are for people applying on a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK.

You must apply for defined certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS). You’ll get access to the SMS when you get your licence.

These are for Skilled Workers applying from inside the UK, and applicants on all other visas.

When you apply for your licence you will be asked to estimate how many undefined certificates you will need for Workers and Temporary Workers in the first year.

You will need to pay a fee when you assign a certificate to a worker. How much a certificate will cost depends on the type of sponsor licence you have.

Type of licence Cost per certificate
Worker (except workers on the International Sportsperson visa) £199
Temporary Worker £21
International Sportsperson - where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for more than 12 months £199
International Sportsperson - where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for 12 months or less £21

If you assign a certificate of sponsorship to a worker on a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you might also need to pay the immigration skills charge.

You must:

  • check that your foreign workers have the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs, and keep copies of documents showing this
  • only assign certificates of sponsorship to workers when the job is suitable for sponsorship
  • tell UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored workers are not complying with the conditions of their visa

Your licence may be downgraded, suspended or withdrawn if you do not fulfil these responsibilities.

Read the full guidance on sponsor requirements and duties and check workers have the right to work in the UK.

You must have HR systems in place that let you:

  • monitor your employees’ immigration status
  • keep copies of relevant documents for each employee, including passport and right to work information
  • track and record employees’ attendance
  • keep employee contact details up to date
  • report to Home Office UKVI if there is a problem, for example if your employee stops coming to work

You must report any significant changes in your own circumstances within 20 working days, for example if you:

  • stop trading or become insolvent
  • substantially change the nature of your business
  • are involved in a merger or take-over
  • make changes that affect your relationship with any overseas businesses that have sent workers to you
  • make any changes to a contract covering secondment workers or service suppliers

You must also tell Home Office UKVI if you are changing your details, like your address or allocated roles.

To register a change of circumstances use the sponsorship management system (SMS).

Requests can take up to 18 weeks. You can register a change within 5 working days instead if you use the priority service. It costs £200.

Your application for sponsor licence submitted through standard service can take up to 8 weeks. After you have submitted your application, your request for priority consideration of your application whereby decision on your licence application will be made within 10 working days of paying the additional fee  of £500 for priority service for sponsor licence application.

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