Sponsorship Licences are for those looking to hire migrant workers to come to the UK and work for you in order to help grow your business.

This licence allows you to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship for such migrant workers and the process ensures that UK businesses looking to obtain such licenses must first prove their reputable status as having a genuine need in order to fill a skills gap.

In essence any company looking to apply for a Sponsorship Licence will need to provide sufficient evidence that they are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, that all personnel involved in the application are honest and reliable and that you are capable of carrying out your duties as a sponsor.

Dependant on the visa route in which you are applying, certain other criteria may be relevant with regards to meeting certain skill levels and pay rates. Our Immigration team are experienced in guiding businesses through the process of obtaining sponsorship to employ migrant workers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the main requirements for obtaining a Sponsorship Licence?

    For those businesses looking to become potential sponsors, here is some key information you will need to know when applying:

    • Prospective applicants must be reputable and have no unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes such as money laundering or fraudulent activity
    • Those wishing to apply must not have any previous record of failing to carry out sponsorship duties and must be based in the UK most of the time
    • Appropriate avenues will need to be put in place to monitor sponsored employees, with HR systems implemented in order to:
    • 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 UKVI if there is a problem, for example if your employee stops coming to work
    • You must make sure that any potential foreign workers who are under 18 will have suitable care arrangements for their travel and arrival to the UK and their subsequent living arrangements

    You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when applying for this licence. These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

  • Are there different categories of Sponsorship Licence?

    There are two ‘Tiers’ under which applications for Sponsorship Licences are made, and which will determine the type if licence that will be needed:

    •  ‘Tier 2’ workers are skilled workers with long term job prospects
    •  ‘Tier 5’ workers are skilled workers for temporary roles

    Each of the respective ‘Tiers’ carries varying requirements with regards to job suitability. For example under Tier 2, there will often be certain qualifications necessary to ensure an individual is eligible for that specific job, as the skill level is higher. It is important to note that if the application is under certain visa routes, for example a Tier 2 General worker, such potential job roles must be advertised in the UK first, to ensure qualified workers already in this country are not overlooked. If you are unsure whether or not your Sponsorship Licence application would be subject to these provisions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can help clarify things for you.

    For whichever category is required for your application, you must be prepared that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may want to visit your business as part of the process. They will review your application and all supporting documents.

  • My application for a Sponsorship Licence has been successful – what do I need to do next?

    A successful Sponsorship Licence application will result in your business being awarded a licence rating – this will enable you to obtain a certificate of sponsorship, which is an electronic record with a unique number which must be assigned to each individual worker that you employ. They will be able to use this record each time they apply for a visa.

  • How long is a Sponsorship Licence for?

    An awarded Sponsorship Licence will be valid for 4 years. However you may lose this licence if you do not continue to meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.

    If you are an employer or educational provider looking to apply for a Sponsorship Licence we are here to help. For further expert and professional advice and assistance in relation to Sponsorship Licences, including with regards to fees and further charges, application processing times and the necessary requirements for all types of licence applications including the management of the sponsorship, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team today.

    Please be advised that Immigration Rules are always changing. Contact us for the latest help, advice and information with regards to your query.

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