Sponsor Licence Application

UK Sponsor Licence Application

UK employers seeking to hire foreign workers are required to obtain a Sponsor Licence.

For prompt and comprehensive assistance tailored to your specific situation, please contact us. Our team is readily available to provide support in person, over the phone, or through our online channels.

What is a UK Sponsor Licence?

UK employers need to complete a sponsor licence application if they intend to hire a skilled worker from overseas.

Typically, sponsor licences are categorised as Worker Licences and Temporary Worker Licences. The specific role for which the organisation is recruiting for determines the type of sponsor licence required.

Organisations must fulfill several duties and obligations as the employer of a foreign worker, both before and during their employment. Initial steps involve deciding which company member(s) will represent the organisation—individuals representing the company must hold executive or senior positions rather than being shareholders.

During the application process, it is imperative to demonstrate that your business is a legitimate entity requiring the expertise of migrant talent. For a successful application, consider seeking the expertise of We Manage Your Visas. Connect with our team to discuss your specific needs.

Sponsor Licence Eligibility Requirements?

To qualify for a sponsor licence, employers must meet certain criteria, including:

 – No Unspent Criminal Convictions: The employer should not have any unspent criminal convictions related to immigration offences or other crimes like fraud.

 – History of Compliance: There should be no record of failing to fulfil sponsorship duties in the past.

The sponsor licence application process is intricate, demanding detailed information about the organisation. In the context of the UK’s new immigration system, Resident Labour Market tests are no longer mandatory. However, the Home Office may still require the employer to provide substantial evidence justifying the necessity of employing a foreign worker.

Employers can apply for a sponsor licence to support either regular or temporary workers, depending on the nature of the job. Upon acceptance of the sponsor licence application, the employer is required to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to each foreign worker.

It is essential for the organisation to fulfil various duties and responsibilities as the employer of an overseas worker, extending beyond the initial application process.

Types of Sponsor Licences

Worker Sponsor Licenses comprise the Skilled Worker Visa and Temporary Worker Visa, each tailored to specific employment needs:

Skilled Worker Visa:                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Designed for long-term skilled workers with the right to work for a minimum of three years, typically extending to five. Subcategories under the Skilled Worker Visa include:

– Sportsperson Visa
– Minister of Religion Visa (Allows employees to work for up to three years under this subcategory)
– Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

Temporary Worker Visa:                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Geared towards skilled workers engaged in temporary employment, the Temporary Worker Visa is further segmented into the following subcategories:

– Creative Worker: Allows eligible creative workers to work for up to two years
– International Sportsperson: Grants up to 1 year for sportspersons, and up to two years for entertainers or artists
– Charity Worker: Offers a maximum duration of 1 year
– Religious Worker: Provides an opportunity to work for up to 2 years
– International Agreement Worker: Applicable when work falls under international law
– Government Authorised Exchange

What are the Sponsorship Management Roles?

When applying for a sponsor licence, it is imperative to designate individuals within your organisation to oversee the sponsorship process, which will be managed through the sponsorship management system (SMS).

Key roles to be assigned include:

  • Key Contact:
    – Acts as the primary point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
  • Authorising Officer:
    – Must be a senior individual, responsible for the actions of the staff and representatives.
  • Level 1 User:
    – Responsible for the day-to-day management of the licence.

These roles can be fulfilled by a single individual if necessary, although at least one Level 1 user must be an employee of the company. It’s important to note that other Level 1 and Level 2 users can be employed from third-party organisations.

Every individual involved in the sponsorship process must undergo specific checks, including an examination of any unspent criminal convictions and whether the person has been reported to the UKVI. This ensures compliance and integrity throughout the sponsorship process.

What are the Required Documents for a Sponsor Licence Application?

To strengthen your case, it is essential to submit specific supporting documents, typically requiring a minimum of four items. The exact documents necessary depend on your business nature and the role being filled.

For instance, if you are applying for a Sponsor Licence related to a Skilled Worker Visa or a Temporary Worker (Creative Worker Visa), inclusion of a document showcasing endorsement from a governing body of the sport may be required.

All documentation must be provided within five working days of the online application, preferably in their original form. However, the Home Office may consider certified documents.

With extensive experience handling various sponsor licence applications, we can guide you on the required documents for your specific case. Contact us at for detailed sponsor licence guidance and more information.

For Sponsor Licence guidance, contact our immigration lawyers for expert assistance tailored to your needs.

What is the Sponsor Licence rating?

Your company will be listed in the sponsors’ register and granted an A-rated licence upon approval of your application.

Your licence can be reduced to a B rating if you fail to fulfil your obligations as a sponsor. In this case, you will receive an action plan from UKVI that you must adhere to in order to get your licence upgraded back to an A-rating. The £1,476 action plan is expensive.

New sponsorship certificates cannot be issued unless you can demonstrate that you have improved and have returned to an A-rating.

Your Responsibilities as a Sponsor

Before and during the employment, an employer of a foreign worker has a lot of obligations to satisfy.

As a company, you have to:

  • Make sure your international employees have the credentials and abilities required for the position, and have documentation to support this.
  • Give employees Certificates of Sponsorship only if the task qualifies for sponsorship.
  • If your employee is not abiding by the terms and restrictions of the visa, let UKVI know.


Sponsor licence application rejected

Encountering a sponsor licence application rejection can prove to be a challenging experience for corporate entities. The main reasons for such refusals often include:

– Inaccuracy or Misrepresentation of Documents: Submission of imprecise or misleading documentation.

– Incomplete Application: Failure to provide all requisite information within the application.

– History of Licence Revocation: Previous instances of sponsor licence revocation.

– Failure to Provide Requested Information: Inability to supply additional requested information within the stipulated timeframe.

Corporate entities are strongly advised to avert application rejections due to the non-refundable nature of the application fee and the imposition of a waiting period before reapplication is permitted. The duration of this waiting period is contingent on the specific grounds of the refusal, with a standard waiting period of at least six months.

Notably, there exists no provision for an appeal in case of application rejection. While an administrative review may be sought, its outcome remains uncertain. Collaborating with adept immigration solicitors emerges as the optimal strategy to present a robust application, mitigating the risk of rejection and optimising both time and financial resources.

If you wish to find out how you can settle in the UK with your partner, our team is happy to assist.

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We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

Reach out to us for more information or to see how we can help you?

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several Sponsorship Licence requirements that you need to meet if you are an employer looking to find out how to get a Sponsor Licence and employ foreign workers.

How to get a Sponsor Licence for your business:

  • Check that your business is eligible: to be eligible staff members must not have any history of immigration offences, crimes or past failure to meet sponsorship duties
  • Decide the type of licence you require: this is determined by the type of worker you want to sponsor (this includes skilled workers & relgious workers and temporary workers in creative, sport, youth mobility and governmental exchange)
  • Nominate the employees that will be responsible for managing your business’ sponsorship: these can’t be shareholders and they must be senior members of the company. You will need to choose at least two members to use the Sponsorship Management System (SMS)
  • Apply online and pay the Home Office fee: this varies depending on the type of visa you want to sponsor and the size of your business — £536- £1,476 for Skilled Worker only, £536 for Temporary Worker only, and £536 – £1,476 for both.

The Home Office Sponsor Licence application fees are structured as follows:

For Small Businesses & Charities:
– Skilled Worker: £536
– Temporary Worker: £536
– Skilled Worker & Temporary Worker: £536
– Adding Skilled Worker to an existing Temporary Worker: Free
– Adding Temporary Worker to an existing Skilled Worker: Free

For Medium & Large Businesses:
– Skilled Worker: £1476
– Temporary Worker: £536
– Skilled Worker & Temporary Worker: £1476
– Adding Skilled Worker to an existing Temporary Worker: £940
– Adding Temporary Worker to an existing Skilled Worker: Free

To qualify as a small business, the criteria include:
– An annual turnover not exceeding £10.2 million.
– Employment of a maximum of 50 employees.

A Sponsor Licence number serves as a distinct reference code issued to holders of Sponsor Licences.

If you are employed as a Skilled Worker or Temporary Worker, you can locate your employer’s Sponsor Licence number on your Certificate of Sponsorship. This unique identifier is crucial for maintaining transparency and facilitating the regulatory framework associated with sponsored employment in these categories.

Before extending a job offer to individuals outside the UK, securing a Sponsor Licence is imperative. To qualify, your organisation must meet the following criteria:


   – Demonstrate that your business is legitimate.

   – Ensure your sponsored employee(s) can successfully undergo a personality test.

   – Establish the genuine need for a skilled worker from outside the UK for the specific position.

   – Have no unspent criminal convictions.

   – Lack a history of failing to fulfil sponsorship duties.

   – Demonstrate the ability to pay the suitable rate for the job(s) in question.


Proving the legitimacy of your business and the genuine necessity for migrant workers is essential. The Home Office may further validate this through potential visits to your company during the application process, emphasizing the importance of transparency and compliance.

A Sponsor Licence is necessary if you plan to hire individuals from outside the United Kingdom who will be working in the UK using either a Skilled Worker Visa or a Temporary Work Visa. The type of worker(s) you intend to employ determines the relevant Sponsor Licence application.

Key points to consider:

– Required for skilled workers, ministers of religion, elite sportspeople, and employees transferring from a foreign office to the UK.

– Applicable for individuals working temporarily.

– No Sponsor Licence needed for business visas, such as the Exceptional Talent Visa.

It’s important to note that Tier 3 Unskilled Worker Visas have been suspended, meaning Sponsor Licences cannot be obtained for non-EEA nationals taking on unskilled roles. Stay informed about the specific visa requirements relevant to your hiring needs.

When applying for a Sponsor Licence, employers must meet certain requirements. Here’s a summary of the key employer Sponsor Licence requirements:

– Be a genuine organisation, business, or a sole trader.

– Legally operate from within the UK.

– Ensure neither your company nor key personnel pose any threat to UK immigration control, with no evidence of immigration violations in their history.

– Nominate at least three staff members to fulfil roles outlined on the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

– Maintain up-to-date and organised HR systems and records.

– Provide all necessary documents for the Sponsor Licence application.

– Fulfill other Sponsorship Licence requirements specific to the category under which you intend to employ foreign workers.

Compliance with these requirements is essential for a successful Sponsor Licence application. Meeting the criteria ensures a smooth process and establishes your organization as a responsible sponsor.

Upon a successful application, the Home Office will grant you a licence rating and include your organisation in the UK Sponsorship Licence register. Subsequently, you gain the ability to issue Certificates of Sponsorship to non-EEA or Swiss nationals for eligible sponsored positions.

Key points to note:

– Your Sponsor Licence is valid for four years from the date of issue.

– It is crucial to adhere to your duties as a sponsor to maintain compliance. Failure to do so may result in Sponsor Licence suspension, Sponsor Licence revocation, or the imposition of a Civil Penalty by the Home Office.

Maintaining a strong commitment to sponsorship duties ensures the continued privilege of sponsoring foreign workers and avoids potential penalties or disruptions to your sponsorship status.

The Home Office commonly rejects Sponsor Licence applications and renewals for various reasons each year. Frequently encountered reasons for refusal include:

– The business does not meet the Home Office’s standards during the Compliance Audit.

– The business fails to retain adequate documentation regarding sponsored migrant workers.

– The business neglects to inform the Home Office of significant changes in its migrant workforce.

– The business does not respond to Home Office inquiries within the stipulated timeframe.

– The business does not pass the Home Office’s ‘genuineness test.’

– The business fails to adhere to the Home Office’s security standards.

Addressing these factors and ensuring compliance with Home Office requirements is crucial to increase the likelihood of a successful Sponsor Licence application or renewal.

It is crucial to promptly inform the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) of any significant changes to your organization within 20 working days. Failure to report changes may impact your sponsor licence. Significant changes encompass:

– If your business becomes insolvent or ceases trading.

– If there is a substantial change in the nature of your business.

– In the event of a merger or takeover involving your business.

– If your business changes premises or there is a shift in allocated roles, you must also report these changes to the UKVI. These updates can be made through the SMS (Sponsorship Management System).

Timely reporting of these changes ensures compliance with sponsorship obligations and helps maintain the integrity of your sponsor licence.

A Sponsor Licence has a validity of four years, and it can be extended if the sponsor meets the eligibility criteria. Renewal is necessary after four years to continue employing non-UK workers.

Key points to consider:

– The Home Office sends automatic notifications, but it is the responsibility of the business to ensure compliance with renewal deadlines.

– Sponsors can access information about their licence length in their Sponsorship Management System (SMS) account.

– To renew, submit an application via the SMS and pay the required fee. Renewal applications can be made no sooner than three months before the expiry date.

– Allowing the Sponsor Licence to expire without renewal poses risks to the immigration status of employees and can disrupt business operations. The Home Office may take enforcement action against individuals without correct immigration permission.

– Regularly monitoring the SMS is crucial to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements.

Proactive management of the renewal process is essential to maintain the sponsor’s ability to employ non-UK workers and avoid potential legal and operational disruptions.

We Manage Your Visas have some of the finest immigration lawyers in the UK, ready to guide you through the Sponsor Licence application process. Our comprehensive services include:

– Ensuring your business meets the eligibility criteria for obtaining a Sponsor Licence.

– Verifying and organising all required up-to-date employee records and HR documents.

– Ensuring all deadlines are met promptly.

– Engaging with the Home Office on your behalf, handling correspondence effectively.

– Preparing you for any potential visits by Home Office officials.

– Ensuring your business complies with all Home Office standards.

– Complete and submit your application to the highest standards.

Our tailor-made Sponsor Licence Application Package encompasses these services. Additionally, our Immigration Consultancy services, including an Immigration Audit, are designed to assess and enhance your company’s HR practices.