Get in Touch
BUSINESS Immigration

Sponsor Licence

Make a Free Enquiry
Sponsor Licence Application

Starting from 1 January 2021, the new UK Immigration System requires all UK-based organisations who are looking to sponsor foreign skilled workers or students (including EEA Nationals and Swiss citizens) in the UK to apply for a sponsor licence.

Suitability & Eligibility criteria

The criteria to be met for a successful licencing process are rather complex, as it is essential for the UKVI to ensure that the applying organisation is:

  • Lawfully operating in the UK and intending to offer genuine employment to non-settled workers without penalising settled individuals;
  • Capable of undertaking sponsor licence duties and responsibilities in compliance with the Immigration Rules;
  • Able to carry out an adequate assessment of the overall profile of any identified migrants, ensuring that they are a competent person for the role assigned; 
  • Able to allocate a suitable role and pay a suitable rate in compliance with the codes of practice set out by the Home Office;
  • Able to evidence HR and/or recruitment systems in place to comply with strict reporting duties on sponsors
How to apply for Sponsor Licence?

Potential sponsors must ensure to make a valid sponsor licence application by following a straightforward licensing process, which comprises of:

  • Completing an online application form for the right type of organisation;
  • Paying the sponsor licence fee - which varies between £536 for small organisations or a charity and £1,476 for medium or large companies;
  • Submitting a set of mandatory documents to the 'UKVI Sponsor Applications Team' in compliance with the sponsor licence guidance

The business will be mandatorily required to appoint 3 key personnel to operate the sponsor management system, and it is vital for the success of the application that the business appoints competent individuals who are themselves compliant with the eligibility criteria set out in the sponsor licence requirements. Key personnel positions are Authorising Officer, Key Contact & Level 1 user. If the sponsor licence application is successful, all three individuals are equally responsible for complying with the sponsorship duties; particularly with ensuring that migrant workers are compliant with regulation set out by the immigration control. It is possible for one employee to cover all the three key personnel positions at the same time. 

Upon the submission of the application, the UKVI may conduct a compliance visit to examine the organisation's HR, operations & recruitment system. Usually, the person responsible to attend the audit will be the Authorising Officer. The Home Office's compliance visit may be unannounced,  as such it is vital for the business to be prepared and have a clear understanding of their sponsorship & employment duties.

The processing times for a sponsorship licence to be approved can take up to 8 weeks and is granted with either an A rating or B rating. The initial grant is valid for a 4 years period of time, and successful applicants will see their business's details listed in the Register of Sponsors - ready to follow a separate application process in order to issue a certificate of sponsorship and employ a non-resident worker. The UKVI also has a priority processing service for sponsor licence applications determined in 10 working days with an additional fee of £500.

Legal Representatives & Sponsorship Licence

It is common practice for businesses to appoint professional immigration lawyers to carry out the paperwork required for an application to obtain a valid licence. The benefits of doing so are clear; however, it is important that businesses are aware of restrictions that apply in terms of representation to avoid failure. Our specialists can assist sponsor licence applicants to:

  • Understand the licensing process and identify the appropriate licence type to sponsor migrant workers and/or students;
  • Provide specific advice on eligibility requirements, compliance duties and required action plan to ensure the application's success;
  • Provide UK employers with Business & HR consultancy services to ensure sponsor licence applicants are granted within the right level for sponsorship;
  • Conduct Mock HR audits with the Key Personnel in preparation for UKVI compliance visits and provide detailed advice on how to issue certificates of sponsorship and operate sponsorship management systems;
  • Prepare Organisation and Authorising officer any Home Office Compliance Inspections as part of the licence application process
  • Assist the organisation in making the sponsor licence application online and work with the authorising officer to submit this in an efficient and timely manner;
  • Preparing a compelling business case evidencing that the applying business is a genuine organisation and explaining the organisation's need for a sponsor licence.
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit the supporting documents?

Following COVID-19 Pandemic, the Sponsor Licence Application Team has now changed its guidance to enable the prospective sponsor to submit all supporting documents via email. This service allows for the authorising officer to use a digital signature on the submission sheet. All documents must now be submitted within five working days from the submission of the online application form.

What kind of sponsor licences are there?

A sponsor licence holder could be listed in more than one register of sponsors, depending on which type of immigration category they have applied for. The non-educational organisation could sponsor different type of workers, variating between Religious workers, Temporary workers or Skilled migrant workers. Educational Institution could instead sponsor foreign nationals under the student route. Charitable sponsors are also able to make an application to sponsor foreign workers. It is important to highlight that depending on the type of foreign nationals a company is looking to sponsor, their duties will definitively change.

What is the Appendix A - Sponsor Licence?

The Appendix A for Sponsor Licence is primarily a guide for sponsors which sets out a list of documents that businesses and education providers must submit with their sponsor licence applications.

What are the minimum salary thresholds under the Skilled Worker route?

The sponsor duties of skilled worker licence holders require employers to issue a certificate of sponsorship in compliance with the codes of practice under Appendix Skilled Occupation Codes of the Immigration Rules. The Minimum salary threshold varies depending on Job Role and seniority of the position.

Are there any additional costs for sponsor licence applications?

In addition to the sponsor licence application fees, an employer must pay for Assigning the Certificates of Sponsorships and the Immigration Skills Charge. Those fees are approximately £199 per assigned CoS and £1000 per year for Immigration Skills Charge - reduced at the rate of £364 for small companies and charities.
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram