Sponsorship License Application

In order to hire an individual who resides outside of United Kingdom, your company must obtain a Sponsorship Licence. This Licence applies to all forms of work performed in the UK, which involves unpaid activities by individuals from the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

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What is a Sponsor’s Licence?

In order to hire an individual who resides outside of United Kingdom, your company must obtain a Sponsorship Licence. This Licence applies to all forms of work performed in the UK, which involves unpaid activities by individuals from the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The Sponsorship Licence was introduced by the UK Government to regulate the genuine visa applications and manage the process more efficiently. This structure ensures that only companies that are approved are qualified to participate in various types of visa applications for business immigration objectives in the UK.

Requirements for a Sponsor’s Licence?

To successfully obtain a Sponsor Licence, you must meet a range of general and route-specific requirements

General Requirements for a Sponsor’s Licence

As part of your Sponsor Licence application, you must meet the general requirements set by the Home Office, which include:

  1. Demonstrating that you are a legitimate and lawfully operating your firm in the UK.
  2. Proving that you are trustworthy, reliable, and have not engaged in any harmful behaviour toward the public.
  3. Showing that you can fulfil your Sponsor’s duties and comply with the record-keeping and reporting duties outlined in the Sponsor’s guidance.

    Different forms of UK visa Sponsorship?

    As a Sponsor’s Licence holder, you have the ability to employ both full-time and provisional employees. With over 1.3 million job vacancies in May 2022, the UK’s departure from the European Union has created a significant void in employment.

    To hire skilled workers, ministers of religion, sportspersons, or senior professional workers, you must first be eligible for a worker visa. The eligibility for a worker visa is also determined by the UK Shortage Occupation List apart from the general eligible occupation code, as the list features the jobs that are appropriate for Skilled visa applications. Without a connection to one of these listed industries or sectors, a visa application is unlikely to meet the criteria for approval and entry into the UK will be denied. The UK’s points-based system requires a clear link to these industries to ensure a successful visa application.

    If your Sponsor’s Licence covers temporary workers, you can support visas for temporary work, volunteering, or job shadowing. It’s important to ensure that the type of visa you plan to Sponsor is within the scope of your Sponsor Licence. Failure to do so may result in your Licence being suspended or revoked.

    The Sponsor’s Licence is divided into these categories, which include many businesses in the UK.

      Scale-up Worker

      With a Scale-up Worker visa, you can stay in the UK for 2 years, and apply to extend your visa when it expires. You can extend your visa as many times as you like by 3 years, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria. After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK.

      Senior or Specialist Worker

      A Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job at your employer’s UK branch. This visa has replaced the Intra-company Transfer visa, previously the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff visa.

      Graduate Trainee (Global Business Mobility)

      Graduate Trainees are students who have just completed a degree and are transitioning into the workplace. Graduate trainees’ responsibilities depend on their industry, but they are generally guided by a senior staff member as they learn, train, and attend meetings.

      Service Supplier (Global Business Mobility)

      The Global Business Mobility – Service Supplier Visa is for overseas workers who are either a contractual service supplier employed by an overseas service provider or a self-employed independent professional based overseas, who need to undertake a temporary assignment in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade commitments.

      UK Expansion (Global Business Mobility)

      A UK Expansion Worker visa allows you to come to the UK for only 2 years to set up a branch of an overseas business that has not started trading in the UK yet. You must already work for the overseas business as either a senior manager or specialist employee.

      Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility)

      The UK Secondment Worker visa is one of five Sponsored business immigration routes under the Global Business Mobility visa (GBM) umbrella. In order to qualify for this visa, the overseas employer must send the worker to the UK for a high-value contract or investment.

      Charity Worker

      The Charity Worker Visa is a subcategory of the UK Temporary Worker Visa. This visa is for those who plan to do unpaid voluntary work whilst in the UK, and it has recently replaced the Tier 5 Charity Worker Visa.

      Creative Worker

      The Temporary Work – Creative Worker visa is for individuals who have been offered short-term work in the UK for up to 12 months within the creative sector.  

      A creative worker is someone who can make a unique contribution to the UK’s creative industries, for example, as an actor, dancer, musician, entertainer, fashion model or film crew.  Technical or support staff (‘entourage’) may accompany eligible creative workers.  

      Religious Worker

      To qualify as a Certain Religious Worker (SR-category), you must be entering the United Kingdom to work: In a religious vocation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity; or. In a religious occupation in a professional or nonprofessional capacity.

      Seasonal Workers

      The UK Seasonal Worker visa is suitable for people over 18 years old, who wish to go to the UK to do farm work for up to 6 months. You can enter the United Kingdom as soon as your visa is valid (up to 14 days before the start date of your job).

      Route-specific Requirements for a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence

      When applying for a Skilled Worker Sponsor’s Licence, you must also meet the specific requirements for the Skilled Worker route, including:

      1. Providing employment that meets the skill level criteria of the Skilled Worker route.
      2. Offering a salary that meets the salary level requirements of the Skilled Worker route.
      3. Demonstrating that the job(s) you are Sponsoring is legitimate.
      4. Establishing a direct employer-employee relationship between yourself as the Sponsor and the worker, and not Sponsoring a role that involves hiring the worker to perform ongoing or routine tasks for a third party.

      Please visit the Skilled Worker Visa page for more information

      Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Allocation

      The number of Undefined CoS you intend to assign in your first year as a Licenced Sponsor must be estimated and justified when applying for a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence.

      The Home Office will let you know your CoS allotment for the year if your Sponsor Licence application is approved. After that, you have a maximum of 12 months to use your CoS.

      A CoS allocation may be requested to be increased at any time during the CoS year. However, an in-year allocation increase typically takes 18 weeks unless a priority service is used.

      Although unused CoS cannot be conducted over to the following CoS year, you may apply for additional CoS during the period of your lLcense’s validity.

      What are the advantages of a Sponsorship Licence (previously Tier 2 Sponsor Licence)

      The main benefit of the Sponsorship Licence is that it allows a UK company to source talent from abroad in situations where there is not enough local talent to fill staff vacancies. With a Sponsorship Licence, you will have the ability to recruit employees from across Europe and the rest of the world.

      The Licence helps keep businesses and organisations up to date with ongoing compliance obligations as the Home Office require you to have robust systems in place to ensure that the migrant skilled workers you hire do not breach immigration laws.

      For many organisations, having the ability to bring in skilled talent from abroad is crucial for the smooth running and expansion of their operations. This is especially relevant now that freedom of action has ended with the UK’s exit from the European Union, meaning a large segment of United Kingdom labour force require Sponsorship starting from January 2021 if they did not secure their position in the UK before the deadline.

      What should I know if I want to Sponsor Skilled Migrants from Overseas?

      To obtain a Skilled Worker visa, the applicant should have a valid job offer from a company approved by the Home Office. During your Sponsorship Licence application, we will provide guidance on the necessary legal documentation required to support future employees.

      In order to successfully employ a skilled worker, it is necessary to possess an authorised Sponsor Licence and fulfil the following requirements.:

      • Establish an understanding of the legal requirements that must be complied with.
      • Be able to demonstrate a robust HR and employee management process that can be applied to the candidate.
      • Any employee is genuine and experienced for the role they are applying for.
      • Make sure that any potential employees satisfy the requirements for applying for a Skilled Worker visa and that your job complies as per the UK Software Occupational Code (SOC). Your prospective employee must be given a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

      Additionally, this might entail paying the fees required to complete the visa application process. It is also crucial to make sure your Sponsor’s Licence is up to date and will not expire during the application process. Our Immigration lawyer is ready to offer comprehensive support with the procedures and give you knowledgeable guidance on the eligibility of any prospective employees you are considering hiring.

      FAQs regarding Sponsorship Licence

        1) How much does an application for a Sponsor Licence cost?

        The cost of obtaining a Sponsor Licence is depend upon the size and classification of the company. This payment is required every four years during the Licence renewal process. The Home Office reviews and updates the fees annually; the information can be found on its official website. Home Office can also come for announced or unannounced visit at the time of renewal.

        Organisations categorised as “medium” or “large” are obligated to pay the Sponsor Licence fee of £1,476. This fee applies to all organisations that do not qualify as “small” Sponsors.

        Normally, an organisation will qualify as a small Sponsor if any of the two of the following apply:

        • you have 50 employees or fewer
        • your organisation’s annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
        • your organisation’s total assets are worth of £5.1 million or less

        Registered Charities are also assumed to be “small” Sponsors.

        Organisations which are categorised as “small” Sponsors need to pay a Sponsor Licence fee of £536. Most of the Sponsor’s falls under this category.

        In case, you already hold a any “Worker” Sponsor Licence, there will be no charge for adding a subcategory. For instance, if you possess a Skilled Worker Licence (formerly known as Tier 2 General) and want to start Sponsoring immigrants under the UK Expansion route (previously Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer), you need to present a request through the Sponsor Management System to involve a subcategory. No fee will be imposed by the Home Office.

        2) What is the Sponsor Licence rating?

        There are two types of Sponsor Licence ratings:

        • A-rating
        • B-rating

        If your Sponsor Licence application is approved, you will be granted an A-rating by the Home Office. This is the highest possible rating and is given to trustworthy companies that can follow their Sponsor obligations through effective systems.

        In order to retain their A-rating, a Sponsor must regularly maintain their policies and systems. The Home Office has the authority to conduct compliance inspection at any time, and these evaluations will determine whether the company continues to meet the standards for an A- rating.

        If the Home Office determines that a company is not fulfilling its Sponsor duties, it may receive a downgrade to a B-rating. A B-rated Sponsor must comply with a time-bound action plan in order to regain its A-rating. Failure to meet the needs of the action strategy within the designated timeframe may result in the revocation of the Licence.

        It is important to note that the Home Office can suspend or revoke a Licence without downgrading it to a B-rating. The course of action taken by the Home Office will depend on the severity of the violations that have been uncovered.

        3) How do I submit a Sponsor Licence application for my company?

        For the application for a Sponsor Licence (previously known as the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence), a company must submit an online application form and provide at least four designated supporting documents as proof of their business presence in the United Kingdom. A cover letter should also be submitted to offer background details about the company.

        At times, the Home Office may request additional documentation such as proof of the company’s HR procedures to evaluate their compliance with requirements and Sponsor duties. During the examination of the Licence application, the Home Office may also carry out a compliance inspection at the company’s premises.

        4) How long will my Sponsor Licence be valid?

        The Sponsor Licence will be valid for a period of four years and can be renewed at the end of the fourth year. However, if the Home Office suspects that the Sponsor has not fulfilled their Sponsorship obligations, the Licence may be suspended or revoked.

        5) What can I do if my request for a Licence to Sponsor a skilled worker is denied?

        If the Home Office assessment of the application was not incorrect, a six-month cooling-off time would commence from the date of the rejection, which means that a new Licence application cannot be submitted until the end of that time.

        In certain cases, if there is a belief that the decision to reject the application was in error, a pre-licence error correction may be submitted on behalf of the Sponsor. However, if the decision is not reversed after the Pre-licence error correction, the only remaining option to contest the decision would be to file a Judicial Review (JR).

        6) What is the processing time for a Sponsor Licence application?

        The typical processing time for the application is 8-12 weeks. During this processing time, the Home Office may carry out a Compliance Inspection at the Sponsor’s premise to verify that they are fulfilling their Sponsorship obligations which may delay the processing timeline.

        The application may be rejected if the Sponsor cannot demonstrate compliance with all Sponsorship duties during the compliance visit. Before submitting the application, our expert may conduct a Compliance review of the company’s HR system to ensure compliance with these duties, and provide advice on any necessary adjustments.

        7) How do I get my Sponsor Licence number?

        Each Licenced organisation is assigned a unique Sponsor Licence number, which can be located on the Home Office letter confirming the Licence’s grant. This number can also be found on the Licence Summary page on the Sponsor Management System (SMS).