Sponsor Licence

The current points-based immigration system makes it simpler, and more cost effective, to employ skilled migrant workers.

The immigration rules now provide a single system for EU and non-EU citizens alike and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy.

Why would I need a Sponsor Licence?
Many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled staff. The impact of this can range from a pause on productivity to restricted growth. 

With an apparent lack of skilled workers available in the UK, one option is to explore the talent available within the global pool of overseas workers.

As a standalone UK business you cannot simply employ an individual from overseas. Anybody from outside the UK looking for employment here may require a visa and this is where the sponsor licence is required.  

What is a Sponsor Licence?
UK employers must be granted a sponsor licence by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) before they can employ any workers who do not have the right to work or live in the UK .

There are two main types of licence:

Workers: This licence is for skilled, long term employment.The skilled worker can be sponsored for both short or long-term engagement, and on a temporary or permanent basis depending on the worker’s visa. The eligible roles for sponsorship under this licence are subject to constant review.

Temporary Workers: This licence is for specific types of temporary employment, this includes volunteering and job-shadowing. The eligible roles for sponsorship under this licence are subject to constant review.

The Sponsor Licence regime is based on the following principles:

  • Those who benefit most directly from migration; employers, education providers or other bodies who are bringing in migrants, should play their part in ensuring the system is not abused.
  • The need to make sure that those applying to come to the UK for work or to study are eligible and that a reputable employer or education provider genuinely wishes to take them on.

The points-based system includes a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved UK employer (‘Sponsor’).  In most cases, the job will need to be skilled at level 3 or above on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), or the equivalent level in Wales or Scotland. This is approximately equivalent to the A-level standard. The migrant will need to be able to speak English (meeting a minimum required level) and the role must meet the minimum salary threshold.

Who can apply for a Sponsor Licence?
Any UK based business can apply for a sponsor licence and there are no restrictions on the size or type of organisation. Turnover and profitability are not assessed as a part of the eligibility criteria but the Home Office will consider the genuineness and suitability of the business.

The application process is your opportunity to present the organisation’s ability to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements. 

Failure to meet either the eligibility or suitability criteria can result in a refused application. In certain circumstances the Home Office will implement a cooling off period during which time your business cannot reapply for a new sponsor licence.

How to apply for a licence.
To apply for a Home Office sponsor licence you must complete an online application form and provide the mandatory specified documents. In addition, you will need to submit additional information to adequately satisfy the Home Office of your sponsorship intentions.

On your application form, you will need to provide as much information as possible on the positions you plan to fill, you may also be required to demonstrate how your organisation will manage its immigration compliance responsibilities and sponsor duties. Once your licence has been approved you can then request and allocate Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS).

Our team understands this system inside out so we’re able to easily navigate the application process, supplying the relevant information at each stage to ensure there are no delays and a successful application.

What if you don’t currently have a Sponsor Licence?
If you are not currently approved to be a sponsor but think that you are likely to need to sponsor skilled migrant workers, you can apply for a sponsor licence now. If you intend to sponsor workers under the ‘Skilled Worker’ route, you will need to show that you will be able to offer genuine employment in an occupation which is skilled to level RQF3 or above, or listed within the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). 

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?
A CoS is an electronic record that you will need to ‘assign’ to a skilled migrant worker before they can apply for entry clearance (a visa), or leave to remain, in the UK.

Once you know that you will need to appoint a migrant worker, you can request the number of CoS you need. You need to understand that there are two types of CoS. 

A defined CoS is for those individuals who will be looking to apply from outside of the UK and will be making their visa application overseas. 

An undefined CoS is required to sponsor a skilled migrant worker who is already residing in the UK (this could be as a dependent, student or as a worker under the sponsorship of another UK business). 

When can I apply for a Sponsor Licence?
You can apply for a sponsor licence now. If you’re unsure of how being a licence holder may benefit your business, please drop us an email.

Any Questions?

Speak to our team today