• United Kingdom

    Helpline No.

    (+44) 0203 4882 308

Sponsorship Licence Application

A Sponsorship Licence application is a necessary part of the process of employing certain foreign workers. If you intend to hire anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) you must apply for a Sponsor Licence, including if you are a small business or charity.

There are certain employer Sponsorship Licence requirements you must meet before you can make an application. Before you can make a Tier 5 or Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence application, you must decide which company member(s) will be representing the company. Any members who represent you must be an executive/senior member of the company and not a shareholder. As part of the application process, you will be required to prove that you are a legitimate business which needs the use of migrant talent. This is called the 'genuine business test'. Once this has been arranged, you can apply for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. You can make this application online or by post - the whole process usually takes around three months in full. Once you have applied, UKVI will review your application and supporting evidence to ensure you meet the requirements for a Sponsor Licence. As part of this review, they may choose to visit your business site and meet all personnel who intend to be involved in the overseas recruitment process.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application

You can apply for Tier 2 sponsor licence if you wish to employ a skilled migrant worker and the job role meets the job suitability requirements. Unless, the job is in shortage occupations list, you must advertise the through Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) before you can offer the job to a potential Tier 2 migrant worker.

You can apply for the Tier 2 sponsor licence online on the Home Office, UKVI website.

Once you have submitted your online application, you must then send to the Home Office, UKVI all of the following to validate your application. A valid application must:

  • Contain the original submission sheet (not a certified copy), which has been signed and dated by the Authorising Officer (all pages must be sent); and
  • Contain all of the documents listed on the submission sheet as mandatory documents (originals or certified copies); and
  • All be sent in together within 5 working days of completion of the electronic application.
To get a Tier 2 licence, you must apply to the Home Office, UKVI, supplying specified documents to prove that you are suitable and eligible. The Home Office, UKVI will carry out appropriate checks before deciding whether to grant the sponsor licence. The Home Office, UKVI considers an application to join the sponsor register by assessing whether you meet the relevant requirements. If your application for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is accepted by the Home Office, UKVI, you will be issued with SMS login ID and password to manage your sponsor licence online. Your sponsor licence will be valid for 4 years and can be renewed online prior to the expiry of the licence.

Allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)

Once you have been granted a sponsor licence you will be able to assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to migrants who wish to come to or stay in the UK to work. The Home Office, UKVI will decide how many certificates of sponsorship (CoS) you will be allowed to assign under sponsorship licence.

For migrants, being assigned a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is an essential part of qualifying for entry clearance (if they are outside the UK) or leave to remain (permission to extend their stay while in the UK). But there are also other requirements set out in the immigration rules that they must meet. They must score enough points and are likely to be refused if there is anything in their personal or immigration history that suggests that their presence in the UK is not desirable.

Duties as A Tier 2 Licenced Sponsor

As a Tier 2 licensed sponsor you must comply with certain duties, including, but not restricted to, a duty to inform the Home Office, UKVI if the Tier 2 Migrant does not turn up for work, or if he is absent without permission for a significant period. You must also keep proper records of the migrants you sponsor, including contact details and a copy of their biometric residence permit (BRP), and supply any documentation to the Home Office, UKVI on request.

The Home Office, UKVI will monitor your behaviour and compliance with your duties once you have been granted sponsor licence. The Home Office, UKVI will:

  • Set a limit on the number of certificates of sponsorship (CoS) you can assign as a sponsor, and review your performance after you have assigned a certain number;
  • Make visits, pre-arranged or not, to check compliance; and
  • Refer cases for civil penalty action to be taken where the Home Office, UKVI find evidence that you have breached the illegal working regulations.

Sponsor Licence Rating

You will get an A-rated licence if your application for sponsorship licence is approved.

A-rating - full sponsor licence

An A-rated licence lets you start assigning certificates of sponsorship (CoS) and your business will be listed in the register of sponsors.

Downgrading to B-rating

Your A-rated licence may be downgraded to a B-rating at a later stage if you don't continue to meet your sponsor duties. If this happens, you won't be able to issue new certificates of sponsorship (CoS) until you have made improvements and upgraded back to an A-rating.

You will still be able to issue certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to workers you already employ who want to apply for Extension.

Upgrade to an A-rating

You need to follow an 'action plan' provided by the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to upgrade your sponsorship licence. At the end of the action plan you'll be upgraded to an A-rating if you complete all the steps and there's nothing else you need to improve. You'll lose your licence if you don't complete all the steps.

If you need to make other improvements, you'll be given another B-rating and will have to follow a new action plan.

You can only have 2 B-ratings in the 4 years that your licence is valid. You'll lose your licence if you still need to make improvements after your second action plan.

Sponsorship Licence Management

Once the licence is granted by the Home Office, our optional additional services include the following:

  • Advising and assisting further Tier 2 Certificates for new and existing employees.
  • Advising and assisting visa applications for new staff.
  • Advising and assisting ongoing compliance and maintenance of the Home Office Sponsor Management System.

Further information, help, and advice

Our team of specialists have years of experience in visa services. We work with clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act and can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0203 488 2308 or email us at

WorldWide Immigration
WorldWide Immigration