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Sponsor Licence Application

Sponsorship Licence: An Introduction.

UK businesses find great value in sponsoring overseas nationals. The talents and skills of migrant workers help to fill critical skill gaps. However, obtaining a sponsorship licence is complex and comes with several obligations.

What is a Sponsorship Licence?

Before employing non-UK resident workers, UK employers must obtain a sponsorship licence from the Home Office. This licence is necessary for employing workers under the Skilled Worker visa, Scale Up visa, and other Global Business Mobility routes.

Without a valid sponsorship licence, employers cannot sponsor migrant workers. They must understand immigration duties, keep proper records, and comply with various requirements.

The first application must prove you can meet duties from the beginning. If there’s doubt about compliance, you might lose your application fee. Home Office can investigate, downgrade, or even revoke licences at any time, affecting your ability to employ skilled migrants.

Different Types of Sponsorship Licence.

The UK offers two main sponsorship licences: ‘Worker’ and ‘Temporary Worker’. ‘Worker’ allows recruiting for various types of skilled employment, while ‘Temporary Worker’ is solely for temporary recruitment.

‘Worker’ Sponsor Licence Types.

  • Skilled Worker route
  • Senior or Specialist Worker route
  • Minister of Religion route
  • International Sportsperson route

‘Temporary Worker’ Sponsor Licence Types.

  • Scale-up Worker route
  • Creative Worker route
  • Charity Worker route
  • Religious Worker route
  • Government Authorised Exchange route
  • International Agreement route
  • Seasonal Worker route
  • Other ‘Temporary Worker’ routes including Graduate Trainee (GBM), Service Supplier (GBM), UK Expansion Worker (GBM), Secondment Worker (GBM)
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Which UK Work Visas Need a Sponsorship Licence?

Most migrant worker recruitments require a licence, including the Skilled Worker, Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson routes, Global Business Mobility, and Temporary Worker routes.

However, for the Scale-up route, sponsorship is needed only for the initial 6-month period. Some visas like Graduate and High Potential Individual (HPI) do not require sponsorship.

Which Type of Sponsorship Licence is Needed?

The type of licence needed depends on the employment offer and your ability to meet the specific immigration route’s requirements.

Is My Organisation Eligible for a Sponsorship Licence?

Your organisation must be genuine, lawful, and free from certain criminal convictions. You need to have systems and personnel to monitor sponsored workers.

What Are the Sponsorship Licence Requirements?

Requirements include being a genuine UK organisation and meeting specific duties and route-specific requirements.

Applying for a Sponsorship Licence.

You must prove that your organisation is lawful and ready for visa sponsorship duties. Key personnel must be honest and reliable. Genuine employment offers, required skill levels, and pay rates must be shown.

You fill out an online application, provide required documents within five days, and possibly undergo a compliance visit from UKVI.

Companies must comply with illegal working requirements and keep copies of employees’ right-to-work documentation.

Typical processing takes 8-12 weeks, possibly affected by factors like COVID backlogs. Expedited processing is available at an extra £500, decided within ten working days.

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How Much Does a Sponsor Licence Cost in the UK?

The UK sponsor licence cost fluctuates depending on the kind of licence you seek. If you’re applying for a ‘Temporary Worker’ route, the sponsor licence application fee is £536, with an extra £21 for each Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). For a ‘Worker’ sponsor licence, the cost depends on the size and charitable nature of your organisation. Here’s how it’s broken down:

Small sponsor: If two of these apply:

  • Business turnover is £10.2 million or less
  • Total assets worth £5.1 million or less
  • 50 or fewer employees
  • Medium or large sponsors: £1,476
  • Small or charitable sponsors: £536
  • CoS fee for sponsored worker: £199

There’s also an Immigration Skills Charge that varies based on the size of your organization.

For medium or large sponsors:

  • £1,000 for the first year
  • £500 for every additional 6 months

For small or charitable sponsors:

  • £364 for the first year
  • £182 for each extra 6 months

Other fees include £940 for adding a ‘Worker’ licence if you are a medium or large sponsor, with no extra charge for small or charitable sponsors.

How Long is a Sponsor Licence Valid For?

Most sponsor licences last for 4 years, unless surrendered or revoked earlier. You usually get an A-rating licence, but this could be downgraded to a B-rating if you fail to meet your responsibilities. In that case, you’ll need to follow an action plan to upgrade your licence at a cost of £1,476. Even if downgraded, you can still issue certificates to existing workers wishing to extend their stay.

How Can I Renew a Sponsor Licence?

You can renew your sponsor licence before it expires by making an online application and paying the relevant fee. Some routes, like the UK Expansion Worker route, don’t allow renewals, as it’s meant for overseas businesses to expand to the UK within 2 years.

Sponsorship Licence Compliance & Management.

Once you get the licence, you need to manage it effectively to meet all compliance duties. This involves record-keeping related to the organization and sponsored workers, such as passport copies, absences records, and employment contracts.

You also have to notify the Home Office about specific changes in circumstances, often through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS), within specific timeframes.

Penalties for Not Complying with Sponsor Licence Duties.

Failure to comply can lead to downgrading, suspension, or withdrawal of your licence. It’s essential to keep proper records and inform the UK Home Office about any non-compliance among sponsored workers.

How We Can Assist You.

At Unique Visa Services’ Team, we provide full support for all aspects of the UK sponsorship licence. Whether you’re applying for the first time, renewing, or needing ongoing support with compliance duties, we’ve got you covered.

Our services include:

  • Assistance with initial considerations
  • Drafting your online application
  • Support in gathering necessary documentation
  • Auditing your HR systems
  • Training staff on compliance duties
  • Guidance on fees, assigning CoS, alternatives, and licence renewal applications

Sponsorship Licence FAQs

A sponsor licence allows UK employers to recruit overseas nationals. Costs vary, and obtaining a licence can be challenging. A Certificate of Sponsorship is a reference number assigned to a non-EEA national by their UK sponsor, and applying for a licence requires submission of an application form and supporting documents to the Home Office.

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