A Sponsor Licence is a necessity for success for the modern business

If you are a UK employer and wish to employ an overseas skilled worker you must first apply for a Sponsor Licence so that you have the requisite permission from the Home Office to sponsor someone.  The work sponsorship route is extremely popular as it allows employers to fill the void in the current shortage of labour by hiring from abroad. There are several work visas available under the work sponsorship route but they are all bound by the same principle which is that an overseas worker must not replace a settled worker. This simply means that employers should only offer a job to an overseas worker if the job cannot be filled by a settled worker and they can conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) to show this. 

What is a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?

A valid Sponsor Licence allows businesses to employ overseas migrant workers with specialist skills in the UK under a sponsorship system. There are two types of licences (see below). The sponsorship route is the primary and most popular route for overseas workers looking to come to the UK for work.  A licence is a form of permission given to businesses to sponsor workers. A licence can only be issued to a business organisation and not an individual. The Home Office place significant trust in Sponsors and the Sponsorship route is based on a key principle that employers should not abuse the system and must only employ overseas workers where the job in question cannot be filled by a suitably qualified settled worker in the UK. Sponsors are required to provide evidence that the job has been advertised in the UK and no suitable candidate was found (this is called the Resident Labour Market Test) unless the job is listed under the Shortage Occupation List or an Applicant is switching from a Tier 4 Student visa to a work visa or the salary of the job exceeds the minimum threshold.

What are the different types of Sponsor Licence?

You can apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence or Tier 5 Sponsor Licence. The Sponsor Licence you apply for will largely depend on whether you wish to sponsor workers under the Tier 2 visa or Tier 5 visa route. The key difference is that the Tier 2 route is for skilled workers who are able to work in long term roles whereas the Tier 5 route is for temporary workers.  There are 4 different types Tier 2 visas; Tier 2 General, Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer, Tier 2 Minister of religion and the Tier 2 Sportsperson. The Tier 5 visa covers temporary employment for creative and sporting jobs, charity workers, religious workers, government authorised exchange schemes and work-related under the International Agreement. The Home Office issues all new Sponsor Licence holders with an A-rated licence. This will allow the holders to issue and assign certificates of sponsorship. If you fail to meet your sponsorship duties your licence will be downgraded to a B-rated licence and you will no longer be able to assign new certificates of sponsorship. You will have to apply for an ‘action plan’ to reinstate/upgrade back to an A-rated licence.

What are the requirements for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?

Unlike other UKVI applications, there is very little guidance on what the requirements are for a Sponsor Licence application. There is no reference in the Immigration Rules what the requirements are but there is a document list in Appendix A to the Immigration Rules.  Our solicitors have a proven method of submitting successful Sponsor Licence applications.  The application is submitted online and the hard copy of the documents must be sent to the Home Office. Employers must only apply for the Sponsor Licence once they are able to show that they meet the requirements for the application.  We list below some of the main points which should be considered when applying for a Sponsor Licence:

  • The business must be genuine and operating lawfully in the UK. The Home Office expects employers to provide the necessary documents listed in Appendix A;
  • The business must be able to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements;
  • The relevant SOC code must be selected; and
  • The business must have conducted the RLMT prior to applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, unless exempt (as mentioned above).

The Home Office aims to make a decision on Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applications within 8 to 12 weeks, however in some circumstances, it may take longer; usually when the genuineness of the business and the need for a migrant worker is questioned. Prior to granting the Sponsor Licence, the Home Office may carry out checks to verify documents or may visit your business premises, where necessary. After you have been granted a Sponsor Licence, you may begin to issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to your prospective employees. With the CoS in hand, your employee may then apply for a corresponding work visa with the sponsorship you provided.

Using Legal Representation to submit a Sponsor Licence application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a Sponsor Licence application. Our Solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject Sponsor Licence applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Immigration & Visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully apply for Sponsor Licence

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a Sponsor Licence application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a Sponsor Licence application and are able to advise you in respect of your prospects and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a Sponsor Licence application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.


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