SponsorShip Licence

SponsorShip Licence

Dear Sir/Madam

As a follow up to your consultation, please find below details of the application process.

As a UK registered business, to employ skilled workers, UK companies need to hold the relevant sponsorship licence from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) before employing permanent or temporary foreign workers. Workers must have a job offer from an employer that has made a successful sponsor licence application before they can apply to come to, or remain in, the UK for work.

The licence will last for a period of 4 years and if you wish to continue the employment of the migrant then the licence must be renewed before the expiry date in order to continue as a sponsor. The responsibility to renew this remains in the hands of the sponsor, though reminder notices are issued by the Home Office.

To obtain a sponsor licence, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • Your company is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK;
  • You are honest, dependable and reliable;
  • You are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties and evidencing your compliance in an appropriate timeframe and manner;
  • You can offer genuine employment that meets the appropriate skill level and appropriate rates of pay.

To establish that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, you will need to submit a number of company-related documents. The exact documents will depend upon the type of organisation that you are and the tiers that you wish to sponsor migrants under.

What do I need to do to get a licence?

Once we have submitted your online application, we will then send to the Home Office all of the following to validate your application:

  • 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 must be sent in together within 5 calendar days of completion of the electronic application.

UKVI will assess whether you are honest, dependable and reliable by looking at your history and background, as well as that of the key personnel named on your application and any people involved in the day to day running of your business. UKVI will examine your current human resources and recruitment practices in order to make sure that you are able to fulfil your sponsor duties. Under the genuineness test, UKVI will look at the role that you are seeking to recruit foreign nationals for, and the extent to which this role fits within your organisation as a whole.

Responsibilities of sponsorship

In applying for a licence and subsequently issuing COS (Certificate of Sponsor) to migrants, the employing organisation accepts that they will comply with a number of requirements.

These include:

  • Record keeping
  • Reporting duties
  • Compliance
  • Co-operation with Home Office requests.

Suitability checks

You and your staff will be checked to make sure you're suitable for these roles. You may not get your licence if anyone involved in sponsorship has:

  • an unspent criminal conviction for an offence listed in the guidance for sponsors
  • been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months
  • been reported to UKVI
  • broken the law
  • been a 'key person' at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
  • failed to pay VAT or other excise duty

You and your allocated staff must also:

  • be based in the UK most of the time
  • not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
  • not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
  • not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements

Your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff, or office holders.

Licence fees

You need to pay a fee when you apply. The fee depends on the type of licence you’re applying for and what type of organisation you are.

Type of licence Free for small or charitable sponsors Free for medium or large sponsors
Worker £536 £1,476
Temporary Worker £536 £536
Worker and Temporary Worker £536 £1,476
Add a Worker licence to an existing Temporary Worker Licence No fee £940
Add a Temporary Worker licence to an existing Worker licence No fee No fee

How to tell if you’re a small or charitable sponsor

You’re usually a small sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:

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

Most applications (8 out of 10) are dealt with in less than 8 weeks. UKVI may need to visit your business.

You may be able to pay £500 to get a decision within 10 working days. You’ll be told if you can after you apply.

Certificates of sponsorship

You must assign a certificate of sponsorship to each foreign worker you employ. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa.

Certificate costs

Certificates are free for citizens of the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
For other citizens, you need to pay for each certificate.

Type of licence Cost Per Certificate
Worker (except workers on the International Sportsperson visa) £199
Temporary Worker £21
International Sportsperson - where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for more than 12 months £199
International Sportsperson - where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for 12 months or less £21

Immigration skills charge

You might have to pay an additional charge when you assign a certificate of sponsorship to someone applying for a Skilled Worker or Intra-company Transfer visa. This is called the ‘immigration skills charge’.

You must pay the immigration skills charge if they’re applying for a visa from:

  • outside the UK to work in the UK for 6 months or more
  • inside the UK for any length of time

When you do not need to pay

You will not pay the immigration skills charge if you’re sponsoring someone:

  • on an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
  • who is on a visa to study in the UK, and switches to a Skilled Worker or Intra- company Transfer visa - if they then extend their stay on the new visa, you will not have to pay the charge

You will also not have to pay the charge if you’re sponsoring someone with one of the following occupation codes:

  • chemical scientists (2111)
  • biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
  • physical scientists (2113)
  • social and humanities scientists (2114)
  • natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (2119)
  • research and development managers (2150)
  • higher education teaching professionals (2311)
  • clergy (2444)
  • sports players (3441)
  • sports coaches, instructors or officials (3442)

You also might not have to pay the charge if you’re sponsoring a worker who was assigned a certificate before 6 April 2017. You will not need to pay the charge for any of the worker’s dependants, for example their partner or child.

How much it costs

The amount you need to pay is based on:

  • the size of your organisation
  • how long the worker will work for you, using the start and end dates on their sponsorship certificate
Period Small or charitable sponsors Medium or large sponsors
First 12 months £364 £1,000
Each additional 6 months £182 £500

How much to pay based on how long the worker will work for you

If the worker will be in the UK for longer than 6 months but less than a year, you must pay for at least 12 months.

You must pay the full charge in one go.

The longest you can sponsor a worker for is 5 years, so the most you’ll have to pay is:

  • £1,820 (5 x £364) if you’re a small or charitable sponsor
  • £5,000 (5 x £1,000) if you’re a medium or large sponsor

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will contact you if you do not pay the charge or pay the wrong amount. You’ll have 10 working days to pay the charge - the worker’s visa application will be refused if you do not.

How our immigration consultants can help

Our business immigration consultants assist UK employers to obtain the right sponsor licence, maintain their licence at the highest rating and comply with their sponsor duties.

Whether you require advice on the correct company-related documentation to provide in support of a sponsor licence application, assistance with drafting a compelling business case that will satisfy UKVI that you need a sponsor licence in order to fill a genuine role or guidance on running a compliant recruitment process, our immigration consultants can manage the sponsor licence application process on your behalf.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our business clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice directly to UK employers as part of a professional and friendly service.

Our Fee for Sponsorship Licence Application

We will charge you a fee from £4,000.00 for our professional immigration services in relation to your application for sponsorship licence.

The agreed fee will cover all our work until a decision by the Home Office has been reached on the application. However, it is pertinent to note that the agreed fee will not cover any disbursements to be incurred by the company on your behalf e.g. translation of documents, Home 0ffice licence fee etc.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions on this matter.

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AET Partners Consultancy


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