A Complete Guide to UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers

Sponsor Licence Application - How to Apply

Introduction to Sponsor Licence Application

From 1 January 2021, all UK employers who wish to employ skilled workers from outside the UK including the EU must first apply for a sponsorship licence to UK Visas and Immigration, commonly referred to as the Home Office, and successfully obtain one.

Likewise, Under Immigration law, the prospective skilled Workers who wish to work in the UK 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. In this article, we will explore the general requirements and application process.

Requirements for Employer

The success of sponsors application, by and large, depends on the prospective employer. The Business Immigation Home office’s guide of shows that in assessing the Application they will look for the following.

  • Whether the employer as a company or partnership is a genuine organisation and operating lawfully in the UK.
  • Whether the employer is not a sham or bogus employer and is trustworthy, dependable and reliable.
  • The employers have internal systems in place including HR at the time of the application which can confirm that the employer can carry out the sponsor’s duties and comply with the terms of the sponsor license in an appropriate timeframe and manner.
  • Lastly, the employer offers genuine employment that meets the appropriate skill level and appropriate rates of pay.

There is a list of approved documents that the prospective employer has to send to the Home Office along with their application in order to prove the above-stated points.

Please note that the employer has only 5 days after the submission of an online application to submit the supporting documents. Failure to submit the appropriate documents will result in refusal and there is no right of appeal”.

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As part of the tier 2 sponsor licence application, the prospective employer needs to note the following.

  • A sponsor licence is granted for 4 years only, after which the employer will need to apply for the Renewal of Sponsor Licence.
  • Most sponsor licence applications are processed within 8 weeks as per the guidelines from the Home Office but in practice, we have witnessed a longer period of up to 6 months and more in certain circumstances.
  • As part of the sponsor licence application process, the Home Office is likely to visit the business premises to check if the business and/or employer satisfies the sponsorship criteria. These inspections are conducted in routine even after the grant of the licence.
  • There is no right of appeal if the licence application is refused.
  • The employer will also need to present certain information concerning the business activities in the UK, HR and recruitment practices and details of how the organisation intends to comply with the requirements of the sponsor licence. 
Sponsor Licence Application

Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Fee

The sponsor application fee varies from £536 to £1,476 depending on the size of the employer. For the small and medium-size organisations, the application fee will be £536. To issue a certificate of sponsor the employer has to pay another fee of £199. Lastly, the employer also has to pay an Immigration skill charge of either £1,820 or £5,000 depending on the size of the organisation.

  • Application fee – £1,476/£536 (depending on the size of sponsor)
  • Priority fee (not mandatory) – £500 Immigration application for a five-year Skilled Worker visa:
  • Certificate of Sponsorship fee – £199
  • Immigration Skills Charge – £5,000/£1,820 (depending on the size of sponsor)

For Skilled Worker

  • Application fee – £1,220 from abroad or £1,408 from within the UK
  • Biometric enrolment fee – £19.20
  • Immigration Health Surcharge – £1560 -£3120 (depending upon whether the Certificate of Sponsor is issued for 30 months or full 5 years)
  • Priority fees (not mandatory) – £300/£500

Successful Application

  • Upon a successful application, the employer will be granted an A-rated sponsor licence, following which the organisation can start assigning certificates of sponsorship to migrants who wish to work in the UK. The employer will also be listed under the register of sponsors.

    The employer will be given access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS). This is an online portal where the employer can manage sponsor licence and report certain events to the Home Office for example failure to report to work etc.


  • If the sponsor application is refused there is no right of appeal and the employer may not be able to apply again for up to five years, depending on the circumstances. The only option available in these circumstances is to apply for an administrative review.


  • The licence expires after 4 years; however, the employer can apply for the renewal at least 1 month before expiry.


  • Part of the sponsor licence, the Home Office will regularly visit the business premises in order to ensure that the employer is in compliance with the sponsor licence’s terms. The compliance officer will check that

    • Whether the Information that has been given to the Home Office is accurate and complete.
    • The employer is capable to offer employment at the Tier 2 skill level.
    • The Employer is trading are genuine and operating lawfully in the UK.
    • The sponsor licence arrangement is not a sham and there are no reasons to believe that the employer presents a threat to immigration control; finally,
    • The employer is committed to and is complying with all the duties of the sponsorship.

Sponsor Licence Application: How Legal Lex’s experienced Immigration lawyers can help

  • Our immigration lawyers regularly assist the business of all sizes in securing the right sponsorship licence, maintenance and compliance with the sponsor licence.

    We have successfully assisted businesses of all sizes in securing a sponsor licence by providing the right advice on law, process, audits and compliance in support of sponsor licence applications, revocations, suspensions and renewals.

    Our English lawyers can assist you with the preparation of a persuasive business case of your needs of a sponsor licence, that can satisfy the Home Office that you are a reliable and trustworthy organisation and genuinely require a skilled worker from outside of the UK and at a required skill level. Our Solicitors can also assist you in preparing the Home Office compliant HR and recruitment procedures and processes.

    We have been trusted immigration advisors to successful business and people around the world. We understand our clients and their business needs. We strive to provide reliable legal advice to our clients. Our experienced solicitors offer quality legal advice. We are proud to help and guide our clients through complex legal situations with innovative solutions.

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To discuss about your legal matter with one of our solicitors, book an instant video consultation or call us on 02084323076 for an instant legal advice.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legallex does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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