top of page

Sponsorship Licence 

Home > Services > UK Immigration > Sponsorship Licence


Business Clients - We can help you employ overseas workers

Open Government Licence V3.0 United Kingdom
Some information on this page is from


We understand that sometimes businesses cannot find a worker in the UK with the appropriate skill set for the position, and you may have to look abroad to find the right worker for your business. With a Sponsorship Licence, you can sponsor an overseas worker to come and work for your business in the UK. 

The overseas non-EU employee would need to apply for a Tier 2 Work Visa and you would need to issue them with a Certificate of Sponsorship

The process for applying for a Sponsorship Licence can take up to 8 weeks. This could be shorter or longer, but the Home Office try to give a response with 8 weeks of the application being sent and received.

Contact us today on 0115 845 6583 for further information.


What is a Sponsorship Licence? 

A Sponsorship Licence is a licence given by the Home Office to UK businesses that allows them to sponsor foreign workers outside the EU to work for them in the UK.





To get a licence, you can’t have:

You’ll need appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees.

The Home Office will review your application form and supporting documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.


Types of Licence

Types of Licence


There are 2 types of licence, and each depends on what type of workers you want to employ;

  • Tier 2 - skilled workers with long-term job offers

  • Tier 5 - skilled temporary workers

You can apply for a licence covering one tier or you can apply for a licence that covers both.


Sponsorship management roles

Management Roles


You will need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence.

There is an online tool called the 'sponsorship management system' (SMS), where you can manage or renew your licence and issue certificates of sponsorship.

You will need to appoint a:

  • authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS

  • key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

  • level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS

These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

You and your staff will be checked to make sure you’re suitable for these roles.

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.


Supporting documents

Supporting Documents


You will need to send the correct supporting documents to prove that you’re a genuine business. Your application could be refused if you don’t. We will ensure that you send the correct documents. 

You may be asked to provide documents of which you only have an original. If so, we can certify a copy of the document and send this with your application. 


Sponsorship Certificates

Sponsorship Certificates


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.

Certificates must be used within 3 months from when they’re assigned.

Unrestricted certificates


When you apply for your licence you’ll be asked to estimate how many Tier 2 and Tier 5 certificates you’ll need.

These are called unrestricted certificates because you can get as many as your business needs. You’ll need to give evidence that you need the amount of certificates that you’ve asked for.


Restricted certificates

These are for:

  • Tier 2 (General) workers currently abroad who’ll be paid less than £159,600 a year and aren’t in an inward investment post

  • family members (dependants) of Tier 4 migrants who are switching to a Tier 2 visa

You must apply for restricted certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS). You’ll get access to this when you get your licence.

There’s a limited number of restricted certificates available each month. Each application is assessed using a points system - you can see how the system works in the Immigration Rules appendix A.

When you get the certificate
Applications are considered on the first working day after the 10th day of the month. This is called the ‘allocation date’. If you apply after the 5th day of the month then your application will be held until the next month’s allocation date.
Your application may also be held until the next month’s allocation date so that the details of your application can be checked.
Your restricted certificate will appear in your SMS account on the allocation date if your application has been approved. You can then assign a certificate to a worker.
You can apply again if your application isn’t approved.
Certificate Costs

Your responsibilities

Your Responsibilities

You must:

  • check that your foreign workers have the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs, and keep copies of documents showing this

  • only assign certificates of sponsorship to workers when the job is suitable for sponsorship

  • tell UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored workers are not complying with the conditions of their visa


Your licence may be downgraded, suspended or withdrawn if you don’t meet them.

Monitoring employees
You must have HR systems in place that let you:
  • monitor your employees’ immigration status
  • keep copies of relevant documents for each employee, including passport and right to work information
  • track and record employees’ attendance
  • keep employee contact details up to date
  • report to UKVI if there is a problem, for example if your employee stops coming to work
Changes to your business
You must report any significant changes in your own circumstances within 20 working days, for example if you:
  • stop trading or become insolvent
  • substantially change the nature of your business
  • are involved in a merger or take-over
You must also tell the Home Office if you’re changing your details, like your address or allocated roles.
We charge a fixed fee of £2000 for employers who wish to apply for a Sponsorship Licence. Any additional work not ordinarily required would be charged at an hourly rate for the fee earner who is handling the case. There would also be a Home Office fee to pay for the application.
If you have any further questions regarding a sponsorship licence, please contact us by calling us on 0115 845 6583 or email us at
solicitors, solicitors nottingham, legal advice, uk immigration, visa for uk, uk visa, settlement, immigration nottingham, immigration advice, apply for visa, visa to uk, british citizenship, uk immigration help, immigration solicitor nottingham, sponsership, licence, sponsorship licence, employer worker, from, outside, uk

Contact us today if you are interested in applying for a Sponsorship Licence. Before you come in, there are some general questions you can prepare for;

  • How big is your business?

  • What type of business do you have?

  • How many people do you currently employ?

  • What type of workers would you like to employ?


There is lots of information required for a sponsorship licence. If you do not keep up your responsibilities as an employer when you have a sponsorship licence, the Home Office could take it away from you - then you would have to go through the process again.

bottom of page